How do you attach your hooklength to your mainline? Unless you are one of a very select few anglers who use a loop-less water knot, I am guessing you favour the loop to loop method.
It just makes life easy doesn’t it. Hooklengths can be stored in boxes and on pins, meaning you can literally change them in a few short seconds.
But how do you actually tie the two together? In the past, I have always put the loop of my hooklength through the loop in my mainline, then passed my hook through the loop in my hooklength, before moistening the two loops and pulling tight.
Doing it this way, I have caught thousands of pounds of fish, and rarely encountered what I thought was a problem. But I recently found out that for all of my 12 years as a pole angler, I have been doing it wrong.
It was actually during the first round of our Pole Fishing pairs that the error of my ways was pointed out to me. Adam Richards came and sat with me, and as we were nattering away he was watching me get set up. I tied a hooklength on and he stopped me halfway through: “What do you do it like that for? He asked.” Thinking he was going slightly mad, I asked him what he was talking about.
He proceeded to show me how I should have been doing it. He threaded the mainline loop through the hooklength loop, then put the hook through the mainline loop, before moistening and pulling tight. I could see the improvement straight away. The hooklength hung much straighter for one thing, and Adam went on to explain, the knot is much stronger too.
I sat there and had a little moment with myself. Could I really have been doing it wrong for all those years? The improved presentation was the thing that was bugging me the most. The ‘new knot’ definitely hangs much straighter and makes your bait fall more naturally through the water, no doubt improving bite registration too.
How many tens, hundreds of thousands of pounds have fish has this cost me? How many times have I missed out on winning my section or framing by an ounce, or a pound, and this could have been the difference. I am getting angry just writing about it.
I have since discovered that I am not on my own though. I have spoke to top flight anglers who have also been doing it wrong for many years, and several more who did it wrong for quite a while before seeing the light. Lee Kerry and Andy May laughed hysterically at my plight, before admitting that they did it wrong for about a decade before they were put right – and both blamed their dads for showing them wrong as a youngster! I suppose that is my excuse as well.
Junior England ace, Bradley Gibbons also used to do it like me, until I showed him the light – and when I told him he got even more angry with himself than I did!
The problem is, even the most learned anglers are invariably self taught, and once you think you know how to do something you rarely question yourself on the subject again. It is taken for granted. Another example, as a relative beginner, I was told by a friend to hook bloodworm through the horns, I had been doing this for a year or more before I found out it was wrong.
There isn’t any quick fix I don’t suppose. The biggest lesson I took from the massively frustrating episode is that it should never be assumed that any aspect of ones angling approach can’t be improved, no matter how simple or basic it might be.