In fishing, as in life, there are consequences to your actions. If you are constantly finding that your fishing knots are coming undone, then you may be causing that to happen by cutting the tag end of your fishing knot too short. How short should it be? That’s exactly what you’re going to discover in this article.
Let’s back up a little bit and first give some definitions.
When tying a fishing knot, the “Main Line” is the end of the line that connects to your fishing reel. So this is the bulk of your fishing line. You obviously don’t cut this end of the line, or you will have cut the knot you just tied clean off your line.
The “Tag End” is the short end of the fishing line that is left over after you tie a knot.
Now you could just leave the tag end as long as it is after you tie your knot and forget about trimming it altogether to avoid mistakes. But unfortunately a tag end that is too long can cause a whole new set of problems. The extra line gives your knot additional weight, as well as cause unnecessary drag in the water that can alert fish to your presence.
So as you can see, leaving the tag end untrimmed is not recommended.
My suggestion then for the tag end goes back to the basic principles of tying a fishing knot:
Tie your knot with the correct number of wraps required for the type and weight of fishing line that you are using.
Ensure that you lubricate the knot well prior to tightening it down. Using soap, rather than saliva is recommended, as it will not eat away at your line. You should keep a small squeeze bottle of dish soap in your tackle box for this purpose.
Tighten your knot properly. Using a small pair of pliers can help you tighten the knot evenly and securely. I keep a pair on a retractable cord on my fishing vest for this very purpose.
If you tighten your knot securely it will not slip and you can leave a short tag. A tag end of 1/16″ to 1/8″ on a securely tied knot is sufficient.
So as you can see, you may in fact have an issue with your knot tying technique, rather than the length of your tag end, that is causing your knots to come undone. Tighten it down properly and your fishing knots will never slip again.