One of the most puzzling things to the beginner is the question of the proper knots and hitches to use in assembling his tackle, and the beginner is often known by the “knots” that he “ties.” A few of the most commonly used knots and hitches are given below.
The most common and most useful of all is the half hitch. which is used most often in fly tying and rod winding. It’s made by taking a loose turn of the thread around the body of the fly or rod, drawing the end of the thread through the open coil and pulling it down tight. This hitch shows no knot and makes a very neat finish. The double hitch is made by leaving two open coils and drawing the end of thread through, thus giving a firmer hitch than the single one. Some fly tiers use the whip hitch in finishing off the heads of flies. It is used also in tying the gut snells to bait hooks. This hitch is made by throwing a long loop of thread out and confining both ends of thread with the finger and thumb of the left hand. Now take one arm of the loop, pass it over the end of the hook, and with it wrap in the other arm of the loop at each turn until three or four turns or whips have been made, then the loose end of thread may be drawn tight and confined by the whips of the thread which have passed over it, forming a very firm finishing hitch. This hitch can only be made on an object where the end is sufficiently close to allow the loop to pass round.
There are several hitches by which the reel line is fastened to the gut leader, and the simplest and best of these is the jam hitch. It is made by passing the end of the line up through the loop in the end of the leader. Then wrap once around and pass the end under the line itself.
Another hitch used for the same purpose is the tiller hitch, and is made in the same way except that the end is doubled back when finishing the hitch.
Single Water Knot
There are several knots for joining or making up a gut leader. One of these is the single water knot, and is made by laying the two ends together. Give these a turn over the right forefinger and form a loop; slip this off and pass the two ends around and through the loop and draw tight, cutting off the short ends close to the knot. This is a quick knot but not the best for gut leaders.
Double Water Knot
By forming the first part of the knot as explained in the single water knot, and then passing the ends through twice the double water knot is made. This knot is clumsy but very strong. Though both of these knots are used extensively they both have a tendency to cut the strands of gut when drawn tight, and we do not advise their use for this purpose.
Single Fisherman’s Knot
The single fisherman’s knot is a very good one for use in tying gut leaders, and is formed by laying two strands of gut together about four inches past each other; tie a simple knot in each end so that the opposite strand will be encircled by each knot (sou illustration,) draw knots tight and pull them together. This is not quite so secure, however, as the “double fisherman’s knot.”
Double Fisherman’s Knot
This is an excellent knot for tying gut leaders and is tied in the same way as the single fisherman’s knot except that in tying the preliminary knots in the end of each strand two loops are made and the end passed through instead of a simple single knot.