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38 South - Marlin 795 - LEADERBOARD

It's really knot such a big choice

by John Daffy 24 Aug 08:15 UTC

Look up the term "fishing knots" on Google and you'll be confronted with 58,300,000 results.

Look up books written about fishing knots and you'll find squillions of them - photographed, illustrated, waterproof, (probably dustproof and bulletproof as well), hand-bound, spiral bound, pocket size, notebook size... the array is daunting.

Some folks like Geoff Wilson made a career out of writing them; other prolific authors like Dick Lewers and Jeff Toghill had the theme of 'knots' as a major literary tranche.

But look up "Ryan Moody fishing knots" and you'll find half a dozen - the half a dozen you need; the half a dozen that work, half a dozen which he has turned into simple-to-follow videos.

He goes for the FG knot, the Perfection Loop, the Bimini Twist, the Paternoster dropper loop, the Blood knot and the Albright (including his own modified version of it with a leading 'ramp' to let it run more smoothly), as the essentials.

And why does he just go with those? Because unlike others, he has 32 years as a combined formal fishing educationalist, champion game fisher, charter skipper, webinar tutor and marine electronics tutor.

As Australia's best credentialled fishing coach, he bases his knot selections upon that experience.

The formal recording and cataloguing of his fishing expeditions, something that he has done virtually every trip since he was a youngster, has given Ryan an encyclopaedic knowledge of his past piscatorial pursuits.

The strategies, the locations, equipment, baits and lures, rigs, prevailing conditions, lunar cycles, tidal information and in later years, adding imagery displayed on his electronics, have been logged for decades.

It now forms an ultra-impressive resource recorded on paper, cerebrally and digitally.

There are solid, fact-based reasons for using particular knots. His is not a case of just selecting a way to attach a hook to a line. Instead, it's a case of why to use a particular knot and the answer goes way beyond the over simplification of its effect on the line's breaking strain.

That unrivalled bank of knowledge behind him is the reason he advocates strategies such as using a loop connection from your line to a shallow, hard bodied lure, rather than a snap swivel, when targeting large barra.

Sure, many others also would advise you not to use a snap swivel and most likely, their rationale would be that the extra hardware of a snap swivel could be visual deterrent to a cagey fish.

But Ryan's reason for recommending a loop connection is far different and far more experience-based.

He states that a big barra can open a snap swivel when it slams its jaws shut on the lure, or when performing acrobatics under the water.

Ryan calls it "barra boofing" - the fish's efforts to chuck the lure.

Yes, you can get away with a snap swivel on the smaller, school sized barra, but you had better arm yourself with a Perfection Loop if you are going after the one metre bruisers.

He's watched them feed underwater and has seen how hard and fast they snap their bottom jaw.

"If a snap swivel comes into contact with their jaws, they pop the sides of the snap swivel together and open them up very quickly. I've seen this happen on numerous occasions," Ryan said.

"Once they've opened the snap, you lose the lure and fish. That's why I always try to talk my clients into using fixed loops and preferably, the Perfection Loop."

"The snap also can have some resistance to the way the lure swims whereas the Perfection Loop delivers so much more freedom for the lure to move naturally."

"Tying a Blood knot directly to your lure is a definite 'no no' - you need to have room there for the lure to move."

"Some people like to use snaps because they are convenient and yes, they do make changing your lures easy."

"But instead of thinking that the answer is to change your lure countless times during the day, you are better off learning to understand where the fish will be congregating, which way they will be facing, when to be in those places and then using the right lure for that particular situation."

"That also will eliminate the need to be constantly tying new Perfection Loops."

The FG knot provides¬ a near-seamless way to join a leader to the main line which will pass easily through the guides on a fishing rod.

And that also applies to those tiny, micro-guides on specialist jigging rods.

This slimline knot is part of what constitutes a "wind-on leader". It feeds through the guides on to the reel.

It removes the need for a swivel which could bash against the top eye of the rod.

It allows fisherfolk to retain a long leader that otherwise could not be wound on to the reel.

That long leader is essential for species like coral trout, mangrove Jack and fingermark which run for cover causing abrasion to the lighter, main line as it flicks over sharp rocks and coral.

The FG is castable and it's strong. It's ideal for joining a mono leader to braid and it's a "must have" in the serious angler's armoury.

The Albright knot is an alternative to the FG knot in terms of being able to flow through rod guides. It binds a length of braid around a monofilament loop.

Ryan's version has a small build-up of line in front of the line proper. It eliminates the 'leading edge' that sometimes forms on the knot. Ryan advocates doing half a dozen wraps (which are hitches) of the braid in front of the mono to form a leading 'ramp'.

The effect is to put the end of the braid into the middle of the knot, rather than at an end. This provides a smoother entry and exit line for the knot through rod guides.

The Bimini Twist is an essential part of game fishing, but is a knot that many fisherfolk could use in other applications as well.

It has the fantastic advantage of being a 'shock absorber' knot, one that retains some elasticity to counter the shock of a heavy hit from a fish.

That's why it is so popular on game boats. The Bimini Twist can be a daunting knot for many people, but there's no need for fear. In fact, most people can learn to tie it in around 20 seconds with a little practice.

One of the keys is to tie the knot 'tight' which means with a little load on the rod and reel.

That is simply achieved by putting your rod into a rod holder on the boat. The rod holder becomes your third hand.

A half hitch around one side, a half hitch around both sides and then a double hitch to complete the knot, is all that is required after the twists have been made.

Once you get your head around the fact that it has applications outside of game fishing, you are well on your way to becoming a more accomplished fisherperson.

Similarly, the Paternoster or dropper loop often is thought of as a deep sea rig.

But it also is a great knot for snaggy areas and land-based fishing from rock walls - yes, from rock walls.

The key advantage of using a Paternoster is that it can keep the hook away from rocky snags.

Another key consideration for land-based fisherfolk is that predator fish will often be located where the bottom of the rock wall, meets the sand or mud.

Foraging species will be further away from the rock wall, so running rigs are ideal for casting wide.

But to change up the applicability of the Paternoster, start thinking of using a single dropper loop to swim a live bait, well off the bottom, close to the rock wall.

So, now that you've decided to make a Paternoster dropper loop, the mistake is to think like an offshore fisherman and put a snapper lead on the bottom. A snapper lead is one of those four-sided, tapered pyramid shapes with a formed eye at the top of the narrow end.

Instead, for land-based Paternoster dropper fishing, consider using an elongated, pencil sinker.

The reason is that a pencil lead on the bottom of your rig will not jag into rock snags as easily as a snapper lead. It will tend to pull through narrow gaps in the rocks and is not as likely to become entangled in the weed.

Tie the sinker on by threading line through it and then putting a single hitch in the line beneath the bottom hole. The sinker will sit on top of the hitch.

However, should you actually become snagged, a quick tug will tighten the hitch allowing it to pull up through the sinker saving your rig and only sacrificing the sinker.

From an environmental perspective, you will not leave monofilament line broken off in the water.

Finally, there are various versions of the Blood knot. The basic one is used for tying mono to hooks, but the Double Blood knot is a great one for joining mono to mono.

You do this when adding an extra 'shot' of line to your reel.

"I've often had people come aboard my boat insisting they want to use their own gear, but then I look at their spinning reels and see they are half empty," Ryan said.

"I tell them to buy another spool of line and join it to their existing one and in the meantime, to use one of my rods and reels."

And the best way for them to join that additional line to the existing spool? The Double Blood knot. Simple to tie, strong and it will pass through guides.

Always remember to pass the tag lines through opposite sides when completing the knots to give one facing forwards and one facing backwards.

One of the keys to becoming very proficient with knot tying is to know where to put your fingers and when.

Many books and videos show the pathway along which the line, or lines, have to travel, but they leave you stranded as to how to get them there.

How do you hold the twists in a Bimini before locking it off? How do you keep the middle loop open in an Albright while doing approximately 10 wraps?

Knowing where to put your fingers (toes or even teeth for that matter) is essential to simplifying the process.

Ryan Moody Fishing has a series of videos explaining exactly that - detoxing the complexity of knot tying.

They're free and you can access them via Ryan's website,

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