Friday, August 10, 2012

Snell Knot

The snell knot is the strongest knot I currently know although it is limited because it can only be used on hooks. It relies on the knot squeezing the hook shank thus it will not work with tackle such as swivels. The snell knot is so strong because it squeezes against a wider surface area and doesn't cut into itself like other knots that are tied onto the hook eye.

Typically we snell our hooks when catfishing with circle hooks. You can snell other types of hooks but I'm going to focus on circle hooks here. Not only is this knot super strong but it contributes to the hook setting of circle hooks. Circle hooks are designed to be tight lined, when a fish takes off with your bait the hook is rolled around the corner of the fishes mouth hooking the fish. Since the snell knot isn't tied to the eye, the line is instead passed through the eye. This helps the circle to roll even better because of the angle at which the line pulls on the hook. When you have a completed snell knot on a circle hook, try grabbing the hook as if your hand was the fishes mouth and try to pull the hook straight up. You will notice the hook will try to roll when coming out. This will still work with other knots, such as a palomar, but works best with the snell.

So I was doing some research on how other people snell hooks and I found that there are a wide variety of ways. After trying various methods I determined that most could be categorized into two categories, a small loop and a big loop method. Here's how to tie both methods.

First the small loop method. I like to start with at least 2ft of line, you can always shorten your leader if it ends up to long. Start by passing 6-8 inches of line through the eye of the hook along the shank, It's very important that you pass the line though away from the hook point. This gives the proper angle to the line that promotes circle hooks as mentioned before.

 Next make a small loop and pinch it against the hook shank.

With the tag end, make 6 to 8 wraps around the hook shank and line. Ensure that your wraps stay uniform by pinching them with your thumb. Finally bring the tag end through the small loop you created, either direction will work, and pull the main line tight. That's it, your done.
Now for the big loop method. I use 2ft or more of line for this method also. Start by passing an inch of line through the eye in the opposite direction as the small loop method.
Next form a big loop with the entire length of the leader and pinch it together on the shank.
If the line has memory like mine it will bunch up and that is fine.
Then take the loop on the eye side and wrap it around the shank and line 6 to 8 times.
Ensure the wraps are uniform and pinch them to the shank with your thumb. Finally, pull the line sticking through the eye all the way through until the knot tightens. Make sure you keep good pressure on the wraps with your thump until it is pulled all the way tight.
Of these two methods I prefer the big loop. I find it easier to form a perfect looking snell with this method. Also the small loop version can sometimes be very difficult to cut off your hook but this could be looked at as a good or bad thing.

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