Thursday, April 26, 2012

Palomar Knot

When fishing, breaking your line on a big fish is probably one of the worst feelings. Knowing that the reason you lost that fish could have been your fault in some way. Whether it be tying a bad knot, failing to notice a bad spot in your line, or forgetting to set your drag properly, It's important to minimize these occurrences because those big ones don't come along very often. From my experience, the most common place for your line to fail is at or near the knot, thus having a good knot is key.

The Palomar knot is said to be one of the best knots in fishing. I've always herd this so this week I wanted to do some testing to see if this was true. But first, here is a quick lesson on how to tie the Palomar knot, or at least how I taught myself to tie it.

Start by doubling about 4-6 inches of the line and feeding the created loop through the eye of the bait, hook, or swivel.

The next step is to tie a simple overhand knot with the doubled line. I like to start by wrapping the doubled line around the tip of my index finger creating a loop holding it all together with my thumb. 

Once you have created the loop around your index finger, slide it off your finger and push the line ending loop through the newly created loop.

Next start pulling the overhand knot tight but not all the way.

Now bring the bait, hook, or swivel through the line ending loop.

Finally pull both lines tight making sure that the line ending loop is pulled snug all the way to the knot.

Now on to the line breaking tests. Previously I tested the clinch knot and how various tying variables of the knot effected its strength, I also determined that it may not be the best knot for heavier line. In my testing of the Palomar knot I used the same testing technique of slowly adding weight to a bucket that I used in Clinch Knot Part 2. I tested 4 different variations of the Palomar knot, 6lb test without lubrication, 6lb test with lubrication, 20lb test without lubrication, and 20lb test with lubrication. For lubrication I just used my saliva. For each variation I broke 3 lines to form an average breaking strength.The results were as follows.

6lb no lub. 6lb w/ lub. 20lb no lub. 20lb w/ lub.
5.0lb 7.0lb 23.5lb < 20lb
5.5lb 7.25lb 27.25lb < 20lb
7.0lb 7.25lb 30.00lb 25.25lb

As you can see with the lighter 6lb test, lubrication made all the difference maxing the breaking strength out on all 3 breaks. So with lighter line a properly lubricated Palomar knot proves to be an effective knot. Even so, I still prefer the clinch knot on lighter lines as it is quicker to tie for me and if tied properly can be just as strong.

The 20lb tests were a different story. Rather than the lubrication increasing the strength of the knot, it decreased it. This was because when I applied the lubrication, the knots became difficult to pull tight and did not pull together smoothly. With the larger surface area for the saliva to stick to the line gained too much grip. Maybe I was applying too much saliva, In the future I may re-attempt this test with a lighter coat of saliva applied each time. On a good note, the Palomar knot without lubrication on the 20lb test proved to be much more effective and consistent than the clinch knot.

In conclusion, the Palomar knot does trump the clinch knot in an overall perspective. One big advantage is the fact that there are less variables on tying the knot, like the number of twists applied with the clinch knot. This makes the Palomar knot much more consistent and an excellent knot choice for fishing, especially with heavier line.

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