How to

Practical: Four essential fishing knots

By Warren “Wazza” Smith

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Know your knots – Wazza with a 15kg black jew caught from the NT’s Finniss River on 10lb braid, 30lb leader using a Melville Special to join the leader to braid and a locked blood knot the attach the hook

FISHING knots are an important part of fishing and learning how to tie them properly and when to use them are one of the first basic things all anglers need to know. To hook and then lose a fish because your knot came undone is never a good feeling and I reckon it happens to everyone at some time or another.

When I’m learning a new knot I sit down and practice it until I’m happy with it then tie it a dozen more times so I remember it. You don’t need to know a dozen different knots unless you fish for everything from whiting to marlin (ala Greeny) and after thinking about it I reckon four knots will get the average angler out of trouble.

Here’s my pick of four knots that aren’t too hard to master but will cover a wide range of fishing situations.

Locked Half Blood Knot
For tying a hook onto mono. Whether tying the smallest hook used in fly fishing or a 9/0 for chasing mulloway this is a simple and effective knot that if tied properly won’t let you down. I use this knot in mono from 2lb to 50lb. If you need to use a swivel or solid ring somewhere in your rig the Locked Blood Knot will be perfect for that as well. It’s also the knot I use to attach my line to the spool of my reels. This was the first knot I ever learned and it was shown to me by my Mum and Dad at an early age and is still one I use to this very day.

Melville Special (Albright with a different way to finish it)
For joining a mono leader to braid. Over the years I have tried all the various knots; starting off with the Albright then the Duck Nose, onto the Slim Beauty. From there I’ve been using the Melville Special for the last few years. Easy to tie and very reliable it’s also a nice neat knot that runs through your rod guides easily. Can be tied in lines from a couple of kilos breaking strain right up to 35 kg. I can’t remember this knot ever letting me down. The FG Knot is also a good one for this, although it’s a bit fiddlier to tie.

Lefty’s Loop Knot
If you’re a fisherman that uses a lure with a bib at the front of it you need to know this one. It’s widely accepted that your bibbed lure will swim with a better action
when tied onto the end of your mono leader using a loop knot. Whether chasing trout, bass, cod, bream or barra I always use this loop knot to attach my lures.

Double Grinner (Uni) knot
Used for joining lines together. I use this knot when putting a top shot on my reels. Usually it’s only the first 100m of line on your reel that cops most of the work so instead of replacing all the line I simply strip off the well worn stuff, attach new line to what’s left on the spool using the Double Grinner and wind the new stuff on. With some of the better braids being quite expensive it’s very cost effective. I have seen this knot come off the reel on plenty of occasions while fighting fish and have never been worried about it letting go. Also a good knot for making up tapered fly fishing leaders.

These knots can be found easily online these days but I have a couple of Geoff Wilson’s excellent books on fishing knots and there’s also a DVD showing how to tie them, which makes understanding how to tie them even easier. If you get into game fishing, chasing big GTs, or fly fishing, you will need to learn a few more knots but for your average run of the mill fishing trip I reckon the above four will get you out of trouble.

One last bit of advice: if you tie a knot and it doesn’t look quite right, cut if off and do it again. If it looks right, it normally is.

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