Every angler has a favorite knot or two, and plenty of arguments could be had about which is best for various situations. We won’t jump into that debate right now. Instead we’ll look at a handful of things that can help you tie more dependable knots of any kind.

Spit on It

You’ve seen folks mouth their knots for a moment before tightening them and may have wondered if that really makes a difference. It does. A bit of lubrication helps you cinch the knot correctly and in some instances prevents the line from cutting itself.

Even Steven

When a knot can be tightened by pulling more than one strand, as it the case with a polymer knot and with most line-to-line connections, always choose that option and pull all strands slowly and evenly. That allows the knot to tighten much more evenly, and a more even knot is a stronger knot.

Slow Down

Line expert Hiro Naito often talks about the importance of “seating” a knot, which refers to allowing each wrap to find its place in the knot. This is accomplished by holding steady pressure on the strands for about 30 seconds when you tighten a knot. It feels like you’re not doing anything and are wasting time, but the end result is a stronger, more stable knot.

Trim It

Far too many otherwise good knots have shaggy loose ends. With a terminal connection, the only real consequence is a bit of added line visibility. For line to line connections, though, a poorly trimmed knot catches in rod eyes, robbing significant casting distance and potentially causing quicker knot wear.

Don’t Settle

We all occasionally tie a knot the ends up cinched in the split ring opening, doesn’t tighten quite right or simply sits kind of crooked and doesn’t look right. Ever eager to get back to casting, we can easily be tempted to accept an iffy knot and hope it won’t matter. While the flaw indeed might not show itself, it also might result in a lure that doesn’t run right, unexpected abrasion or even a knot that slips, none of which have happy endings for a fisherman. If you’re not 100 percent happy with a knot, it’s always worth taking the time to cut it and tie it again.