Video: Why NOT to Improve Your Clinch Knot

The clinch knot must be the most written-about, talked-about, and argued-about knot in fly-fishing history. Topics have included: Is it really the strongest knot? How many wraps provide optimal strength? Should you always “improve the clinch knot?”

In this video, Joe Rotter from Red’s Fly Shop, makes his case for a plain, old UN-improved clinch knot, which he says he uses all the time. In his view, the unimproved knot seats better, which is the key to consistent performance. He employs eight wraps, which is more than I’ve ever used.

I’m a six-wrap guy. But then again, on any hook larger than a 12, I always improve. However, I’ll wager that Joe fishes a heck of a lot more than I do, so who am I to doubt his findings? This video is simply more fodder for discussion. What do you think? 

8 thoughts on “Video: Why NOT to Improve Your Clinch Knot”

  1. I live and die with the unimproved clinch knot. Couple of reasons, Black flies are chewing me into hamburg as I tie on a fly, the knot doesn’t resemble a 1970 volkswagon beetle, and it pulls apart easily when I wish to change flies, (because I have thumbs not a toothy jaw)

  2. I have used a four turn improved clinch forever, Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead up to twenty pounds and never had one slip. Also use it on Stripers, same story. On small trout flies it’s the Davy knot does the trick.

  3. I’m so with Joe on this one. I never have and never will use an improved clinch knot! I learned with the basic knot and that’s all I’ve ever needed.

  4. I had standard clinch knots pull out at unfortunate times, and have migrated to use the improved. However, I may take up the 8 wrap suggestion as an experiment.

  5. 8 turns? that’s twice as many as i used, back when i used this knot; maybe it’d be good with 8?
    You Know what IS good? a Davy knot

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