The Orvis Animated Knot Series can help you find the knot that works best for you.
The $60,000 question for many anglers is, “Which knot should I use to connect the fly to the tippet?” We all want the strongest possible connection we can get because the sickening feeling of breaking off a big fish can ruin a day on the water. Ingenious tinkerers have come up with many different knot options over the last 25 years—although how many of these “new” knots already existed is unknown—and basement scientists have spent thousands of hours testing knots against each other, under all kinds of conditions. And if you survey all the testing results and articles on the subject, you come up with one conclusion…that the evidence is inconclusive.
The problem is that—unless the tester has a huge budget, unlimited time, and tons of highly sensitive equipment—there is no good way to test knot strength under real-world conditions, nor is there any way to guarantee that every tested knot is tied equally well. Some knots perform better dry than when they are wet, while others work better with certain tippet sizes or materials than with others. Anecdotal evidence abounds, of course, and it usually involves a knot’s “inventor” explaining how his method for twisting monofilament outperforms all others.
There is one fact about knot strength that is irrefutable: the strongest knot (of any kind) is a well tied knot. Even if you have been using a knot that is supposed to be the strongest ever, if it’s poorly tied, it won’t hold. So, choose one that you have confidence in, for any reason that makes sense to you, and learn to tie it perfectly every time. Maybe some knots work better for your fingers, or others just make sense to you; it doesn’t really matter. As long as you can tie it correctly and exactly the same every time, you can always have confidence in your connection.