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Clinch Knot hooked, Montana grayling, painted by A. D. Turner, appearing in a “publication” by Henshall and James Alexander in 1908. Contributing Library: Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library. A commons image.

By Skip Clement, publisher emeritus

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n fly fishing, we all like to think of ourselves as open-minded and willing to change if we think it’s the next right thing to do for our fly fishing experiences. However, we are all subject to personal idiosyncrasies of thought and action so, when it comes to tying fly fishing knots, new is not always well accepted, or so my discussions with fly fishers, fly shop owners, guides, offshore captains, and purveyors of fishing line have told me for over the years.

When it comes to tying knots, I have a soft spot for painless, plenty strong enough, and as void as possible of seating coils issues. The latter is always huge – or so it has been for me. Also, it is for guides and captains I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with over the decades.

My knot leanings would also hold for tying down a tarp, cinching down cargo, as well as, tying fly fishing knots. Also, for fly fishing knots add slimmer and not too offset – personal idiosyncrasies.

My old-school knots or first learned were Clinch Knot [and improved clinch], and Blood Knot. All absorb as gospel decades ago 

Surprisingly, they are still the most used knots for fly fishing today and do not meet any of my criteria of easier, stronger, or void of seating issue problems.

In my opinion

The worst and most popular knots to tie are the Clinch Knot followed by the Blood Knot, which I mentioned above. NOTE: If invested in the Blood Knot and trout are your target my comment goes off the rails for you because you’ll never face dissimilar line diameter connections or resistances like bonefish can apply [40 mph in a few feet of water with coral outcroppings in play], and undoubtedly tie the shortcut way or use a tool.

In all fairness to the Clinch Knot and its half kin Improved Clinch Knot – they have a lot of qualified believers. Take, for instance, Mike Grochowski; select clients guide for non-flyfishers after world record [non-IGFA creditable] catfish. Mike fishes for big cats in the Southeastern US, but principally Georgia and Alabama. Mike says: “I have always used the clinch knot and then graduated to the Improved Clinch, but I double the line and that makes all the difference. I cannot remember losing a big cat, or any fish, using the Improved.”

— Mike Grochowski [Mike lives in Woodstock, Georgia, and is my guide. He has a private phone number and does not have a website]. Sorry about that because he ALWAYS catches big fish.

NOTE: We all face much misinformation using the internet – not opinions and so stated to be, or preferences so stated to be, but outright false information. One internet habituated politician likes to use his misinformation spillage by calling “fake news” for anything that flutters by his late-night social interaction. On the internet, a lot of blogging, socials, and especially forums deal in misinformation as a matter of influencing the weak-minded. Again, opinion is always welcome, and rebuttals should always welcome.

Keep the tool on a line, so it fits in your pocket. Loose, it will find a new home with no forwarding address.

Out of the closet

My being so smarty-pants about willing to change is more about being compelled into changing by the reality of handicap. Almost two full decades of contact sports finally asked for payment which without request for sympathy lead to the changes in many things I do or cannot do. So, being self-sufficient, I had to find a way to tie the knots I already use or add knots that solve my shortcoming and still serve my predispositions.

So, here’s a [YouTube] tool that I use that makes my life easier, and a YouTube video that deals with three terminal knots that uncomplicate my life [Duncan Loop is the correct name for uni-knot and it’s one I will preferentially use.]:


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