You should get this months issue of Field & Stream if the only thing you read is the article by John Merwin titled, “The Ultimate Line Experiment.” John discusses the best knots to use for different situations and completed a thorough regimen of strength testing that reveals some surprising results.
The article includes a discussion of breaking strengths as well as detailed pictures on how to time the recommended knots. He made a very interesting point about the clinch knot that will certainly make my life easier. He discovered that a six turn regular clinch knot matches the breaking strength of the five turn improved clinch knot. Given that, why bother to take the extra step to push the tag end of the line through the loop? It’s a lot quicker just to take an extra wrap, grab the tag end with your forceps, if you’re using that shortcut, and follow through to tighten down.
From a fly fishing perspective, the 16-20 knot was the winner to attach your fly to the tippet while the Seaguar knot — one I’ve never heard of — is the best to attach tippet to the leader. From looking at the picture, you can tie it very quickly.
He also proved that lubrication is key and recommends a dab of saliva to ensure your knot tightens properly.
It also looks as if most line actually has a breaking strength higher than what is on the label. He shows a table for 10 pound test line and the breaking strengths range from 11 pounds all the way up to 22.8. Pretty amazing!
Finally, and I was reassured to see this, line does not deteriorate with age as long as you keep it in a dark, cool place.
I recommend you pick up this issue and read the rest of his analysis and clip the pictures out until you memorize all the knots.
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Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore