There was always one thing I struggled with, as I grew into a fisherman; tying the hook to the line. I was never fortunate enough to have a mentor with my hobby, I had to learn everything for myself. I pulled my own bait from the ground before each trip, fished with a $10 Walmart special using the line that came with it and took a bucket with me to bring my catch(es) back home. Through trial and error, I learned how to gut em, fillet em and prep them for the frying pan. I never had the fortune to be instructed by anyone I looked up to so it took quite a long time before I learned how to do some things right.
You might never believe this, but one of the things I struggled with for several years was tying a knot onto a hook. I must have spent hundreds of allowances on packets of hooks from our local bait shop. Yeah…lucky for me he carried a few cheap deals. Whenever I went fishing, I knew that I could count on losing a hook or three. The only knot I knew how to tie was the shoelace special, which I would tie thrice over upon itself. Those of you with experience might be chuckling at this point because you already know how weak this knot is at the “joints”, so to speak.
So… Every time I set the hook there was a high probability that the knot would snap, I would lose the hook and most importantly my fish would get away. Now, I’m a patient guy. I knew that I was using a disposable product, but I just felt in my bones that there had to be a better way. Yeah, there are many, MANY better ways but you have to remember velcro manufacturers that this was before the internet boom, I didn’t have a mentor to show me and I was essentially fishing in the dark.
What to do, what to do? How was I going to learn how to tie a knot without wasting my precious line reserve? What could I practice with that was very similar to what I was using? Oh yeah! Sewing needle and thread! So I practiced. It took me most of a winter to find something that worked for me and as it so turns out, it was something that most of you already know about!
Something I learned real quick about sewing thread, it’s very thin and hard to deal with. My fat fingers might as well been trying to put web back into a spider for all it was worth! So to make it thicker, I doubled it over and then threaded it through the eye. Still stuck on the shoelace special, as I was, once I had pushed the thread through the eye I tied a loose overhand knot, (you know, over-under-around?) and then thinking that it would be a great idea, put the loop end of the thread over the hook and pulled it tight.
After cutting away the excess, I spent some time tugging and testing it and found that I liked the durability of it. When it was next warm enough to go fishing, I tried out my newly discovered knot and found that I went from losing hook(s!) per day to losing hooks every few days! Wow, was I impressed! And let me tell you, I went on to use that knot for the next twenty five years and will soon be teaching it to my children!
Earlier in the article, I mentioned that my most experienced readers will already know what this knot is. It’s a Palomar Knot, which the IGFA recognizes as the most consistently strong knot to use. Huh, how about that? Not only was this not recognized by a professional organization and already put into practice millions of times per year, but it’s so simple that I could safely tie it at night…heck I could probably tie it with my eyes closed!
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I think you get the point. So if you are looking for that perfect knot to tie on your hook, if you are a rookie fisherman and learning for yourself as I had to do decades ago then you need to go with this one. Remember the name; Palomar, and you won’t do any wrong. Heck, I bet it improves your game a little! It did mine.