First Tuesday Tips

Tip 7 : Here's What to Do about Wind Knots

(This is Tip 311 in Skip's book 365 Fly-Fishing Tips for Trout, Bass, and Panfish)

This First Tuesday Tip applies to Trout in Streams, Trout in Lakes, Largemouth Bass in Lakes, Smallmouth Bass in Streams, Smallmouth Bass in Lakes, Panfish in Lakes

First Tuesday Tips: Tip 7, Here's What to Do about Wind Knots'

Wind knots: the top one in tippet and the botton one in thick leader. Neither knot is yet too tight to easily work open. But casting and fishing will soon tighten both beyond hope. (photo ©Carol Ann Morris)

Knots that creep into your leader and tippet as you cast, “wind knots,” may or may not matter much. If I get one up high in a tapered leader and it’s become too tight to open, I usually ignore it—the leader up there is so much stronger than the tippet that the weakness created by the knot probably doesn’t matter. Of course, if I can work it open, easily, with the point of a large hook, or some other needlelike point or just by pushing the ends of the knot together, I’ll do it.

If the wind knot’s in the tippet—especially if it’s a really light tippet—I work it out if I can, replace the tippet if I can’t.

You’ll find that as your casting improves, wind knots occur ever less frequently. I just checked three rods I keep rigged for local fishing (and fish a lot) and couldn’t find one wind knot. To be honest, I was surprised—I’m certainly not above making a wind knot. But this does make my point: I’m a very good caster (not a great caster—I know some great casters and consequently understand the difference), so for me, wind knots are uncommon. When I started fly casting as a boy? I made wind knots the way a convenience-store clerk makes junk-food sales: steadily, all day long.

So avoid wind knots by casting smoothly and well, and undo them when you can. Replace hopelessly knotted tippets, and leaders. If a tippet is knotted tightly near its point, cut just above the knot, if that leaves sufficient tippet to do the job. But if a wind knot sets itself well up into the thick part of a tapered leader and won’t budge? Eh (shrug), live and let live, I say.

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