Our Fishing Editor Puts Popular Knots to the Test

What you tie on is still up to you, but with his new hi-tech knot-testing device, our fishing editor can tell you how to do it to avoid losing that next lunker.


So your trusty fishing editor has a couple of new toys: a Chatillon E-DFE Digital Force Gauge and tester (chatillon.com). Now I can measure the strength of lines and knots precisely to check out which combinations will work best in common fishing applications. The following test is a great example of just what that can mean to your own fishing.

The well-known improved clinch knot is what most freshwater anglers use to tie on a lure. But how do you know how many turns of line to make when tying this knot? Do three turns work better than five? Or six?

I tried various turn combinations with a 10-pound nylon mono and an 8-pound fluorocarbon line, both by Berkley. Five turns made the strongest knot for both lines. The extra wrap in the six-turn knot made the knot harder to tighten and weakened it in each test. A three-turn knot tested higher for mono than four turns under gradual pressure but had little impact strength'breaking easily with a sharp tug. (Different line sizes and/or brands might produce different results.)

Watching as knots broke on my tensile-testing machine made it very clear that the tighter your knot is in the first place, the less likely it is to fail.