Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The 16-20 Knot? Never Heard of It.

For some reason fly fishermen put significantly less time and focus into their knots than our saltwater brethren.  Even those that play in both fresh and saltwater will tend to use more sophisticated rigging when fishing the salt.

Obviously freshwater fish are usually smaller and weaker than saltwater fish.  Most of the time it just doesn't make much sense to put to much time and effort into rigging for freshwater.  Those of us that fly fish for carp, salmon, steelhead and a couple of others need to make a better effort.  As a matter of fact I need to make a better effort.

I am pretty happy with my tippet knot.  I use a Bimini twist to a double surgeons and basically never lose fish at that connection.  Where I need work and help is at the fly.  I have been using the good old improved clinch since I was about 9 years old.  It is not the best option, but I am comfortable with it and can tie it quickly and very very consistently. 

It is time for a change and has been for quite some time.  Unfortunately I have had a hard time making a switch.  The main problem stems from my unholy and probably irrational addiction to flourocarbon in the 2x to 4x range for carp.

You can find lots of great data (and I mean data not conjecture) on the Internet for flouro in heavy saltwater gauges.  The answer seems simple and that is the San Diego Jam Knot.  Unfortunately I have worked and worked with that knot but either can't get it tied correctly or it just doesn't work in smaller sizes.

You can also find a ton of information on the internet comparing knot strengths in mono.  This article by Art Sheck is simply amazing.  If you use mono read this (pay special attention to what he says about tippet knots) and stop there.  The problem is that flouro and mono just do not and I repeat absolutely positively do not perform at all the same when it comes to knot strength.  I spent several hours the other night running similar trials with 3x Flouroflex plus.  Either I am not tying most of the fancy knots in his article correctly or they just dont work as well in flouro because the good old clinch smoked them all....except the 16-20!  With the 16-20 it killed the clinch on the first trial and every trial after that where I got the knot to pop when I sinched it.  Sweet. 

Anybody else use this knot?  I am pretty pumped about it.

WINTER FLY-CARPIN RESOLUTION #1:   MASTER THE 16-20

13 comments:

  1. I have a friend who uses that knot and swears by it. He also happens to be one of the best fisherman I have ever seen in my life.

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  2. Nate, You use Flouro or Mono? What knot do you use?

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  3. I've used a clench knot for many years, it's so fast and easy. I'm gonna give the 16-20 a try. Thanks for the info McTage!

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  4. John - It is really hard to switch knots when you can tie the good-ol clinch in your sleep, even if you know rationally that it is an inferior knot. I have been trying to get off the wagon for years. This time it is happening!

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  5. Dude I keep it simple. I use 2x fluoro most of the time and I loop to loop to my line. I use a double nail knot with amnesia to create the loop on my fly line and then when I add more 2x to the leader I use a double surgeons knot. As far as flies I just use the clinch knot. I haven't had any problems with it so I haven't ventured off the course much. I do use a bimini twist with a double surgeons loop as my backing to fly line connection though...

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  6. Sweet and simple! Sighhh...maybe I make life to complicated.

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  7. If your not having fish come unbuttoned from knot failure then I say leave it alone. The improved clinch tied correctly is rock solid. If were talking about flies that need to breath to get the most out of them, then I use a Kreh loop 100% of the time. Otherwise it's an improved clinch. It just doesn't fail in fresh or salt.

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  8. I guess I could be all wet on this. I am an engineer and continious improvement is my job. If it aint broken don't fix it is generally a good philosiphy in life but what constitutes broken? What if in order to stay buttoned with the clinch you have trained yourself to use 2x instead of 3x or in my case 3x instead of 4x? Whether or not carp are that line-shy is debatable but going down a line-size couldnt hurt right?

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  9. I think it's also known as the Pitzen knot. A great knot and I tried it out for awhile. My only beef was that I used too much of the tippet when I tied it. Fat fingers and all that. Made a small compact knot though, which was great back during my #22 zebra midge days.

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  10. Ty - Congradulations on defeating blogger. The tippet usage seems a challenge so far in practice. Could be the clincher (pun intented)

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  11. I just did a bunch of knot testing to build on Art Scheck's results, and I posted the results. The non-slip mono loop was strongest. However, in second place was the Davy knot. The Davy was the strongest non-loop knot and you can tie it in 3.2 seconds with your eyes closed. Check it out:

    http://mattsbucket.blogspot.com/2011/10/knot-testing.html

    My only glaring omission was the 16-20 knot. I ran a few trials on it, and it lost to the Davy. However, it was a pain for me to tie so I suspect I tied it poorly. For now, I've back-burnered it. I'd like to see how it fares against the Davy, but the Davy is so strong and so quick to tie I left it at that. I'll revisit this knot soon.

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  12. Matt - Thanks so much for posting that and then linking it up. Great material. I will try the Davy pronto. I have managed a couple on the 16-20 but I also lost one. It seems to be a boom or bust knot that will take a while to truly master. Awesome when I get it right but not getting it right every time and I don't know why.

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  13. I use the 16/20 for both fly and spin fishing. When it's tied right, when you hear the click, I've NEVER had the knOt fail, always the line itself. I've used it in weights from 5x to 20lb. I can tie with gloves on or with hemostats

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