Outdoors: Having the right knots for fishing is very important

Jerrod Vila's latest outdoors column

Categories: Sports

If you have ever fished even one time, we all know knots are to fishing as peanut butter is to jelly. Sure there is a specialized knot for every conceivable application in the fishing world, but a handful or so reputable knots will get most any angler through a lifetime of fishing.

I will divvy up knots into two basic categories: Terminal and line to line.

Both are pretty self explainable, terminal being a single knot used for terminal tackle (or terminating at single point), everyday knots for affixing hooks, lures, flies, etc.
Line to line really needs no further explanation. I will not go into detail and explain actually how to tie each and every knot because that would be way overkill and very difficult to decipher via text alone.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these listed below and would like to give them a whirl, my recommendation would be to just type the name of the knot into the Google search bar and almost instantly you will have a step by step video tutorial depicting exactly how to tie each and every one. Some are fairly simple and straightforward, some are a little more in depth. They all have a place.

This is a lot of information to take in and squeeze into one column so I will execute it as a two part series. First up to bat, Terminal knots. 


The old tried and true. Probably no other knot has as much recognition or prowess as the clinch knot. Actually known as “The Fishermen’s Knot” it has been around for God only knows how long. Simply put, it is a fantastic knot.

I would say it is included in my everyday arsenal more than 90% of the time when fishing normal everyday fresh-water scenarios with light monofilament line. Also a worthy and rather interesting note regarding this knot is that the original (not the improved version) actually retains a higher breaking strength than the improved, wherein one goes back through the last loop. I have tied the regular (not improved) version for 30 years and have never had it fail.

To each their own, but I feel the extra step on the improved version is a rather large waste of time for something that is not as strong. 


I prefer the Uni-Knot when dealing with any line size greater than 15 or so pound test, or any scenario when I could possibly be dealing with very large fish. I also like it for tying a super line or braid to some form of terminal tackle like a ball bearing swivel or where a superline meets rigging. It is also my go to saltwater knot. It is an outstandingly simple to tie knot every angler should be familiar with.


Perhaps the simplest knot of the entire list. This knot literally takes seconds to tie and leaves a very minimal tag end.

This is my favorite knot to use when bulk could be a factor. Delicate and small presentations shine with the Davy knot, from dry fly scenarios to jigging perch and panfish through the ice with tiny tungsten jigs. If direct connections to lure or fly when using 6-pound test or less are in your wheelhouse, the Davy Knot is for you! It will appear approximately a quarter of the size of a typical 7 or 8 turn clinch knot.

I also like this knot when nymphing and utilizing droppers as it uses an extremely small amount of line, hence, preserving the length of my dropper and or tippet material. I also employ the Double Davy as well when either the targeted fish or line size dictate a knot with a little more oomph behind it, but still needs to be super small. 



A loop of line through the eye, an overhand and a pass back through the loop. Done. Another super simple knot that just plain works. More popular amongst bass anglers for whatever the reason but it will carry an application in most any freshwater situation.


Sometimes the best action of a given lure, fly, or bait can be achieved with free flowing movement. I will rarely use a snap swivel unless in a trolling situation or possibly jigging through the ice. This is where this knot comes into play. It is a fairly quick tie and with a bit of practice can be tied to achieve an incredibly small loop.
I almost use this knot exclusively when ice fishing for using tip-ups where as I want the most unobtrusive and free swimming vertical presentation of a live bait. I also like it in certain jigging scenarios where I feel the jig can benefit from free movement. It is a phenomenal knot. I highly suggest learning it.


Yet another stupid, simple knot everyone should know. Anytime line needs to be affixed to a reel just please use this knot. Especially on tip-ups where the possibility of being spooled is real. Perhaps you had a few too many brewskis and your flag has been up for an hour, low and behold the fish spooled your reel. No problem if you tied a good arbor knot!

Do not question losing all your line and the possibility of a fish of a lifetime. Use an arbor knot to for any line to reel connection.


Around Memorial Day weekend, the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program kicked off the boating season at more than 200 boat launches across the state.

Boat stewards are stationed at launches to help boaters, anglers, and other water recreationists learn how to check and clean their watercraft and gear for invasive aquatic plants or animals. The process is easy, free, and the number one way you can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasives like hydrilla and zebra mussels.

Last year, the boat stewards surveyed more than 250,000 boaters and assisted at multiple fishing tournaments. This year, they will not only return to many familiar locations, but also to expand the program with some new launches. Look for the blue vests to find the stewards working hard to teach boaters how to inspect their watercraft and equipment.

Please be respectful of the stewards. This process is not an inconvenience. They are doing essential work during challenging times, and the DEC asks that you help them out by arriving at launches with your watercraft already cleaned, drained and dried and that you practice social distancing while wearing a mask. Their work benefits everyone who enjoys our lakes and rivers.

In keeping with the trend of boating, anyone who frequents Lake George should take note. The gates at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Lake George will be closed overnight this boating season as part of the Lake George Park Commission’s (LGPC) Boat Inspection Program and DEC’s efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

As of May 21, the LGPC Vessel Inspection Team will be present at Mossy Point Boat Launch from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. to inspect boats, trailers, and equipment for the presence of aquatic invasive species and to educate boaters of the importance of clean, drain, and dry. The gate to the boat launch site will be closed and locked when the team leaves at night and reopened in the morning when the team returns.

A callbox is located next to the door of the Lake George Park Commission shed at each of the boat launches. Boaters who do not get off the water until after the gate is closed can use the callbox. Calls will go directly to the DEC Emergency Dispatch. A DEC Dispatcher will provide the caller with instructions for opening the gate. The callboxes were provided by the Fund for Lake George.


Five waters in the Adirondacks (DEC’s Region 5) have been or will be stocked with landlocked Atlantic salmon in the coming weeks. Ranging 2-6 pounds, the broodstock fish (used for spawning purposes) are from a hatchery operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Vermont.

Over 2,500 of these salmon will be stocked into Lake George, Schroon Lake, Moose Pond (Town of St. Armand), Taylor Pond (Town of Black Brook) and Lake Colby.
The bite of these large-brood stock fish has been nothing short of incredible on Lake George the last couple of weeks. Due to a colder than normal spring, water temperatures have been hovering in the low 60s at the surface and into the mid-50 degree range 20 feet down. This has Atlantics up in the column and actively feeding.


Whether it was via truck, barge or by air, DEC’s Fish Hatchery staff have officially completed this spring’s fish stocking.

To break it down:

  • DEC stocked over 4.6 million trout and salmon and 50 million walleye statewide.
  • Of those, over 50,000 got a lift in a helicopter and were stocked in 71 remote ponds, lakes, and rivers in the Adirondacks.
  • Hundreds of thousands of lake trout and brown trout made their way into Lake Ontario via a barge carrying a DEC stocking truck.

For a full Spring Stocking Summary for 2020, visit DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html.

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