When it’s time to tie one on, fishing lures that is, it’s important to know how different lures and terminal tackle function best. Attaching a fishing lure to a fishing line improperly is like taking the dog for a walk and leaving the leash at home! How lures, hooks and live bait rigs are attached at the terminal end makes all the difference in how well this gear fishes, how strong the terminal connection becomes and ultimately how many fish end up landed.
One of my pet peeves about jig fishing is how often anglers improperly attach these productive lures to their fishing line. The fastest way to look like a rookie in a fishing boat, is messing up this basic man skill associated with fishing.
Jigs are finesse lures designed to be tied direct to the fishing line. No snaps, swivels or quick clips should be used with attaching a jig to fishing line. The best knot to use when attaching jigs depends on the target species and the line type being used.
For panfish applications where light line is mandatory, the best knot is the classic Palomar. This knot is stronger than other knots, an important consideration when fishing with thread like fishing lines. To tie a Palomar simply double the line, pass both sections of line through the jig eye, tie an overhand knot forming a loose loop, then place the jig through the loop, wet the line and pull up the knot slowly.
One of the easiest knots to tie, illustrations for tying the Palomar can be found a number of places, but www.animatedknots.com is a good place to start. This knot is ideal for attaching smaller jigs on 1, 2, 4, or 6 pound test monofilament, co-polymers and fluorocarbon line types.
The Palomar is also an excellent choice for attaching somewhat larger jigs, including those used for casting and vertical jigging up walleye. Tube baits used for bass fishing, weedless bass jigs and even muskie and pike jigs are all best attached to the line using the Palomar.
In the case of walleye jigs and also bass sized tube jigs 8, 10 or 12 pound test fluorocarbon line is the ideal choice. When targeting pike and muskie with jigs, heavier 15, 18, 20, 25 and 30 pound test fluorocarbon or monofilament line is required.
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Palomar knot is also the best choice when jig fishing using fused and super braid fishing lines. Because these super lines are extra slick and they have near zero stretch, many knots simply won’t hold. The Palomar does an excellent job of holding firm when tying jigs directly to super lines.
The Palomar also does a fine job for attaching bass style spinnerbaits. A somewhat larger over-hand knot must be tied to facilitate getting these larger lures to pass easily through the over-hand loop.
When trying to attach lures with lots of hooks on them, such as crankbaits, jerkbaits and articulated hard body swimbaits, the Palomar starts to become a problem. Lots of anglers prefer to use a knot called the King Sling in these situations. The King Sling is essentially a loop style knot that allows certain baits a little more freedom of movement in the water and it doesn’t require passing the lure through a loose loop in the line when tying.
The King Sling easy to tie and a quick visit to this video link www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7fUOLvrAN0 will have any fisherman tying this knot like a pro. The Rapala Knot is similar to the King Sling and is commonly used when fishing light jerkbaits like the famous Rapala Minnow. To learn how to tie the Rapala Knot visit a site called netknots.com and follow the simple animated illustrations.
In-Line Spinners and Bucktails
In-line spinners like the world famous Yakima Rooster Tail, Mepps Aglia or the Panther Martin are casting lures that feature a blade rotating on a metal shaft. The rotation of the blade causes the shaft of the lure to also spin in the water. Line twist can quickly become an issue if these lures are casted without the aid of some type of swivel on the line.
Most anglers solve this problem by tying a ball bearing snap swivel to the terminal end of the line using a Palomar Knot. This is a satisfactory option, but snap swivels are laden with other issues. The most common problem associated with snap swivels is human error. If the snap is not closed, the lure and or hooked fish is going to be lost. It’s amazingly easy to think the snap swivel is closed when it really isn’t.
Cross-lok style snaps are the strongest snap swivel terminal connection and once closed properly, they stay closed. Unfortunately, all snap swivel designs add hardware to a lure design that already has a lot of hardware.
Yakima Bait recommends a more stealthy option created by fishing their spinners by attaching a small ball bearing barrel swivel in-line. This is accomplished by tying the barrel swivel to the terminal end of the line and then adding a short 12-18 inch leader to the barrel swivel. The leader is then in turn tied directly to the spinner using a clinch, improved clinch or Trilene Knot.
Fishing in-line spinners using an in-line swivel eliminates any issues with line twist and keeps the hardware to a minimum. A small No. 1 or 2 size ball bearing swivel is ideal for targeting panfish and trout. For larger bass, pike or muskie spinners, a heavier No. 3 or 4 ball bearing is required.
Super Line to
The popularity of fused lines and super braids has led to another common fishing problem. Lots of anglers love to fish with super lines, but just as many don’t like to tie super lines directly to their favorite lures. The primary problem here is super lines tend to be more visible in the water than monofilament, co-polymer lines and fluorocarbon.
The solution here is to tie a short leader of clear line to the more visible super braids. A fairly easy knot to master called the Double Uni Knot works well for attaching fused and super braid lines to monofilament and fluorocarbon leader materials.
It takes a little practice to master this knot and it’s best to practice with two different line colors at first. The video www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk_VUb-dOQo does a nice job of illustrating how to best tie the Double Uni.
The Double Uni is very strong when used with 10 pound test and larger leader materials. Last year on the Detroit River my fishing buddy Dale Voice landed a 100 pound lake sturgeon while jigging for walleye. His rod and reel was equipped with 10 pound test Maxima Braid 8 and 10 pound test Maxima Ultra Green as a leader.
The battle lasted about 30 minutes and after releasing the fish, Dale inspected his main line, leader and the Double Uni Knot connecting both. The connection was in perfect shape and he continued to fish the rest of the day without having to re-tie the leader!
to Sinking Lines
Because the waters of the Great Lakes are increasingly getting clearer and clearer, more anglers than ever are fishing with sinking line types including lead core, copper line and the new weighted steel line. All of these line types require using a clear fluorocarbon leader.
The Albright Knot is the best way to attach these sinking lines to fluorocarbon leaders. The Albright Knot is a strong connection and also small enough to easily pass through the line guide on trolling reels. A You-Tube video www.youtube.com/watch?v=s40lmqVux4E does a nice job of teaching the best way of tying this knot.
Live Bait Rigs
Lots of anglers in Michigan love to tie their own live bait rigs for walleye. A couple knots are required for tying up your own spinner or nightcrawler harness rigs.
Attaching the beak style hooks to the leader material is accomplished using a simple to tie knot called the Egg Loop. The Egg Loop works well because it is strong, easy to tie and allows the angler to position the hooks on the leader with precise spacing.
To tie an Egg Loop pass one end of the leader material through a “turned up eye” beak hook and pinch against the hook shaft. The turned up eye hook helps to keep hook perfectly in line with the leader so the crawler pulls straight in the water.
Wrap the leader around the hook shaft 7 to 10 times and pinch these wraps firmly on the hook shaft. Now pass the tag end back through the hook eye the opposite way and pull the knot up tight. The second hook is tied exactly the same and the beauty of the Egg Loop Knot is wherever that hook is positioned on the leader, it will stay in position when the knot is pulled up tight. This allows anglers to produce crawler harnesses with whatever hook spacing they favor and also to produce rigs that identical rig after rig. The site www.animatedknots.com is a good source for learning how to tie the Egg Loop.
Beads, a clevice and blade are threaded onto the leader and the rig is completed by tying a Double Loop Knot at the end. The Double Loop Knot may well be the easiest of all knots to tie. Simply double over the line and make a loose over-hand knot. Then pass the loop formed through the opening a second time. Wet the line and pull up tight. The Double Loop Knot is amazingly strong and simple to tie. For an illustration visit the You-Tube video www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoDhQdOf29Eand spend a little time practicing this knot.
Summing It Up
Learning how to master a few critical fishing knots is something that only takes a little time and practice. The best way to learn any knot is to pick a place that’s well lighted and start out with large diameter lines. When joining two different lines it also helps to use two different line colors when practicing.
A fisherman who knows the common knots and a few not so common connections is not only going to be a more successful angler, his “man card” is also considered to be in good standing.