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Marlin Tutorial




"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link ..."

How many times have you heard that old saying, which is right up there with the early bird and running with scissors. There's a reason for that of course, one that every big game fisherman knows - if you have a weak link in your tackle, it will fail at the worst possible moment. And when it does, I'm betting it will be the knot.

Knots are a necessary evil in fishing tackle. You need to connect various pieces of tackle together, yet every time you do you compromise the strength of the system - and that's assuming the knot was properly tied. Do it wrong and you make a bad thing worse.

There are literally hundreds of knots in use by fishermen world wide and even if you eliminate the rare ones you still have several dozen in wide use. Heck, we provide instruction for nearly twenty different knots in our Knot Guide.

But that doesn't mean you need to learn a lot of knots. In fact, I'd argue that you are better served by using a limited selection of knots that you can become fully proficient in tying. After all, on the water isn't a place to be wondering if you got your knot right ...

Stan's Tip

I've tied thousands of knots in my life. But, knowing the knot is the weak link in the fishing tackle chain, I leave nothing to chance. A few weeks before the start of the marlin season, I'll sit down with printed copies of the knot instructions from our Knot Guide and spools of the various lines I will use during the season. I then tie each knot, basically learning again from scratch, until I can tie it without thinking. Tie ... cut ... tie ... cut ... tie ... cut. I build a muscle memory that will pay big dividends when I need to tie a knot in a hurry later.

You can choose whatever knots you want for your particular use, provided you commit to learning them right. Here are the ones I use:

Albright Knot - I use this to attach bait leaders to the main line. It works very well with the difference between the sizes of line (usually 30-lb to 120-lb for me), and is a strong knot when tied right. Make sure the wraps do not slip over each other as you tie it, because that can cause it to snap under pressure. It's a measure of the fact that I'm constantly learning that I've committed to learning the Improved Albright before the next season starts ...

Improved Clinch Knot - The first knot I learned as a child, and still my favorite for small tackle. I use this all the time when rigging for making bait or fishing on the anchor. A great all-purpose knot, it's the only one I can remember how to tie after a long offseason ...

Palomar Knot - Deceptively simple to tie, it is wickedly strong. I use it for attaching hook to mainline where I want something stronger than the Improved Clinch. It's used by a lot of folks to attach the hook to leader in both lure and bait setups.

Perfection Loop - I use this "knot" to attach the hook to my bait outfits, as it allow it to swing freely. Obviously, it makes a good terminal loop for leaders as well.

If you have a knot you particularly like, let me know which and why - I'm always learning. In the meantime, click on the pictures below for detailed instructions on how to tie each knot:


Improved Clinch




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