How to tie a loop knot
  |  First Published: December 2015

Following on from last month’s Palomar Dropshot Knot – the loop knot that we introduced this month are also members from the group of ‘presentation’ knots.

Recent History

Way back in the 1980’s, loop knots were used before crimps (i.e. crimps for mono type leaders, the type sometimes known by their brand name as Jinkai) became readily available. These days’ crimps are commonly used as the preferred connection mechanism for both bait rigging and the rigging of hooks into skirted lures. The loop knot however is still the option of choice for connecting a minnow (or plug) style lure, particularly a bibbed lure, especially to a stiff leader material.

To Loop or Not To Loop

I’ve made sure to use the descriptor of ‘stiff leader’ because, instead of a ‘permanent’ loop knot, some anglers prefer to choose a supple leader and use a snugged knot like a uni-knot in order to tie to a solid ring in front of some styles of lures and/or they’ll simply use a snugged uni-knot if they are using a low breaking strain leader that is made from supple mono.

The ‘permanent’ loop knot does give away a little in breaking strain percentage to the snugged uni-knot; however when the loop knot is tied in heavier breaking-strain leader than that of the mainline, which is often the case, then the lower breaking percentage of the loop knot is most often not a problem. Thus, in such cases, the overall system still creates a connection where the connection (i.e. loop knot) has a greater breaking point than that of the mainline.

Most importantly, a loop knot allows the lure to have a better action through a wider range of retrieve (or troll) speeds and thus all other things being equal (including leader diameter and type) the theory maintains that you’ll get more strikes with hard-bodied lures when using a loop knot.

Making a loop knot connection to a fly or lure can allow the lure to have more action in the water, which will hopefully attract more strikes. A loop knot is also an alternative to clips and/or split rings at the tow point of the lure –for example, it’s a great option for lures that have northern-hemisphere freshwater grade split rings and/or clips, especially if you are using the lure for saltwater or Australia’s bigger, more powerful freshwater species. Simply ditch the flimsy terminals and tie a loop knot to connect the lure to your leader.

However, there are situations when a loop knot is not as desirable. Using as light a leader as possible includes tying fluorocarbon mainline directly to the lure. The concern here is that a loop knot would lower the system’s critical breaking point too much. The end result would be that any big fish you hook is then at high risk of being broken off.

The loop knot is not ideal in weedy areas either as you don’t want a weed catching knot (and its tag end) sitting so obviously 2cm in front of the lure.

Often very small minnow lures, such as those used for bream and trout, may benefit from being connected via a loop knot. Larger, heavier lures will often perform just as well with a metal ring attached to the lure’s tow point and a uni-knot tied directly to the metal ring.

On the other hand, if you are using heavy leader (particularly a leader that is made of stiff material), then an ‘open’ loop knot is often the most desirable option. A variation in the family of loop knots is to tie an ‘open’ uni-knot. This variation is a uni-knot that hasn’t been snugged down tight. Instead, there is a 1cm diameter loop left in the connection and, upon extra tension being applied (such as when a fish strikes), the knot will snug down in the wet line. There are no hard and fast rules with loop knots; you simply choose (or modify) the option that best suits your system.

Loop Knot Evolution

Years ago I learned a loop knot where the tag end made a single ‘turn’ around the main leader; however this knot has improved over the years. The original knot is known these days or at least referred to by some as the ‘original’ Rapala Knot. Subsequently, the knot was redeveloped by well-known saltwater fly fishing angler Lefty Kreh, and became known as the Lefty Kreh Loop. Rapala now promotes a newer version of the knot, which is a variation of the Lefty Kreh Loop. Some anglers prefer one to the other, yet there is no consensus as to which one is the better knot. May I suggest that you give them both a try!

This month we tie the knot that Rapala popularised on their packaging. Next month we will try the Lefty Kreh version.

If you are really into loop knots there is also the Perfection Loop and the Homer Rhodes Loop Knot to perfect, as well as the aforementioned open uni-knot.

How to tie a loop knot

1Form an overhand knot in the leader. Then pass the tag end through the towing eye of the minnow lure.

2Next, pass the tag end through the loop formed by the overhand loop (obviously feed the working end into the overhand loop from the opposite side, to the side that the tag end previously exited from the overhand loop).

3While keeping the overhand loop open, wrap the tag end three times around the main-line/leader.

4Now bring the tag end back through the overhand loop.

5The tag goes through the middle opening of the overhand loop; it should enter the overhand loop from the opposite side from when it made the overhand knot

6Feed the tag end through the large loop that has just been created.

7Moisten and steadily snug tight.

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