Now is a good time to learn how to tie fishing knots

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

Trying to get through the months of January and February can be agony for an avid angler anxiously waiting to wet a line again.

There are things an angler can do to pass the winter doldrums. One is learning how to tie a variety of knots.

There are knots an angler can use in certain situations. It’s easier to learn how these days with the Internet. Figures illustrating knot-tying sometimes can be confusing. But going to a search engine and typing in the kind of knot you want to tie should bring up a variety of videos showing a step-by-step process how to tie a knot. The added plus is you can pause the video and play it over and over again. Having a phone or smaller computer handy makes it simpler.

A weak knot can be a fragile connection between the angler and the fish. That’s why it is important to know which knot is best in certain situations and how to tie it correctly.

The most important knot for most anglers is the one used to tie a hook, jig, swivel, lure, fly, etc. to the fishing line.

For many of us, the improved clinch knot was the first one we learned how to tie. It’s a simple and strong knot used on monofilament line. However, it is not the best knot when tying directly to braided line. The best one in that situation is the Palomar knot.

There are times when we connect different lines together. Knots used for this include the surgeon’s knot, the Albright knot and the uni or blood knot.

As a flyrodder I’ve used the surgeon’s knot for decades. It is used for tying a tippet to a fly leader. A double surgeon’s knot usually suffices in adding the leader, but when adding mono line to braided line, it doesn’t hold. One must wrap it 5-6 times instead of twice. It holds well. Since braided line is so strong, I like using a mono tippet of a few feet since it will break off much easier than braided line if I get snagged and cannot get loose.

Many anglers, especially bass anglers, use the Albright knot to connected fluorocarbon line to braided line. The uni or blood knot is used to connect lines of similar diameter.

The Duncan loop knot is a variation of the uni knot and is often used to connect backing or line to a reel.

Learning to tie a new knot takes practice. Make sure to have plenty of line to work with. Most anglers moisten the knot with a drop of water or saliva which helps the line snug up well when the finished knot is tightened. Don’t jerk, but pull a knot tight with a smooth and even motion. If you are not using the knot right away, put some fly tying cement or rubber glue on it to make it stronger. Give it time to dry. Always check the strength of a knot after landing a large fish or after using it for awhile.

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The Allen County Sportsmen & Farmers Association will conduct a turkey shoot Sunday at its 1001 South Kemp Road location.

The first shoot goes off at 11:45 a.m. Sign up begins at 10:30 a.m. Prizes will be turkeys, ribs and chickens. It is requested that those attending wear a mask.

For further information, contact Jeff Casady at 567-712-4762.

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Lima area and statewide hunters did not harvest as many deer during the recent four-day (Jan. 2-5) muzzleloader season as they averaged over the past three years.

Eight of the nine area counties showed a decrease compared to the three-year average. Putnam County was the lone county that showed an increase. Local hunters checked in 437 deer over the four-day season while the three-year average for the muzzleloader season is 549.

Following are the number of deer checked in the nine-county Lima area with first number being the harvest numbers for 2021. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest during the muzzleloader seasons.

Harvest numbers were: Allen 39 (54), Auglaize 34 (54), Hancock 52 (64), Hardin 71 (99), Logan 105 (132), Mercer 31 (36), Putnam 31 (23), Shelby 50 (63) and Van Wert 10 (24).

Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunters completed the 2021 muzzleloader season with 9,708 deer checked compared to an average of 12,695 deer taken during the past three years.

During the weeklong and extra weekend of deer-gun season, 86,853 deer were checked by Ohio hunters. In total, 102,672 deer were harvested with a gun, including muzzleloaders, during the 2020-2021 gun hunting seasons. Over the last three years, hunters harvested an average of 90,722 deer during the three gun hunting seasons.

The total number of deer taken in Ohio during all 2020-21 hunting seasons is 187,883, with three weeks remaining to hunt with archery equipment. That number has already surpassed last season’s final tally of 184,468.

Each year, the number of deer taken with archery equipment continues to grow, while gun hunting also remains popular. Beginning in September, Ohio archery hunters have taken 85,211 deer, or 45% of the harvest. Muzzleloaders accounted for 9% of deer taken (15,973 deer for all gun seasons). Ohio’s youth hunters checked 5,795 whitetails during the two-day youth season, Nov. 21-22, 2020.

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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