Losing a big fish boat side isn't the end of the world, but few things in angling are worse than suffering the ignominy that you lost that fish because of a failed knot—one that you tied. Poorly. The curly pigtail where your lure once was is burned into your brain.
The top bay and bluewater fishermen are meticulous about what knot to use in what situation. For example, Bimini Twist and Offshore Swivel Knots are two solid connections used by bluewater fishermen. A well-tied Slim Beauty and Spider Hitch also have their place in jigging and live bait, though we don't prefer the former for joining braid with mono. Below are a few of our favorites, and while we’re certainly not claiming these are the best and only knots, they’re solid connections.
The recipe for competent knot tying is equal parts patience, practice, and attention to detail. And don't forget to tie the right knot for the right line material(s). “Almost good enough” doesn’t cut it. If it’s not tied correctly, cut it off and re-tie.
Palomar: Great for tying hooks and terminal tackle to braid. Not only are they relatively easy to tie, they’re stronger than most knots out there. It’s also an ideal knot when chumming or bait fishing for big fish.
Uni Knot (Duncan Knot): A great knot that once learned is relatively easy to tie quickly when you’re bouncing on a boat. It’s still one of our go-tos, since it works well with monofilament as well super (braided) lines. Also called the Hangman’s Knot, it’s a good substitute for the Arbor knot, which is used for connecting line to the spool.
Kreh Loop Knot (Non-Slip Mono Loop): If you fish a lot of soft plastics on jigs (1/4-oz. to 2 oz.) and topwaters, as well as swim baits and spinners, the Kreh Loop (aka Non-Slip) works well in pound tests from 6 up to 40 pound. As Lefty himself has pointed out, nip the tag end that faces the fly or lure, so when retrieved it won’t hang up on or collect grass. Once mastered, it is a fairly easy knot to tie properly and is usually strong for just about any coastal and Chesapeake fishing situation we’re likely to encounter.
Animated Knots by Grog is an excellent resource – they have a very cool website and an App that walk you clearly through the key fishing knots as well as other knots - www.animatedknots.com