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March 20, 2016

How To Choose The Best Fishing Knot For Big Bass

How To Choose The Best Fishing Knottons of knots

So, what is the best fishing knot for a BassHole to catch big bass?

A knote about knots

Your knot is one of the most important elements of your fishing gear. It is what directly connects your line to the hook or lure that your trophy big bass has taken. If your knot “fails” (a BassHole’s way of saying “breaks”), well, that fish, and whatever else it had in its mouth, is history.

4 tips for tying knots

Kno matter which knot or knots you decide to use, there are a few principles that will help you create good, strong knots that should stand up under the pressure of reeling in a fish.

  • Avoid crossing your linehooks

When you are creating the knot, make sure the line stays parallel, as opposed to crossing over itself. When you cinch (tighten) the knot, watch to ensure the loops are all side by side, not overlapping one another.

  • Lubricate your line

Before you pull the knot together (again, cinch or tighten), be sure and lubricate monofilament or fluorocarbon line. A handy lubricant is your own saliva. Either put the unformed knot into your mouth and moisten with your tongue, and spit on the knot. Your saliva will help reduce friction and let the fishing line slide together.

  • Go slow

When you’re tying your knot, the very end of your line (the shortest part) is called the tag end, and the other side is called the main line. There may be other terms for the main line, but most everyone will call the little bit the tag end.  While forming the knot, you will usually pull on both the main line and tag end at the same time. You want to pull steady and slow, and watch the knot form, to make sure it forms correctly.

  • Check the knotswivels

Before you trust that knot to catch your big bass, take your hook or lure (whatever you just tied your line to) and pull, tug, and make sure the line doesn’t break. Don’t worry about breaking the line! Better the BassHole (YOU!) break the knot than that big bass you want to catch!

How many knots do you need?

You can certainly get a very lively discussion (with possible yelling and cussin’) going by asking complicated knot 2what is the best fishing knot to a bunch of fishermen (and fisherwomen?).

In fly fishing, there are a few knots that you will want to learn that you probably don’t need as much for fishing with non-fly gear. So I’ll discuss those specialty knots at some future time (feel free to ask me about these knots if you need to know!).

I like to try and simply things, so I’m going to recommend 4 knots, but will offer links to resources for many others.

Berkley Trilene Knot (or Improved Clinch Knot)

One of these 2 knots is what 85% of BassHoles use for the bulk of their knot tying kneeds. Feel free to do the same! They are both excellent knots.

==> Click here to learn how to tie the Berkley Trilene Knot <==

==> Click here to learn how to tie the Improved Clinch Knot <==

Palomar Knot

The Palomar Knot is another knot used by BassHoles, and many who use this knot say they use it for everything. It’s an easy knot to do once you get the hang of it, and is an excellent choice (well, the go to choice according to Kevin Van Dam, and I’m not going to argue against HIS expertise!) for drop shotting (I will definitely be writing more about this technique soon!).

This also a great knot for monofilament, fluorocarbon, and even braided lines, so be sure and add it to your repertoire!

==> Click here to learn how to tie the Palomar Knot <==

If you have problems with your Palomar Knot “failing” (that means breaking), here’s some advice.

==> Click here if your Palomar Knot fails <==

San Diego Jam Knot

I’ll be perfectly honest and admit I had never even HEARD of the San Diego Jam Knot until I started researching videos for this post. But it sounds like a very strong, reliable, easy to tie knot, so I will include it here. If you do use it, be sure and let me know what you think!

==> Click here to learn how to tie the San Diego Jam Knot <==

Duncan Loop

This knot just happens to be my own personal favorite. When I was learning fly fishing, I watched a Dave Whitlock video on fly fishing, and he showed the Duncan Loop. It can be tied so that the fly (or lure, or hook) has some play in the loop, or cinched tight to the connector. It’s a very good knot, which tests well for knot strength, and I have never had issues with it breaking (oops, I mean failing!) on me.

==> Click here to learn how to tie the Duncan Loop <==

So those are my recommendations for knots. I would say learn the Palomar Knot, and at least one of the others.

But, just in the interest of full disclosure, there are a LOT more knots to chose from. Here are a couple of resources to teach you even more knots.

NetKnots.com knot only has a ton of knots, but they organize them by:

  • Name
  • Category
  • Application

So you can see what knot you can use for what type of situation!

Animated Knots By Grog offers knot just fishing knots, but every kind of knot conceivable! They necktieseven have knots to tie your tie, so when you catch that record breaking bass, a BassHole can look his or her very best!

So that’s enough about knots to get you into trouble!

Be sure and let me know what knots you use, which you choose, what you love, and what you hate!

Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

Catch-Big-Bass http://catch-big-bass.com/ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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The Smiling BassHole

I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Again ! A job well done ! When i read your first post, i instantly knew that you are expert in fishing ! I love fishing too but cant manage time to go for it !
    But these posts have really pumped me up a lot to go fishing next weekend !
    Thanks 🙂 and keep on writing

    • Thanks, Deadshot!

      Glad I could persuade you to join the BassHoles!

      I know it can be difficult to find time for fishing, but it’s SO worth it! And you can relax and spend some time in nature.

      Thanks for the comment, and see you on the water!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I never knew that there were that many knots and actual names given to each. Wow. I have tied many a knot before and usually the same knot, and never lost a fish due to the knot coming lose. The knot I always tied was the cinch knot like in video two. My knot tieing skills are not what they should be. My boy scout skills were not good in knot tieing. But I am at awe with the number of knots and which one to use on what fish. amazing. Thank you for the schooling.

    • You’re welcome, Kenneth!

      I’ve basically used the Duncan Loop exclusively for about 25 years! Though I did know some other knots for fly fishing, namely the nail knot (for attaching fly line to backing, and a leader to the fly line) and the surgeon’s knot (which strangely is not actually used by surgeons, to attach tippet to a leader).

      However, researching knots I learned about the advantages of the Berkely and Clinch knot. And I will learn to tie the Palomar Knot for the drop shot technique. I’m excited to drop shot during this spring, to entice those cruising bass!

      Keep your knots tight!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I had forgotten the knot I use to tie (the Trilene knot). Its good to know it again, and all the othe best knots to tie. Thanks, now I can show my freinds all the best fishing knots to my friends this spring.

    • You’re welcome, Steve, and thanks for posting!

      Yes, the Trilene knot (named after Berkly’s Trilene fishing line, though it can be used with other brands as well) was developed more than 40 years ago to replace the Clinch Knot. The Trilene knot avoids the knot slipping and failing (breaking or coming untied). It has remarkable knot strength — your knot should always be the weakest point of your line — testing at 95%.

      It can be used for very heavy lines (up to 80 lb. test), but BassHoles don’t typically go that high! For the usual tests, you would use 5 or 6 wraps on each knot; if you use more than 30 lb. test, you would use 3.

      Tight lines and strong knots!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Did not know there were so many knots! I actually enjoyed this post. I grew up fishing and now my son wants to go fishing. It’s been so long since I have fished that I have forgotten how to set the line. So a post on setting up the line would be great 😀 Great post!

    • Thanks Matt’s Mom! Glad you enjoyed the post.

      When you say “setting up the line,” do you mean putting the line on the reel? Or are you talking about setting the hook when the fish bites?

      Here’s a video on how to put line on a spinning reel.

      Here’s a video on how to put line on a spincast reel.

      I actually have my BassPro buddies spool my line for me. If you have a spinning reel, all you need to do is bring in the spool and they will do that for you.

      Finally, here’s a video on how to set the hook.

      I hope you and your son have a great time fishing! Don’t hesitate to post again if you have more questions.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Man, you reminded me of an old hobby fishing that i have left rot. Good job explaining knots, something that i never quite did well(my dad and cousin handled it :P), i’ll be sure to come back when i go fishing again. cheers!

    • Great comment, Antwnios!

      Leaving your fishing hobby to rot! Well, when you decide to revive your interest, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may pose regarding rods, reels, line, lures, and techniques. Even what history I’ve gleaned from my research!

      Glad your dad and cousin were able to do your knots. But I will say, you can quickly learn to tie good fishing knots, and you can practice while you’re at home so you’ll be ready when you DO hit the water.

      Tight lines and thanks for reading!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hello Roger,

    Very interesting post about knots! I never thought it could be so important! I’m used to doing many simple knots and I have to admit, I have lost some fishes… I think I will follow you with the Duncan Loop. I don’t want to try many things, so I will trust you.


    • Max,

      Yes, your knot is VERY important!

      First, it will always be weaker than the line. I don’t know of any knots that are stronger.

      Second, it is your direct connection to the hook or lure you and the bass are tugging on. So it must be strong.

      The Duncan Loop IS a great knot, but you will find that the Trilene or Improved Clinch Knots are the most commonly used. I’ll be using the Trilene this season. So if you are going to learn one new knot, why not one of those?

      And remember to wet it in your mouth to lubricate it before you close it up.

      Tight lines and big bass!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Thanks, Allison!

    I hope you can learn to tie at least ONE knot, as that’s really all you’ll need to get started!

    I recommend the Berkley Uni Knot. Have you dad give you some old fishing line to practice. You can use the loop in a pair of scissors instead of a hook or lure. Or anything round! Like your key chain.

    It shouldn’t take you long to learn. Practice for 10 or 15 minutes a day, and you’ll be a pro at knots in kno time!

    Glad you like my writing style!

    And once you get out there and catch some bass, come back and let me know which knot worked for you!

    Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I never knew all the various differences when it came to knots and which ones there are for big bass fishing. I have been bass fishing before but never for anything spectacularly big. My brother and buddy though do so I am definitely forward this web address to them for them to be able to check it out. My bro said he didn’t know what the Duncan Loop was when I asked him so I know then it will be good for him. Thanks for sharing this information. 🙂

    • Thanks, Chris!

      It’s very possible your brother uses the Improved Clinch Knot, or the Berkley Uni Knot (they are similar).

      The Duncan Loop is very handy when you want the lure or hook to move more freely. Or you can cinch it down tight like the others mentioned. I only started using it because I saw Dave Whitlock use it, and it was very easy for me to tie! And since it never failed me, I’ve been using it for years!

      However, I will try the Berkley Uni Knot this season.

      Let me know what your brother thinks!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Wow, I haven’t realized that there are so many different knots! OK, I learned a lot today! I went fishing few times but need to admit that all the technical stuff about fishing gear was done by my dad so I could only focus on getting this fish out 🙂

    • Elektra,

      Sounds like your dad took good care of you!

      Don’t stress over fishing knots; pick one and master it. I recommend either the Berkley Uni or the Improved Clinch. You can always add the Palomar Knot if you like. None of them are difficult, and if you get some fishing line and practice for 10 minutes every day, you’ll have them well under control by the end of a week!

      Then you can focus on the important stuff: catching big bass!

      Thanks for the comment, and

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Some great info in there and very informative. Just goes to show there’s always more to it than meets the eye. I like fishing, however I always need my partner there to take care of the nots!…until now, think I’ve learnt something here.

  • Hi Roger,
    I like reading your article, it kept me entertained, and you put alot of work into writing it. I had no clue there were that many knots to choose from, I didn’t even know you had to have a specific knot for when your are fishing. I just thought a knot was a knot! Thanks for teaching me something new!

    • You’re welcome, Summerly, thanks for commenting!

      Yes, there are many, many, MANY knots. BUT, to start, you can start by learning one! I recommend the Berkley Uni Knot. It’s a knot used by many fishermen. Perhaps even more common is the Improved Clinch Knot. Both are very good, I just believe the Berkley Uni Knot is a little better (stronger and less likely to “fail,” or break). Choose one of those, practice for about 20 minutes, then tie it every day 5 or 10 times, and you’ll be an expert in no time!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hey bud!
    Thanks so much for providing the different kinds of knots; I only knew how to tie one kind of knot on my hooks and have been looking to widen my knowledge of it. Great Work!

    • You’re welcome, Jeff!

      I pretty much still use the Duncan Loop. But I will learn the Berkley Uni Knot and the Palomar knot. The first for variety, and the second specifically for drop shotting. Though I believe many fisherman use the Palomar all the time.

      Don’t forget to moisten the line!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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