What's The Best Tippet-to-Fly Knot?

July 14, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

In many years of guiding and fishing, I’ve seen knots fail and not fail often enough to develop some prejudices. If anything, our opinions about knots are a lot like our notions about flies. We have reasons to trust knots — even if they are not scientific — and we tend to use the knots that we used the last time we caught a fish. In a fly fisher’s leader the knot that draws the most scrutiny — and therefore the most opinionating — is the tippet-to-fly knot. The reason is obvious: it’s the “weakest link,” being tied in the thinnest part of the line or the section most exposed to abrasion. We’re inclined to doubt the terminal knot more than any other, and any time our guide or resident micrometer-and-tensile-strength expert discovers a “better way,” we rank it as brilliant science.
This week Phil Monahan offers his brief take on how to evaluate fly-to-tippet knots. He goes on to explain something that’s never made it into most knot books: it’s often the tier that makes a knot good or bad.