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It's Not the Knot

May 18, 2006 By: Marshall Cutchin

The more one reads about knots and more practice one has in tying them, the easier it is to understand why how well a knot is tied makes as much — or more — difference in its strength than its purported “percentage.” So whenever I read an article that touts a particularly suspect knot — in this case the Improved Clinch — I try to quickly lose my Knot Professor’s grimace.
Truth be known, I still use an Improved Clinch sometimes, and I have never had one fail. Does that make it a good knot, or is it a bad knot because if I put it on knot-testing machine it fails at 74% of labeled line strength? As with flies and most things fly-fishing, it’s often about confidence and technique. But if you are teaching someone terminal knots, do them a favor and chose the Palomar or Trilene or some variation of those. GlobalFlyFisher has one of the better sets of “2D” instructions for tying these and other knots.