Juro's Improved Loop Knot [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Juro's Improved Loop Knot

07-24-2006, 05:46 PM
:lildevl: :hihi:

OK the loop knot thing was gnawing at my tinkerer psyche, I have to admit the optimal solution would be a loop knot that is not a compromise in strength. I guess being a fisherman I can't stand to let one iota of advantage slip away if the downside is bearable. However the current non-slip loop knot design is just plain inadequate so rather than just blow it off I've designed a new loop knot that has superior strength with the caveat that the single loop strand will always be weaker than the double over style fixed knot like the trilene and palomar.

When the loop strand breaks instead of the knot structure, then one can't fault the knot. As I test more and more I find the problem with the loop knot is that the knot structure fails more often than the loop strand, a sure sign of a knot being weaker than the line.

Before we begin, the surgeon's loop is amazingly strong but it cocks the loop off to one side, more as the line diameter and stiffness increases. This is an attempt to simulate the strength of the double surgeon's loop without the off-line angle.

The fault with the common non-slip is (a) a single overhand knot provides the 'jam' structure and a feeble clinch wrap provides the 'clasp' from the opposite side of the jam knot.

My approach here is to (1) double up the jam and (2) improve the clasp.

Tell me what you think...

Juro's fixed loop knot(s):

Step #1:
Make a DOUBLE overhand knot instead of the single overhand knot for standard Homer Rhode or Non-Slip Loop knot.

Step #2:
Pass the tag thru the fly eye then back thru the double overhand. Go ahead and tighten it up and pull it right up to the eye of the fly, don't bother trying to hold the knot open or size the loop at this point. It will open to size when you pull tight later.

Step #3:
Using my little favorite double-ended needle, tie a small nail knot (3-4 wraps) on the other side of the double overhand. Set this nail knot where you want the loop size to be.

Step #4:
Pull from both ends and the loop emerges, setting the nail knot against the double 'jam' knot.

This knot is pretty damn strong you will hardly be able to tell the difference between it and the double surgeon's loop except that this loop sets straight unlike the surgeons which is prone to an offset (despite incredible strength).

In the pull test it NEVER broke before the standard non-slip loop, which always broke first and always broke at the windings not the strand.

In fact I have to struggle to pop this knot using two of these knots on either end of 8 lb test where the standard no-slip popped pathetically easy.

This is the same technique I used to improve the slim beauty knot, and is very strong but a bit cumbersome if you are not equipped or adept with the double end needle.

EASIER ALTERNATIVES (still much stronger than the std non-slip)

If you don't have a double ended needle on your everyday fishing lanyard...

Option#1 - tie a uni-knot style slide knot on the far side of the double jam knot and pull tight as I pulled the nail knot above. It's not as strong as the nail style clasp but far stronger than the common knot.

Option #2 - box off the tag over the mainline with a square knot sequence and then pull the tag thru the loops like the standard non-slip. Difference being the windings are not clinch-like but instead a more robust jam to jam structure results. The breaking difference is noticeable. I will post pics, easier than it sounds.

I will post step-by-step imgs for those who need them but since so many are already into the loops I would imagine my instructions are pretty easy to interpret.

The nail approach is the strongest unsurprisingly.

Effectively it's the improvement I suggested to the slim beauty applied to the loop knot with the pass thru doubled up.

Alternatively you can tie a 3-4 wrap uni on the other side, or box off a square then thru.

The downside of all of these knots is that unlike the standard non-slip they tighten by pulling open rather than by pulling the tag. The standard allows one to set the loop size and hold it while tightening the tag end.

However since this method allows the overhand pass-thrus to be tightened and everything pulled tight on the final pull, it's just as easy to tie. Just different.

Where you set the 'clasp' knot defines the size of the loop, with a little practice (about 30 minutes) I was able to size the loop as I wanted.

Now I am back to liking loop knots, because I have confidence in their strength. :smokin: :smokin:

try em and let me know what you think

(will post pics later when I get a chance)

07-24-2006, 07:44 PM
How are you tying your loop knot or the leftys knot. According to wilsons knot encyclopedia it is one of the strongest knots you can tie. I have never had one break. Certainly not enough probelms to warrant trying to do a nail knot. I fish 90% of the time at night and want a knot I can tie in my sleep. How are you tying it?

This webzine has pretty good articles and touts the non-slip as the strongest and even better than the trilene and palomar. Areyou noty leaving a little tag end?



07-24-2006, 08:17 PM
That ezine touts but it does not show anything.

I am tying what is commonly known as the non-slip loop knot, by all accounts (knot books etc). Google "non-slip loop knot" that's the one, pick the first several they are all the same. Same one I see everyone tying, unless you got something different.

Are they talking about tensile strength or shock resistance? I've never had fish pop off a knot like I did twice over one weekend.

Also, how does a tag prevent breakage - isn't the tag past the knot structure?

07-24-2006, 08:26 PM
I have likewise never had a non-slip loop fail - yet. The number of turns in the clinch portion of the knot is important. I also make sure that the tag end passes back though the overhand knot in the same way it exited after the clinch turns are complete (if that makes sense).

I believe Lefty ran a series of engineering tests to substantiate his claims for the knots strength. I have used this knot to create loop-to-loop tippet connections down to 7X and I have a lot of confidence with it.

Conversely I have had problems with surgeons loops, especially when tying them with fluro in lower tippet strengths. Both the loop and dropper knot seem to be prone to not bedding down completely. When subjected to a sudden jolt, the resutling friction as the knot tightens results in failure. This seems to be particularly acute when joining different diameters of fluro.

I like the surgeons knot for creating droppers but when using fluro I pay extra special attention to tightening both the standing line and tag-ends to make sure everything is solid. Oddly enough, I never had problems with this knot using regular mono down to 3lb test over the past 25 years.

To be fair, there is no substitute for running a series of tests under lab conditions to isolate random variables other than inherent knot strength. I recall using a device called a Hounsfield Tensometer for very accurate tensile strength measurements back in my Physics class. However a comprehensive test would also inlcude some measure of the knots ability to absorb 'shock' loads.

07-24-2006, 09:08 PM
Just ran some more tests.

Loop on each end, 12# maxima two pens same model, pulling to break point.

The surgeon's loop (which I never use) did break when not seated right. Scratch that knot it's too hard to seat right and no one uses it for flies anyway.

But even the uni-style double jam loop always held over the standard non-slip loop which popped at the clinch every time out of 5 tries.

The nail style double jam loop broke the uni.

The standard loop knot was much weaker than either.

Give it a try for yourself sometime.

07-25-2006, 08:08 AM
If your non-slip knot is breaking at the clinch, then you have slippage. This is a function of not using enough turns in the clinch portion of the knot. Four wraps for tippets of 0.016" dia., or under, three wraps for tippets 0.017" to 0.030" and two wraps when over 0.030". Break strength is 95% to 100%. When 100% strength is needed use four to five wraps.

The above info is from Bill Nash. He is the knot guru that most defer to for objective flyfishing knots/systems.

07-25-2006, 08:37 AM
I use 5 turns on anything under 15# and 4 turns up to 20#. You do need to make sure you are tightening with the tag end and compressing the wraps evenly - while you are keeping a straight line between the standing line and the eye of the hook with a bit of tension. Fly in the left hand, standing line wrapped around the right and the tag end between your teeth. Don't pull the standing line hard against the fly until the knot is seated. Done properly this will result in a perfectly stacked barrel of wraps and you won't burn the standing line at all.

Like all knots it takes some practice, especially to tie a micro-loop for bonefish, etc.

I think you should use the knot you tie best regardless of breaking strength. I tie the no-slip loop because it doesn't fail - it has nothing to do with the action of the fly.

07-25-2006, 08:43 AM

I am using at least 5 wraps each time. In fact the knot seems to weaken if I go more.


I've tied so many of these knots over the last 48 hours that I can stack the barrel straight enough to take micron imagery of them to get them any straighter. I also use a little spit to ease the loops.

It's easy to speculate. I'd be interested to hear what people experience firsthand by testing them against each other. At the next show or clave, let's pit your best non-slip against mine to see which pops.

The evidence is overwhelming in my tests, and it's intuitively obvious to me that (1) doubling the jam knot and (2) improving the clasp is a significant improvement over "conventional wisdom".

I don't believe in luminaries, I believe in evidence.

07-25-2006, 09:06 AM
Well you got three guys who fish a ton telling you the knot holds. The 'lumanaries' in question have done lots of actual knot testing under lab conditions. Not just yanking on a line at home.

I know my knot holds (I never use less than 20lb for northeast fishing anyway), you would have to get in a lab to prove yours is any better to justify the extra time to tie it.

But whatever knot works for you is great, non-slip for me.


07-25-2006, 09:24 AM
So you're saying if you tie your knot on one end, and it breaks that's not proof to you?

I'll take that challenge; lab or pull test.

Dble Haul
07-25-2006, 11:31 AM
I have likewise never had a non-slip loop fail - yet. The number of turns in the clinch portion of the knot is important. I also make sure that the tag end passes back though the overhand knot in the same way it exited after the clinch turns are complete (if that makes sense).

I'm in the same boat as Adrian. I even use this not with 50 pound fluoro shock tippets, and there has never, I repeat never, been a knot failure.

Like someone else has already said, confidence plays a big role in all of this.

07-25-2006, 12:05 PM
Indeed very few knots fail with 20# or 50# "tippet". In those strengths I'd have confidence in any legitimate knot.

I would say a more pertinent test would be say 4# monofilament and 12# or 15# flourocarbon which are probably the most common for freshwater trout and saltwater flyfishing.

I am trying to arrange actual testing of the lab variety. I might only be doing breakage tests at home but it's still a lot more than those who are posting are doing.

Now my curiosity is piqued, it will be fun.

Dble Haul
07-25-2006, 12:17 PM
Let me clarify....I've never had a failure with the knot at any strength of tippet, not just the heavy fluoro.

To your point regarding the use of four pound test tippet, I think that the test may be a bit moot to me because it doesn't reflect realistic conditions for the type of fishing that I do. For tippets that weak, I use knots other than loops.

Are we still talking about a saltwater knot here like in the thread that originated this subject, or have we moved on to a discussion encompassing all fishing situations? If we're still on the salt, then I would again have to say that four pound test is not realistic, although it might be more prone to showing differences in strength. But does that difference translate into higher pound test tippets?

Interesting discussion.

07-25-2006, 12:37 PM
Use the knot that you are comforatble tying. Most flyfishermen will NEVER apply more than 8lbs of pressure on their tippet. In fact, the upper end of fly reels seldom go above 10lbs of drag. If you use 15lb tippet, you are not applying more than 60 per cent of the static break strength of that tippet. The exception is the jerk test. If you have the telltale curly Q at the tag end of the break, then the knot slipped. Not good. Experienced flyfishermen can apply more pressure, but they are the exception.

Here is an approach that provides a non-slip knot with a doubled main line thru the hook eye, like a palomar, but with a loop. Double over the tippet material, make an overhand knot in the doubled line, pass the doubled line thru the hook eye, back thru the overhand knot, wrap around the doubled standing line (3-5 times), back thru the overhand knot. Pull tag end to secure the barrel wraps against the overhand knot.

I tried this several times today. Looks good, but I have no idea of its breaking strength. The advantage I see to this knot is that it doubles the line thru the hook eye, and conceivably would provide added security.

07-25-2006, 01:19 PM
Mark -

Hence the two lines, 4# and 15#. The purpose was to provide a sampling. Any additional lines you'd suggest would be good try.

If lighter lines do not get the loop, then is that because of some reason other than strength?

Jim -

Of course a doubled over knot would provide more strength, it's no longer a standard non-slip loop any longer. When I tried this the two loops around the eye were not even and it was far too obvious of a knot for the conditions I often fish so I did not mention it. The increase in bulk and visibility was pronounced. However it was quite strong.

Not to sound like a broken record but my point is when you double the jam overhand and improve the clasp component it really beefs up the strength without making the knot bulky and obvious.

Non-static stresses:

Now we're getting somewhere... the case I provided in the other post (striper section) was effectively the jerk test you mention.

I'll repeat - when wading far from shore, to remove a fish waist deep, to hold the fish by the line to put the thumb into the mouth of a striper as the fish thrashes. After a few of these POP went my standard loop knot. Hence I was motivated to seek a better mousetrap.

8# max?

The 8# pressure theory is hard to swallow. When I have a 38" fish roll back in the Nauset outgoing surf in a storm, or when I hook a fish of that caliber out on Big girl 4 hours into the ebb, or when I hook a slammer blue on a flat and it heads to the channel, or again when I try to thumb a fish while wading - there is a HELL of a lot more than 8# pressure on that knot if you ask me.

In the conditions as you cited, I agree completely. But when the continuum from drag to fly is interrupted by any number of factors the linkage is no longer pertinent; it's at these times that knots are truly tested IMHO.

Frankly the challenging replies only make me more cautious to evalute the idea more thoroughly. Keep em comin'

Dble Haul
07-25-2006, 01:45 PM
Mark -

Hence the two lines, 4# and 15#. The purpose was to provide a sampling. Any additional lines you'd suggest would be good try.

If lighter lines do not get the loop, then is that because of some reason other than strength?

If you can do it, how about something in the 20# range or higher? It seems from these discussions that many salt anglers use tippets in those strengths.

I don't use the loop knot for lighter lines because I'm using smaller flies at that point (trout, panfish, etc.) and I prefer something that cinches right up to the hook eye for those. I prefer not to use loops with smaller flies because sometimes the loop is almost as big as the fly, and I believe that can make the presentation a bit unnatural. So to answer your question, it doesn't have anything to do with strength.

07-25-2006, 03:08 PM
Geoff Wilson is probably the worlds best knot guy and I believe what he says. His fishing experience alone dwarf's most everyone I know. He says it is a 90% knot. I believe him and my results mirror its effectiveness. For trout flies most of the time you want a straight connection anyway, especially for dry flies. It is too easy to break 4 lb that an unscientific pull test using your hands means nothing.

One must also take into account that knots are not meant to be an all day affair. After each good fish you better retie and sharpen your hooks. It you do not you are only asking for trouble. Nowhere was this more apparent than earlier this season on the canal. Basser caught what was over a 40" fish. He eas using a slim beauty for his mono to braid connection on his spinning rig. The fish put up a good fight in the heavy canal current and was landed just fine. Next cast he hung up and the knot popped while he was barely applying pressure to try and free the hook. All knots loose effectiveness after being stretched by fish. You should have retied those knots,any number of them will fail after repeated strain.


07-25-2006, 03:24 PM
I am too old to remember to re-tie:hihi:

Not to deviate too much, but I suspect (a theory) that comparative knot strength of various knots may be a function of the brand and type of line. I remember a Stren salesman that would demonstrate that 10# regular Stren was stronger than 12# Trilene XT. He used a shock test to demonstrate. Under a steady load the XT was much stronger. Could be that some lines test at near 100% with the non-slip loop and other brands don't. The knot strength of various knots may be a function of the line used to tie them.

Bob Pauli
07-26-2006, 05:08 PM
Terrific job! It is refreshing to get data, and your home tests are valid comparison data. The only suggestion I would offer for statistical significance would be to do each test a greater number of times.

Re usiing a needle for a nail knor or a uni-knot, a Geoff Wilson book illustrates that the unit-knot and nail knot are identical, tied by different methods. I proved this to myself by tying dozens of both with small diameter cord.

I wonder which change, the double overhand or the nail knot, conributed the most improvement?

Many thanks for this work, Juro.

07-26-2006, 10:56 PM
Thanks Bob!

It's good to get some encouragement among the replies.

I am anxious to see how the scientific tests come out. I have contacted line companies to validate my results 'officially'.

You raise a good point, I'll have to try combinations to see if there is any correllation there.

07-27-2006, 10:24 PM
Interesting and informative thread :cool:

I just did a two-trial test using 20 lb Trilene Big Game mono knotted to two 1/0 hooks hooked around two pen barrels and then pulled apart until something broke. First trial was an improved clinch knot (my usual knot) vs. a non-slip loop knot (the first I've tied in years, following the instructions from the first hit on Google: flyfishlouisania.com) The improved clinch knot failed at the knot. For the second trial, I used the existing non-slip loop knot and tied the broken end of the line back onto the second hook using a regular clinch knot because I didn't have enough tag end to do an improved clinch. This time the non-slip loop failed at the knot. Not exactly a controlled test with a sufficient number of trials, but I found the results interesting. More testing and results to follow.

Here's a little background info: For more than 30 years I have used the clinch knot or improved clinch knot to attach my line to the fly, swivel, hook or lure, with the only exception being that I would probably use a surgeon's loop to attach the line to a split-ring, punched metal lure or large-diameter hook (similar to a loop-to-loop connection: tie the loop, pass the loop through the split ring/eye, put the lure/hook back through the loop and seat the knot). I generally have good success with the improved clinch knot unless the line is old or abraded. I often use the same fly all day without retying. I usually use 20 lb fluoro in the salt and for carp, and I guarantee that I apply more than 8 lbs of pressure when necessary :D . In freshwater I do a lot of fishing with light tackle spinning gear and usually tie the line to a snap swivel (same connection as straight-eye hook) and regularly use the same swivel tied with the same improved clinch knot for multiple trips (3 or 4 or even more :o ), even with 6 lb test line. Without a doubt, regardless of equipment or type of knot used and excluding instances where the fish bites through the line or nicks/wraps the line on something, most of my line breakages occur while trying to land a fish by grabbing the line. I seldom have the line or knot fail in an open-water situation. Granted, when the line breaks it usually does occur at the knot unless the line was damaged ahead of the knot, but the clinch knot works just fine for me. I also use a blood knot for tippet/leader connections, which is basically two clinch knots against one-another, and those knots seldom fail. When I tie the clinch knot or blood knot, I wrap the tag end around the standing line, rather than twisting the loop to make the wraps. With a clinch knot I snug the knot carefully until it "rolls over" where the knot clinches the tag end (i.e., pull the standing line against the lure/fly until the knot starts to slip and then tightens down again, try it and you'll see what I mean). It's difficult to properly tighten the clinch knot when attaching heavy line to a small-diameter hook/swivel. You sometimes have to push the last wrap back over the line because it tries to go behind the hook eye, and you usually have to push the wraps down the standing line towards the eye as you tighten the knot. I don't worry about making the knot "roll over" with heavy line, especially when the hook or leader is likely to break before the tippet/hook connection.

FWIW, I have done some tests in the past with palomar knots and non-slip loop knots, and while I don't recall the specifics I do know that I decided that the clinch knot was much easier to tie and was just as good for my purposes.


07-27-2006, 10:37 PM
Q -

Great to hear you actually did some testing rather than relying on our own opinions. It is revealing isn't it?

most of my line breakages occur while trying to land a fish by grabbing the line

That is exactly how my standard non-slip loops broke over the past weekend's field testing.

Also the fact that the regular clinch broke the non-slip knot could likely be a sign of how the knot degrades with stress, it never broke on the first thrashing fish but it did after several for me.

There is a mix of objective and subjective in your analysis but what I have found putting preferences aside is that the palomar or trilene does not break off when holding the line where other knots often do.

The IGFA considers the palomor to be the strongest knot. I am trying to find out how they arrived at that decision...

07-28-2006, 08:20 AM
I've been trying to find a cheap/used tensile testing machine that we could do some serious trials on but no luck and the new rigs run a couple of grand. When people like Lefty say they have done this type of test I'm inclined to believe them, but it would be nice to see the results published.

If anyone knows of any sources on the web or in books, please shout. I'm talking about real stats - multiple trials - statistically significant sets of results etc.

To do this type of test justice would be a lot of effort but I think it would be very worthwhile. The absolute and relative performance of different knots on different brands of tippet, for different diameters would be extremely useful.

Maybe the manufacturers already do this?

Any engineering students (or better still teachers) out there with access to lab facilities? This would make a great college/high school applied physics project.:smokin:

beau purvis
08-01-2006, 11:23 PM
http://www.theflyfishingreport.com/Fly_Fishers_Forum/Articles_US/Non-Slip_Knot.htm?link_IN_1=%2FFly_Fishers_Forum%2FArt icles_US%2FNon-Slip_Knot.htm
if i did this right,go to this site and look at the diagram of non slip loop knot.This is way I tie it.I found it makes a difference if you vary from the details of this.Beau

08-02-2006, 07:18 AM
Thats the one.

Now double up the overhand with a 'weave', and instead of using a simple clinch use either a nail knot with the tag over the mainline (easy with a double end needle) or tie the uni-knot to tie my proposed "improved" non-slip.

Or as many do if you have confidence in the standard non-slip stick with that. My experience has been less than acceptable when compared to the palomar when it comes to strength and durability but clearly others have a different view. I'll be able to do some industry testing in August to see which knots are scientifically stronger FWIW.

Millions still use the clinch and swear by it although it's clearly a weaker knot.

I'll still only use a loop in a small percentage of situations. When it comes to striper fishing, bonefishing, or other venues I can (and have) stood side by side with friends who are using a loop and I've caught as many or more fish with a fixed palomar knot and never feel it's the knot making a difference. Movement at the knot is just one tiny element of the angler's puzzle and I am not convinced it's all that critical with most flies that have active materials and designs.

Examples of flies where it might make a noticeable difference to fish are nylon braid body flies (which I never use due to stiffness), jiggy flies, hard poppers that ride stiff and those gummy sluggo imitations (I've never tried them so that's a guess).

Examples of flies where it probably makes very little are marabou, long materials, loop eye flies designed for fishing under current tension (e.g. turled), obviously tube flies, or essentially any fly that has a lot of resistance to push a lot of water due to the static tension that the bulk will create thus over-riding any freedom at the head.

Anyway I am very curious to see how our own knots fare in real testing machines.

01-19-2007, 07:40 PM
Try tying the loop knot a slightly differant way. Instead of starting with a simple overhand knot, start with a figure eight knot. When bring back the tag end, follow the incoming path (same with the free end of the cinch) . I would be interested to hear what you get if you run a similar test series.