July 20, 2011
By Vic Dunaway
The Only Knot You Need To Know
This uni-knot system enables you to learn just one simple knot and adapt it to virtually any need--everything from tying a hook to attaching line to your reel.
Not only is this system the first and only unified approach to knot tying, but it also provides excellent knot strength in most applications. Moreover, the strength of the uni-knot isn't diminished when the line is pulled with a jerk, rather than with steady pressure. Some knots, which test at more than 90 percent on a steady pull, will break at 50 or 60 percent if subjected to severe and sudden jolts--such as might be administered by a big fish surging boatside.
The knot-tying expert will simply add the uni-knot system to his inventory, using elements of it for particular applications, and other knots, at times, for certain specialties. For fishermen looking for the easiest way to handle their knot needs, though, the uni-knot system is the only knot they really need to learn.
The uni system works well with braided lines as well as with monofilament, and it's by far the best way to tie high-strength and small-diameter braided lines.
Learning The System
The one knot requirement basic to all fishing is tying a line to the eye of a hook or swivel. Familiarize yourself with the simple procedure of using the uni-knot for this purpose, and other uni-knot applications are easy.
First, run the line through the eye of the hook for several inches. Turn the end back toward the eye to form a circle as shown in illustration #1. With thumb and finger of the left hand, grasp both strands of line and the crossing strand in a single grip at the point marked just forward of the hook. Now, make six turns with the end around both strands of line and through the circle, as in illustration #2.
Maintaining the same grip with the left hand, pull on the end of the line in the direction shown by the arrow until all the wraps are snugged tight and close together. Snugging down tightly at this stage is essential for maximum knot strength. If you make six turns and snug the knot tightly, you'll get most of the line strength.
Finally, slide the finished knot tight against the eye of the hook by dropping the tag end and pulling solely on the standing part of the line as shown by the arrow in illustration #3. The excess end can be trimmed flush with the knot after final positioning, as shown in illustration #4.
It takes just one slight variation to transform the hook tie into a loop arrangement, which provides more bait movement, especially with livebaits.
Instead of sliding the finished knot all the way to the eye, just slide it to the size loop desired. Then, gripping the loop just forward of the hook eye, take hold of the tag end with pliers, as shown in illustration #5, and pull firmly. This locks the uni-knot around the standing line or leader. If it slides down at all, it will be under heavy pressure.
Line To Line
Attaching lines is done the same way as tying line to hook. Compare illustrations #1 and #6 . Notice that you handle things the same way, even though the two parallel strands involved are from different pieces of line, rather than from the same piece doubled back.
The procedure is simply to form the uni-knot circle with line A around line B, going through six times and pulling down as in illustration #7. Once the knot is formed and tightened (illustration #8), reverse the lines and tie another uni-knot with line B around line A. After the two knots are finished, pull on the two main strands of line, as indicated by arrows in illustration #9, to slide the two knots together. Trim excess ends.
This application replaces the blood knot, which is one of the most unwieldy knots to handle. Breaking strength of this tie is less than 100 percent, but over 90 percent and consistently stronger than the blood knot. It can be increased to 100 percent if you double both strands of line before tying the pair of uni-knots, but the single tie is strong enough for most applications.
Snelling A Hook
Snelling is a snap with the uni-knot. Thread line through the hook eye, pulling through at least six inches. Form the familiar uni circle and hold it tight against the hook shank with thumb and finger. Make several turns (four or five are enough) around the shank and through the circle. Pull on the tag end to draw the knot roughly closed. Finish by holding the standing line in one hand, the hook in the other, and pulling in opposite directions.
To affix line to a baitcasting reel, pass the end of the line around the spool, grasp the tag end and the standing line with thumb and finger of left hand, and tie a uni-knot. Trim the knot close, then pull gently on the standing line to snug the loop tight to the spool.
For a spinning reel spool, simply make a large loop in the end the line with a uni-knot, drop the loop over the spool, and draw up by pulling on the standing line. In either case, use only two or three wraps to form the uni-knot.
Vic Dunaway is a prolific writer and former editor of Florida Sportsman magazine.