Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fishing the Florida Keys Fishing Tips: My Knots

I teach a lot of people to fish here in the Keys. Since most are new to saltwater fishing I keep it simple and teach basic stuff that works. There are a good number of repeat customers that I teach the more advanced stuff. Even the more advanced techniques I try to keep simple. The way I do things often varies from the way other captains do things, but there is a method to my madness.

Knots to know: The Uni-knot, Spider Hitch, Haywire Twist and Bristol or No Name knot.

With that short list of knots you can tie any rig or leader system for any type of fishing in the world. Actually, the uni-knot alone can do almost everything, it is the most versatile fishing knot ever invented. Most captains have no problem with the uni-knot but a few do. So the reason I prefer the Uni is its versatility and its 98% break strength. There are 100% knots that many captains prefer so here is why I would rather use a weaker knot. I know where the line will break.

Imagine hooking a huge fish and getting spooled. That is a regular occurrence here in the Keys. The uni-knot will break when you run out of line so you don’t lose your whole spool. That’s a good thing for you but a better thing for the fish you lost. A fish dragging a few hundred yards of line probably is going to die. That’s bad. Those fish that whip your butt are valuable. They bring people back for a potential rematch.

The Spider Hitch is used for the same reason as the Uni-knot. It is a 96% strength knot used to make a double line. Most captains prefer a Bimini Twist that is 100% strength for making double lines. I like knowing where the line is going to break for the fish and my wallet’s sake. Another reason I don’t use the Bimini Twist for everyday fishing is the size if the knot. There are a lot of small fish with sharp teeth in the Keys. They will often mistake the Bimini Twist for a small minnow and cut you off. The small size of the Spider Hitch saves you money by reducing lost trolling lures. The Spider Hitch also is less likely to catch on the spool when casting and goes through the rod guides more freely.

The Bristol or No Name knot is a leader to double line knot. It is a good knot used by many captains so I don’t get much argument here. Same with the Haywire Twist, which is the most common solid wire knot used in the world.

Some captains question the way I use these knots. For example, my leaders on spinning rods are a lot shorter than most captains use. I use about five feet of double line and about six feet of leader. The shorter double line/leader makes it easier for my customers to cast. Since I don’t have a mate to blame I want to make it easy for my customers . Also the shorter leader is fish friendly for the ones that get away. My wire leaders are also shorter than most for the same reason.

My next post will be about how to tie these knots and different rigs I use in the Keys.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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