HOW do you rate a knot? There are many factors you can judge a connection on, including ease of tying, reliability, versatility or straight-out knot strength. Well, the Uni-Knot passes all these tests with flying colours. In this age where slightly modified versions of old connections are regularly being pushed onto the fishing public by individuals wanting their own slice of immortality through the development of Tom, Dick or Harry’s knot, it’s refreshing to see a connection such as the Uni-Knot that has stood the test of time and retained its popularity for decades through its superior qualities, not through having a snazzy title.
As is so often the case with technological advances in fishing, the Uni-Knot came out of the melting pot of US saltwater fly fishing. It was originally developed by Norman Duncan, a well known US saltwater fly fisherman and contemporary of SWF luminaries Flip Pallot and Chico Fernandez. It was originally known as the Duncan Loop before its current nom de guerre of the Uni-Knot came into common use. It couldn’t have a more appropriate title, in my view, as it is truly the most universal or versatile of connections. It can be used to tie a terminal such as hook, lure or swivel onto a wide variety of materials ranging from the lightest of traces through to heavy hard monofilament leaders, you simply vary the number of turns in the knot. For heavy hard monofilament leader material I’ll go down to three turns in the knot, while for extra light 2kg luderick traces I’ll use six turns. The late Bill Nash, a renowned US rigging authority, noted in his superb book Fly Casting Systems that a correctly tied seven turn Uni-Knot tied in nylon co-polymer lines will have a break strength of 95 per cent or better.
The Uni-Knot is also my preferred connection for attaching my line load to reel spool. The reason for this is that the knot can be formed well clear of the reel then slid down into place with considerable force. I always take a number of wraps around the spool hub when employing this technique and have never had any problems with the line load slipping on the spool using either monofilament or GSP lines.
Most serious anglers will agree that the Uni-Knot is one of the simplest and most foolproof knots to tie. For that reason it is my “go to” connection technique in pressure situations, such as when trying to make a quick lure change while hot-to-trot pelagics such as tuna, mackerel, trevally or queenies are exploding all around the boat. Low light or night time fishing situations such as potholing coastal rock shelves for rock blackfish is another scenario where the simplicity of tying the Uni-Knot is an advantage. With practise it is a knot that you can easily tie in the dark. The last thing you want to be doing when you’ve got a shallow pothole full of berleyed up pigs is flashing a torch around spooking the fish or, in the case of competition fishing, alerting any rivals to your fish-filled hotspot.
The Uni-Knot can also be used as a loop knot if required, although I personally use Lefty’s loop knot. The Uni-Knot loop will usually close up during a fight with any fish that is capable of pulling line off the reel. The idea of a knot slipping while you’re fighting a fish doesn’t sit well with me so I tend to only use the Uni-Knot for hard connections.
The double Uni-Knot is an excellent connection for joining lines. Well-known knotologist Geoff Wilson in his excellent book Complete Book of Fishing Knots & Rigs says the double Uni-Knot can be used when joining lines of either similar or different diameters. Once again I vary the number of turns in the knots depending on the size of the lines being used. If using the knot to connect a light monofilament main line to a heavy casting or shock leader I will usually employ six turns in the half of the knot formed in the main line and three to five turns in the knot formed in the heavy leader material, depending on its diameter.
I prefer to only use the double Uni-Knot for mono to mono connections. When connecting GSP lines to hard monofilament or fluorocarbon leader material I favour the use of the Triple Surgeons knot, particularly in light line situations such as soft plastic bream fishing.
The Uni-Knot is a connection that should be lubricated with either saliva or powdered graphite, as recommended by Geoff Wilson, before being pulled up. Like all knots it should be formed and pulled up with care. However, it may be pulled up with considerable force, particularly if it is being used as a loop knot, to reduce its propensity for slippage.
The Uni-Knot is a connection that should be an integral part of any keen angler’s rigging arsenal.
Once you become familiar with it I’m sure you’ll come to rely on it as much as I do.
You’ll find an instructional video showing how to tie Uni-Knots at: www.fishingworld.com.au