Fluoro untying? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fluoro untying?

South Shore
08-06-2007, 08:06 AM
Went fishing last night and had a few bits on a wooly bugger, the most frustrating one being during the retrieve and I felt a pretty solid Whack! I paused for a second, pretty sure I set the hook on the retrieve. When I saw a good-size silver flash in the water I raised the rod to start the fight. However, one good tug and he was gone.

I brought the line in... and no bugger. It looked like it had untied, not snapped. There was a tight curl at the end that I think was where the knot had been. I had been using a Frog Hair leader, which I was told had some stretch to it unlike most fluoro leaders, and that I didn't need to leave much of a tag end. Is it likely that it untied? I was using an Improved Clinch Knot, with maybe 4 loops around the main line while tying.

I'm thinking I either need more loops around the main line, a longer tag end (I probably about 2mm max), or I didn't raise the rod fast enough and let him yank on it while I was holding the line in my line hand and didn't realize how much pressure I had on the fish. Any ideas?

08-06-2007, 08:18 AM
Try 6 turns on that clinch knot.

Usually the dreaded pigtail is a sign that the knot was knot tightened all the way.

South Shore
08-06-2007, 10:17 AM
Thanks! I started giving it a couple more turns but all I got the rest of the night were a couple tiny bass on some dry flies. Not much of a challenge there.

It was just killing me though, that silver flash I saw was a good 15 inches long if not more and I have yet to pull in a trout on my fly rod.

08-06-2007, 10:37 AM
Also consider stronger knots for light tippets like the palomar for instance.

South Shore
08-06-2007, 11:51 AM
Good to know. I thought the Palomar was actually weaker under a certain loading condition - maybe when shocked? I was using 2X with the Bugger though, so I don't think that would be considered light tippet... correct?

08-06-2007, 01:08 PM
I doubt if a palomar is weaker than a clinch under any circumstances (except faulty execution of the knot). Do some experimentation and see what you find out, I speak from my experiences only and people have different paths through the FF world.

I used to fish trout as a top target species. Frustration over lost trout on super-light tippets is actually what drove me to using the palomar when I was a teen. The difference was profound for me using the same tippet. They could pop the tippet but not the knot.

Doubling the single strand around the hook eye (like the palomar does) makes the clinch a stronger knot. I think they call it the trilene knot or something. I prefer the palomar, much easier to tie.

I have been a winter steelhead junkie for decades, in these presentations a fly ends up in the rocks fairly often. It's pretty clear that a palomar is a stronger knot when you are pulling out from a rockpile.

Other knots are more suited to applications despite possible loss of knot strength, like the non-slip loop which imparts better action to certain flies but needs to be checked and re-tied to keep it strong enough; the turle and double turle are great for loop eye salmon / steelhead hooks and snelling a tippet is a great way to tie hooks for trailers (e.g. coho salmon flies).

South Shore
08-06-2007, 03:25 PM
Sounds like I'll be learning the Palomar then, thanks for the tips!

08-07-2007, 10:27 AM
My experience is that the typical improved clinch knot is one of the weakest you can use with fluoro. A step up would be an UNimproved clinch. Better yet is the so-called Trilene knot (essentially an unimproved clinch with two turns around the hookeye.) In my experience, a knot better than any of the above is the Pitzen. Also, I do not lubricate my knots when using FC as the material, at least the stuff I've used, is already very slippery. I think that's doubly important for a knot tied while actually fishing as it could be tested right away. One can Google up Pitzen to find very good diagrams and instructions. It really is an easy knot to tie. I also like the Palomar, but it uses up quite a bit more of the tippet than a Pitzen. I always thought it was better suited for use with conventional gear for that reason.

08-08-2007, 12:21 PM
Fluorocarbon is notorious for slipping knots. The palomar will take care of this problem at the hook. I don't doubt the other knots that have been recomended will work also. The palomar is just the knot that I know and use.

Clinch knots are not good with fluorocarbon. Blood knots (essentially two clinch knots tied back-to-back) will also fail far too often with this material. Use a double or triple surgeon's knot with fluorocarbon instead of a blood knot.

08-08-2007, 02:51 PM
I haven't had any problems with 1/2 flouro half Maxima blood knots. I don't use flouro taper sections though, only tippet so not qualified to offer any observations in that area.

I hear flouro isnt the best for the environment so minimize it to use only when it will make a big difference and discard it properly when it's beat.

Nooksack Mac
08-19-2007, 04:16 PM
I read that the factories have analyzed knot performance with micro-photography, as well as carefully controlled and measured comparison tests. An important discovery was that knots that fail prematurely usually slip internally before they come apart; hence the pigtail curls. Knot choice is important, and there are several that produce tippet-to-hook connections of above 90%. I like the double-loop cinch and the Pitzen (Pitzer?) knots.

But the problem with tying any knot is a matter of technique: you've got to get ALL the slack out of your knot in order to achieve optimum strength. After tying on a fly, have you ever pulled on the tag end with your teeth or pliers? The tag end got longer, didn't it? I don't think that's stretching; rather, it's the result of pulling slack out of the knot. And that makes it as strong as it can be. You can pull on it until it breaks (at that knot's maximum strength), but it won't slip.

About wraps: Most knots are devices designed to create friction, so much friction that the knot can't pull loose. The more wraps, the more friction. But there's a point of diminishing returns, when too many wraps creates so much friction that the knot can't be pulled tight. Try, as an experiment, tying a cinch-style knot with 10-12 wraps. You can't pull it tight, right? Tie it again with fewer wraps until you find the optimum number that allows you to pull it tight. Heavy tippet, and tippet tied with stiff mono, and some fleurocarbon, requires fewer wraps for an optimum cinch knot than 7X tippet.

08-22-2007, 12:20 AM
A knowledgeable clerk in the local fly shop told me there are special concerns with knots using frogs hair and that they recommend certain knots that could likely differ from what a person is used to.

08-22-2007, 02:45 AM
I found a diagram of the Pitzen Knot at http://www.fintalk.com/fishing-knots/pitzen-knot.html

Thanks guys... I learned something today. Now I need to rest my brain. :cool:

08-22-2007, 10:35 AM
thanks for the knot reference...I know what I tie, but don't know what it is called, so now I can actually reference what you guys are saying!

South Shore
08-24-2007, 08:27 AM
A knowledgeable clerk in the local fly shop told me there are special concerns with knots using frogs hair and that they recommend certain knots that could likely differ from what a person is used to.

Local flyshop here says the Frog Hair is unique in that it will stretch a bit, unlike most fluoro. I don't know enough to discount this either way, but he said he uses it for most of his fishing and hasn't had any problems with an Improved Clinch.

Anyway, I got a couple smallish schoolies this last weekend in a creek on Cape Cod with a 2X leader (largest was only about 16-17"). Put some pretty heavy pressure on the larger of them and no problems so far. Just making sure I'm using a proper half-dozen turns and leaving about 3mm on the tag end.

09-01-2007, 10:17 AM
Just to add my unsolicited $0.02...
I dislike flouro in general because of abrasion sensitivity - you have to frequently run it between your fingers and aggressively cut and replace any rough patches. This becomes a chore when fishing rough terrain such as jetties, rock piles etc.
For that reason I have limited my use of flouro to times when I am targeting line shy tunoids, most often false albacore.
Having said that, I find it strange that I have never run into the knot problems that so many attribute to flouro. I have had flyshop dudes tell me flat out "You CAN NOT" use blood knots, clinch knots etc. Never being one to listen to the voice of authority, I ignored them and stick to the knots I learned when I was 10.
I ONLY use blood knots to attach flouro tippet to mono leader and I only use improved clinch to attach flies. Now before I go on, let me just clarify that this choice is more personal preference and not meant to endorse specific knots. Your milage will almost certainly vary. :smile:
Nevertheless, I have hooked dozens of fast moving tunoids and landed a fair percentage of those and NEVER ONCE has either a blood knot or clinch knot in flouro failed me. This is saying alot as I fish mostly from shore and use mostly 12 lb tippet. That makes for a prolonged tug o' war with lots of extreme exceleration. In other words, a really good test for the knots.
On those few occasions when I break one off, invariably it is either an abraded patch in the flouro or a wind knot.
As someone else mentioned, tying technique is critical. A poorly tied knot will fail first, no matter what kind it is.

09-01-2007, 12:54 PM
I regularly use 7x tippet with an improved clinch knot (for almost 20 years now) and rarely have it come untied. Frog Hair is my normal tippet too. If it does come untied, it's usually because I haven't done enough twists or because I didn't check the knot after I landed the last fish or pulled the fly off of a snag...

09-02-2007, 09:11 AM
When I first used fluoro, when bonefishing, I was continuously loosing flies. I then worked out that a clinch knot is a very bad knot for fluro.
I now tie my flies on with a uni knot and have no problems.


09-03-2007, 04:11 PM
I suspect Juro is right about the high strength of the palomar knot. However, I don't use it since in my hands at least, it uses up too much tippet. I ran a few tests in 2006 convincing me to give the orvis knot a try. It is now my knot of choice with tippets ranging from 2X thru 0X for the steelies I target. I also prefer the orvis leader to tippet knot over the surgeons knot although its a tad harder to tie.

09-04-2007, 07:33 PM
I then worked out that a clinch knot is a very bad knot for fluro.

It's strange that we could have such divergent points of view about something that is not subjective. Either the knots fail, or they don't right?:confused:
For whatever reason, mine don't. I'm not being argumentitive, it's not important to me what knot someone else uses. I'm just curious why my experiences don't match what I've heard elsewhere.
Yesterday morning I hooked this false albacore from a popular, crowded jetty. The fish ran along the jetty in front of several surf casters. At least four of them hooked my line and preceded to "set the hook" when they felt the tension of my line causing very severe jerks on the leader. The fish also ran around a lobster bouy line and pulled the bouy almost under. I had no hope of landing the fish and expected the line to part at any moment. Somehow I disentangled from the other lines and the fish freed itself from ther pot warp. I then horsed the fish in before it got in any more trouble. I considered that to be about the most punishment I could inflict on my terminal tackle without outright breaking the leader itself. The flouro I used is the Vanish line by Berkely. The knot was an improved clinch with six turns. A blood knot was used to attach flouro to mono. According to conventional wisdom, I should have never landed that fish To me it was a normal day.:devil:

09-06-2007, 01:18 AM
Is it possible that while the clinch or improved clinch is one of the simplest knot to learn to tie, it is also one that is prone to inconsistencies in the tying process? I'm not sure if that expresses it exactly as I mean to, but maybe there are subtle aspects one has to pay attention to in tying the knot to get it to come out the same each time. Things like getting exactly the same number of turns before turning in the tag end, or how much one pulls on the tag end at the completion of the knot, can make a difference. I really didn't think about this till I started using the Orvis knot. Even tho the Orvis knot is somewhat harder to learn to tie, compared to the clinch knots I don't think there is as much chance for variation in tying it from one knot to the next providing you stick to the basic procedure for tying the knot.

09-06-2007, 07:41 PM
Don't know why I'm obsessing over this...
Back out in albie land today, after landing one hard pulling long running football, purposly neglected to retie. Wanted to see how many fish I could get on the one clinch knot [I normally retie frequently].
Number two, after several long hard runs, wrapped me around the dreaded lobster bouy. Next followed the tug o' war as I tried to free the fish from the pot line while it made runs against the rope with maybe four feet of leader. The runs were hard enough to pull the bouy under. Somehow the fish came free and I landed it.
Same exact scenario with number three except try as I might, I could not free the fish from the damn bouy. After seriously considering swimming for it [it was down too deep on the rope], I had no choice but to pull until the leader broke. The blood knot between mono and flouro held and the tippet broke close to the fly. Although I don't know for sure if the clinch knot broke, the end of the tippet was frayed for about three inches. I believe it was abrasion and not the knot which broke.
Flouro was again the Vanish brand @ 12#, improved clinch, six turns.
Not sure what I proved but I believe I got this out of my system.
Now if somebody would just invent an invisible tippet material that could cut through rope, I'd have it made.:lildevl:

09-07-2007, 07:49 AM
I have no problems with a clinch knot and flouro, both in salt and fresh. I moisten it, and pull it tight slowly, and then put pretty good pressure on it to tighten it down. No sharp tugging pressure, but a slow steady pressure. I believe as Chromedome said, it all about tying it properly.

If you read Chico Fernandez's book Fly Fishing for Bonefish, when not using a loop to attach the fly, he uses an 7 or 8 turn clinch knot, and he has tested it against an improved clinch and with 8 turns it came out stronger. A simple clinch knot is all you need if tied properly. He says an 8 turn clinch tests at 99-100%.

09-23-2007, 12:33 PM
I've been using Seagar flouro for tippets on Salmon and Steelhead in the Great Lakes for a few years now and have had zero knot failures. I use cinch knots, but I use a small swivel, as I get tiered of tying blood knots for leaders in January in MI. I agree that abrasion resistance is an issue, and I do check my line after each hook up. The one thing I disagree on is lubricating the knot. Knots slip because they aren't pulled tight, also Flouro Carbon is very abrasive when dry. Lubricating your knots keeps it from cutting into itself and allows you to pull the knot TIGHT. A dry pull will cut into the line as it's pulled and won't cinch up as tight. I rarely leave much tag end, tie conventional cinch knots because they're fast, and I don't loose fish because of bad knots.
This was last Wed. on a 8 lb leader with a Spey rod under an indicator.http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a338/elkcreek/pm1.jpg

09-23-2007, 03:34 PM
Wow Burk, what an awesome fish! Thanks for the pic. That's a dream fish for me. I'd love to catch even a much smaller one.