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A Knotty Approach to Time on the Water.

Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 10/23/2020 (7617 reads)
flyfishing knots

While sharing some time on the water the other day with Dave Kile (dkile) I experienced what seems to happen often during a decent hatch with some wind, you guessed it, a wind knot! Or as Lefty Kreh calls them, bad casting knots. Everyone gets them now and then especially when combining a breeze, long leaders and fine tippets. Or for the chuck and duck crowd, of which I am often a member, weight and multiple flies. So as Dave stands upstream pondering my delay to cast to a rising fish, he asks, what’s the problem Einstein? I said I have a wind knot, and it reminded me of a tip I learned many years ago.

Back in the 80’s we were on a bus trip to the Breeches from the ‘burg and there was a video on the tube for those not taking the time to sleep. Being full of interest in sponging any and all info I could at the time, one tip in the video stuck with me. Terminal knot tying efficiency. Think about it, every time we tie on a new piece of tippet, a new fly, etc., we are out of the game. It stands to reason that the faster you can tie on a fly (improved clinch knot in my case) or a new piece of tippet (double surgeons knot), the quicker you can begin flogging the water again.

The video stressed the need to get your knots down to 15 seconds each. Practice, practice, practice until you can meet that goal. This will put your fly change or tippet adjustments into under one minute if you include the spooling off tippet, picking out a new and returning the old flies. If you find yourself taking 5-10 minutes each to accomplish that task, you could likely be wasting an hour or more tying frustrating knots. Practicing on stream is KNOT efficient! (pun intended)Now it’s not a race, and I don’t suggest it to be. But it is practical to be as efficient as possible when enjoying your streamside time. Plus, when a hatch is on, the fish and bugs don’t wait until you re-tie, it goes on as scheduled, often it seems to go faster as the trouts plop, plop, plop all around you.

So do yourself a favor by following these few tips;
• Get your knots down to 15 seconds or so.
• Accept the fact your eyes are going bad and get some readers if seeing the eye is getting harder every year.
• Keep your tippet handy, I keep mine outside near my left hip where I can reach it easily.
• Keep your flys handy with few boxes so searching is not too long.
• Know your limitations and adapt.

Resized ImageThat last one may seem out of place for a seasoned fly fisher but this efficiency exercise also applies to damage control. That's right, when you booger up your line with a collapsed cast, loose loop or wind knot, bring your line in gently and assess the damage immediately. It can be tempting to just begin pulling and tugging but try to resist. Take a few seconds and loosely pull on some of the loops to see what you are dealing with. Look for loops that exit the knot and pull them back through. Often its only one or two loops that cause the whole mess. If it looks too complicated to unravel it probably is. Clip off the fly, this often makes it a much easier task because you can slip the tippet through the knot. Remember it only takes you 15 seconds to tie it back on. Just be sure when you clip it off you put it somewhere you remember like a fly patch, or other handy outside vest place. Don’t keep it in your hands or put it in your mouth. Trust me, this never ends well…soon you are chasing it down stream with your net or trying to get it out of your lip.

Lastly, If it's a total mess clip it ALL off and start over, in one minute or so you will be casting again.

Now I consider myself a pretty good untangler…in fact, my slogan is “Fly fishing is the art of tangling and untangling lines of different diameters while trying to enjoy yourself”. But it doesn’t have to be yours.

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Author Thread
Published: 2012/2/28 15:36  Updated: 2012/2/28 15:36
Joined: 10/18/2006
From: Patterson twp, Pa (Beaver Falls)
Comments: 366
 Re: A Knotty Approach to Time on the Water.
That's a good bit of info there. My knot tying is up to par and I've got a technique I use for blood knots that only takes about 4 hands and your mouth, but it gets the job done in about 20 seconds.

Even the best of fly casters get knots, so check your line periodically throughout the day. Don't leave wind knots in your line! All that time you spent to present the perfect fly, on the perfect line and perfectly get the fish to perfectly take it, only to have a wind knot break on you is not worth it.

I also implement the "if the fly takes me less time to retrieve from said tree/rock than it takes me to tie another one at the vise, then go get it!" theory.
Published: 2012/2/28 20:41  Updated: 2012/2/28 20:41
Joined: 03/02/2011
From: Gamehendge
Comments: 9
 Re: A Knotty Approach to Time on the Water.
Improved clinch knot and a nail knot tool. I'm pretty fast with both. Good write up Maurice, an I like your slogan at the end of the read.
Published: 2012/3/1 11:33  Updated: 2012/3/1 11:33
Joined: 09/11/2006
From: Lehigh Valley
Comments: 55
 Re: A Knotty Approach to Time on the Water.
Great read! I went out with a guy I met at my job last year. He took (what seemed like to me) forever to tie knot/rig up.
Before I could ask, he told me he believed in taking his time to make sure his knots are right because its not worth it to rush, make a crappy knot and lose fish. I told him you won't lose any fish if you never hooked them in first place because you fumbling with your knots all day!
This might sound stupid but I like catching fish when I go fishing.
Published: 2012/3/1 16:23  Updated: 2012/3/1 16:23
Joined: 01/31/2008
From: Lebanon, PA, via everywhere
Comments: 2587
 Re: A Knotty Approach to Time on the Water.
See, I'm plenty good at my knots. But I occasionally seem to completely lose the ability to tie a decent knot. Practicing at home doesn't do me much good, I'm great at home, it only happens when I get my nerves shaken a little.

For other things, I say practice at home should mimic real life. Like with casting, you don't stand in an open field and open up. You put that bush to your back. Likewise, maybe I should teach the baby to cry, or get the wife to run her fingernails down a chalkboard, until I finish the knot. :)
Published: 2013/4/23 12:54  Updated: 2013/4/23 12:54
Joined: 04/23/2013
From: Divide,CO
Comments: 4
 Re: A Knotty Approach to Time on the Water.
I've noticed several people on this site talking about tandem rigs and how to store them. If you so desire to pre rig, there's an item you can purchase on ebay for 11.95 that will store up to 4 rigs, maybe more if you do it right. It's made of a soft foam with several options depending on how long your tippet is, and it won't kink your line. It's found under Tandem rig fly fishing patch.

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