To most anglers (and boy scouts) the palomar knot is one of the basic fishing knots. Fairly simple to tie and recommended even by fishing line manufacturers on their packaging. After this past week’s events I will not be using this knot any longer.
Since I was a pre-teen when I first became interested in fishing, I would use an improved clinch knot. I learned this knot tying technique at an outdoors expo that would come to Chicago every few years. Being self-taught anyway it seemed like a better technique than just a square knot or overhand knot. The hook, lure or swivel stayed on the line longer and stood up to tough fighting fish, since the more they pulled the tighter the knot became. It just made sense. As a result, I never had an issue with a fish breaking my line or falling off while retrieving the lure or bait.
Fast-forward to now and I figured I’d change things up a bit, maybe try other knot-tying techniques. I’m always up for learning something new. So I decided to try tying the hook with a palomar knot. I make my own detachable Carolina rigs for catfish fishing where I use a barrel swivel, bullet weight, another swivel loop for a stopper, and the hook
In order to try out the palomar knot, I used that technique on the hook only
I tried this at my usual fishing spot, got a bit hit on one of my rod holders, you can even see in the video below how the rod is bending and quivering but not rising up (automatic rod holder). I set the hook, and on the first turn of the spool I lost the fish. I brought the line in, and sure enough the hook was the only thing missing. The clinch knot held up fine.
Assuming I tied the knot wrong, maybe it was a frayed portion of the rig I made, etc., I cut off a fresh piece of line, re-tied the palomar knot again on a new hook and re-cast. About an hour later, another big hit like above, set the hook, and this time just setting the hook I could feel the fish pull hard and break free. Again, when I brought in the line, no hook, but the clinch knot was fine.
So, after losing two good fighting, what could possibly have been decent-sized fish, I learned a valuable lesson: no more palomar knots. I’m switching back to improved clinch knots (8 or more turns) for everything. If anyone has another knot suggestion or recommendation feel free to share. I’m always willing to learn and get better!