If you’re going to go fishing, you’re going to need to know a few things about tying knots. If you’re headed out after catfish, there are a few that will serve you better than the others. There was a time when learning the fine art of knot tying could only be accomplished with a book or by joining the Boy Scouts. These days, the proliferation of Internet video has made things a lot easier. With some high-speed broadband and some repetition, you can get the hang of all of these in no time.
1. Palomar Knot
This one is simplicity itself. A loop pushed through the eye of the hook and a loose overhand knot. It’s the perfect way to attach the line to the hook, while still allowing the hook to swing freely. Attaching the line to the hook might seem like a minor thing, but it’s the only real connection between you and the fish, so get it right.
2. Blood Knot
This knot is used for attaching two pieces of line together, which is handy because eventually your line is going to break and you’ll have to fix it. it works best with lines of similar diameter but will work with anything in a pinch. Mountain climbers like this one, so you know it’s strong. Just don’t get confused and go mountain climbing with fishing line.
3. Arbor Knot
Attaching the line to the hook is important, but attaching the line to your reel is important, too. The Arbor Knot is the classic choice. Do it right and you won’t see your line fly off down the pole when you reach the end of it. Properly executed, this will also allow you to reel the line back in when you run it out.
4. Snell Knot
This knot is what you want to use when attaching a hook to a leader. Catfish have a habit of doing some rough stuff to line so a leader can’t hurt. This one will also let you get better action with the hook. All things considered, it’s well worth learning. It will help you bring more catfish in the boat over the long haul.
5. Dropper Loop
This is the knot to use for attaching multiple hooks to a line, which is a classic catfish method. In some of the wilder parts of the world, people still toss twenty baited lines with five hooks each in the water when they go after catfish. That might be a bit much for you, but one or two extra can’t hurt. Learn this knot and increase your chances.
6. Bowline Knot
As the name implies, this knot is what you’ll use to tie your boat off to a dock or anywhere you’ll generally tie up. this one is really simple and hard to mess up, but you’ll want to learn it well. Messing this one up can be expensive and a bit embarrassing; you don’t want to be on shore watching your boat float away.
7. Rolling Hitch
This one is good for tying a line or rope to a round, smooth, object, like a pipe or rod. It’s handy for tying off your boat or leaving a fixed line somewhere. It’s especially good if you’re in a swampy area where you’re tying off to a stake or other fixed point that can be removed to make the knot collapse.
8. Trucker’s Hitch
There’s nothing like this one for securing stuff in your boat. As you might have guessed, truckers use this one, as well as horse packers and anyone who has to haul just about anything. It can be a little tricky to start with, but after you get the hang of it, it’ll be second nature in no time. It’s impressive to use tying stuff to the roof rack of your minivan, too.
9. Anchor Bend
Yup, you guessed it. This one secures the anchor line to the boat. There are few things as depressing as watching your anchor and anchor line disappear into the river. Well, diving down to retrieve it might rank right up there, but you can skip that if you tie this one right.
10. Square Knot
This is the knot you’ll want to tie in the very end of your pull cord on the boat motor, when it inevitably breaks. No need for anything fancy here — you can’t see it, but you need to trust it. The good folks here at Hook & Bullet know you’re not in the mood for anything complicated at this time.
Learning to tie knots is like anything else, it just takes time and repetition to get good at it. Invest the time and don’t let yourself get frustrated. Remember, the worse thing that can happen is that you’ll end up with a big ball of knotted line and you’ll have to start over. It’s happened to us all, so don’t let it bother you.