Here is an on-going topic for debate in fishing; what knot to tie and when?
The number of knots out there to use and why they are better than the rest, is about as spread out as the number of different hardbaits on the market. For some anglers, they are very particular and picky about their knots. Some use a knot their grandpa taught them how to tie, and grandpa knew everything. Some use a particular knot that they used to win a tournament. Others use a certain knot because it has never broken on them. Finally, there is the anglers that tie any knot that the spirit moves them to tie; whatever the case may be, there is a lot of options.
I’ve spent ten years as a competitive bass angler, five of which have been competing on the FLW Tour. Here is my approach to the different knots out there and when to use them. The first piece of advice I can give every angler out there, keep it simple! I stick to three basic knots in my fishing arsenal and I have yet to find a reason to change. I’ve also added some value from Yo-Zuri prostaff members to help increase the incentive behind the way I like to do things.
The first knot is the Palomar knot, probably one of the easiest but also one a lot of anglers have controversy over. Growing up in Oklahoma and fishing a lot with my dad, the Palomar knot was the first knot I learned to tie. However, I did break off a lot, but it was the only one I knew how to tie. It was not until I started competing in tournaments and reading a lot of article in magazines did I start learning how to tie different variations. The Palomar is still a knot I depend significantly on when fishing with Yo-Zuri Superbraid.
“The Palomar knot is as old as my fishing career. In Florida we fish a lot of grass, and I think the Palomar knot favors the best. Although it has a tendency to cut itself when tied with fluorocarbon, I think it holds the best strength with braid. Also it’s a smaller knot which cuts down the tendency on your bait getting hung up on debris in the water.” –Mike Surman, FLW Tour pro & Yo-Zuri prostaff member
The knot I rely on 90% of the time is the San Diego Jam knot, or as some like to call it “the Jam knot”. This is the knot I especially tie when throwing Yo-Zuri crankbaits such as the 3DB Deep Crank or 3DR Mid Crank because both are worked especially well when in contact with wood or rocky bottoms. The amount of abuse you put your knot and line through in this scenario is endless, so a quality line and knot is paramount. Yo-Zuri TopKnot fluorocarbon is the best on the market and I’ve found the best knot to tie to hold up well and be the strongest is the San Diego Jam. It has three tag ends and pretty simple to tie, however the key to tying it correctly is like most any other knot, make sure to wet it down before you cinch it complete.
“Most of the anglers I know are tying the San Diego Jam for everything. I’ve never had that knot slip or break on me. In my line of work if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.” –Clent Davis, Yo-Zuri prostaff
Finally, there is the knot everyone has to use to connect a mainline to a leader. Personally I like the Alberto knot. Again, this was the first knot I learned to tie when adjoining two different lines and it has not failed me yet. It is a pretty thin knot and holds up well for smaller diameter braid and fluorocarbon. It is a knot that wraps the mainline up to sixteen times around the leader material, so it has an excellent hold when all cinched down.
“I’ve found the quickest and strongest conjoining knot to tie, especially when finesse fishing, is the Alberto knot. I’ve caught ten pounders on shakey heads before, and never once had a single issue with the Alberto knot.” –Luke Clausen, Yo-Zuri prostaff & Major League Fishing BPT pro
However, there is a new knot that has really shown itself and made a name for itself among anglers on the tour level; the FG knot. This is knot is relatively difficult to tie and will take a lot of practice to getting the hang of. It was originally designed by tarpon and redfish anglers in the state of Florida but has eventually made its way to the freshwater scene. Again, this is a very thin knot and has a great strength. I would recommend searching YouTube and seeing some different videos on how to tie it. It works very similar to a Chinese Finger Trap, I’ve even heard of guys using it for Crappie fishing and not having to retie for months and months at a time.
“The FG Knot is my favorite when tying braid to fluorocarbon. Although I recommend taking your time and sitting down in the bottom of the boat to tie it, I’ve exclusively started depending on it.”- Brandon Cobb, Yo-Zuri prostaff and BASS Elites Series Angler
Here is just a couple examples of the different knots out there anglers love to use. I have my personal favorites, and every angler out there has their own. No matter what an angler prefers to tie, the key is to have confidence in the knot you rely on!!!
Next week we will feature pt.2 which will cover knots preferred in saltwater fishing. Think it is the same as freshwater???
The weather is just getting perfect and the bite down here in Costa Rica is on!!! Down here in my little piece of paradise I am fishing every day and have dream trips catching Mahi, Cubera, Wahoo, and Rooster. The Mahi are not on a full run yet where I am fishing, however I am catching the occasional few. The Cubera and Wahoo bite is going crazy right now, and fishing for them out of a kayak adds to the excitement.
I am finding myself having to paddle about 2 miles off shore right now to locate a solid bite. I start every morning around 5:00 and am usually back at the dock in time for lunch. By then anyway, my arms are so tired from fighting fish all morning I barely find the strength to paddle back in. Typically the best days have been in a post-frontal, cloudy condition. This weather pattern will generally create more current coming out of the rivers and stir up the bait fish. This creates a feeding frenzy for the fish and a perfect time to catch multiple trophies each day.
My typical set up is a 7’ rod with a big spinning reel on it. I will advise anyone to not go cheap on a spinning reel, the general rule is the more you invest in a quality spinning reel the more likely you are to land more fish. A better quality spinning reel provides a better drag system and anyone that fishes offshore knows, fish will rip your drag a lot in a fight. Because of the larger spools on spinning reels offered today in the market I am able to get away with higher pound Yo-Zuri SuperBraid. Typically I run a 65lb Superbraid with a 40-60lb clear Yo-Zuri TopKnot Leader. The heavier line is what I trust when fishing shallower around boulders and rough bottom. You just have to let the fish tell you where to fish to catch them, and this is usually following the bait.
When thinking about bait selection, I generally follow this rule of thumb: “anything will work as long as it’s Yo-Zuri.” My box is usually loaded down with Hydro Minnows, Crystal Minnows, and Mag Minnows. Sometimes in the morning I will mix in using the 3D Popper on very calm mornings. The retrieve varies based on the species; Roosters seem to prefer a very fast action retrieve, but Cubera and Wahoo seem to really prefer the slow retrieve. I generally cast a bait out and rip it violently but give it long pauses in between rips; lately it seems like the longer the pause the better. There is no question when you get a bite so pay attention!!!
If you’re planning a vacation soon and are angler; you’re crazy not to have Costa Rica on your bucket list. Make sure to stop by your local tackle store to get a few Yo-Zuri lures on your way. Happy fishing and see you out there!!!!!
Thanksgiving Dinner around my house is always a very busy time of year. The food, the family, football, hunting season, decorating, and then there is the day-to-day chores to keep up with. This is also a great time of the year for me to start thinking about the upcoming fishing season and keeping my body and mind in tune to being a competitor and chasing my dreams. While most anglers are breaking in their new boat for the upcoming year or just trying to escape cabin fever, there is still a good chance to catch a nice bucket mouth.
During the winter I usually try to keep things simple throwing jigs, swimbaits, and of course hard baits. There are usually three baits I always keep tied on the deck of my boat and match the colors according to water color and visibility outside. In clear water and sunnier days outside I prefer more translucent colors. On darker days and dirtier water I like more solid colors and always follow a shad pattern. The exception is sometimes I prefer crawfish colors depending on the structure I am targeting.
The Hardcore Flat Minnow, Yo-Zuri 3DB Shad, and 3DS Mid-Crank are my most trusted arsenal this time of year. I always try to fish areas that have a rock bottom or have close relating rip-rap around them; throw in some brush to the mix and you have pot of gold sitting in front of you. Generally the water temperatures are anywhere between 48-53 degrees here in the state of Alabama. When temperatures are this cold largemouth are usually not very aggressive but they have to eat to stay warm. My favorite bait is the 3DS Mid-Crank in a shad or crawfish pattern, I’ll always have the fish tell me what they want. This is a great bait when targeting fish in 4-8 feet of water. I generally throw this bait on 10lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot mainline fluorocarbon and use just a slow steady retrieve to the boat. The key here it to have the bait bumping the bottom since the fish usually are not high in the water column. On slick sunny days I have caught some of my biggest winter time bags on the 3DB shad. I love throwing this little bait because I can use light spinning tackle and catch everything from 12 inchers all the way to 6 pounders. Make sure your using a long fast action spinning rod with a high quality spinning reel that has a good drag system. For this technique I will use a 15lb Yo-Zuri SuperBraid with a 8lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Mainline Fluorocarbon leader. The Hardcore Flat minnow is just tried and true bait any time the water is cold. It always catches a few more fish for me throughout the day because it resembles a dying bait fish and will be an easier meal for the fish.
When trying to locate good areas of the lake to fish try to keep in mind where the warmest water will be. Generally the areas with darker water color or middle sections of the lake with the deepest water are a safe bet. You will almost always find my boat up a river where the water is dirtier and warmer or fishing down the bank of rip rap in the middle sections of the lake where there is deep water relating.
Always trust in Yo-Zuri and happy fishing!!!