Avoid the curly wurly!

Well my first trip on to one of the large Irish Loughs is over and back home to the sight of rain in our rivers and some silver starting to turn up. It was quite refreshing to arrive on to the shores of Corrib and be a complete novice, learning a completely new style and approach to fishing is always exciting and always beneficial to have in your fishing armoury.

We stayed with Basil Shields at Ardnasiilagh Lodge, this place is tailor made for the fisherman. Drying facilities, rod room, boat yard, comfortable rooms, good food and superb hosts. The fishing was tough enough, I think we caught the tail end of the mayfly hatch and the conditions didn’t help things with Sundays weather completely  putting a stop to our fishing. Despite that, we all managed a few fish, had a laugh and learnt a few new tips and tricks. Everyday is a school day when it comes to fishing, you are never done learning and when it comes to being in the company of Basil, there are little golden nuggets of info that come on a steady stream. 

Before fishing on the Saturday morning I had a good chat with Basil about tackle, he showed me his competition box, full to the brim with flies, spools, lines and leaders ready to go, the attention to detail was impressive! We got on to leaders, I have forever been a hater of all things fluorocarbon, I just don’t trust it! Basil insisted upon its use and made clear that peoples fear of it is from using the wrong knots and not looking after it. During the fishing the day before, Basil had analysed my leader setup at a glance when unhooking a fish, at the kitchen table he broke it all down and explained the problems with my setup, which I have used for as long as I have fly fished. The dropper was wrong but I will leave that for another day, the one  point that impressed me the most was the knot Basil uses for attaching his fly. It was so simple and yet genius at the same time, a single motion avoids a persistent problem many fishermen have (especially with fluorocarbon) and that is the knot slipping, losing the fish of a lifetime and you coming back with the dreaded pigs tail in your tippet or the ‘curly wurly’ as Basil called it. I have seen it many times, sometimes when you think your knot will do rightly, if you have left too short a tag end or if your eyesight causes you to miss the tuck, how many fish have been lost over the years to that?


Start by passing your leader through the eye and create an overhand knot, leave something to grab hold of as a tag. 


Tighten it to from what looks like a wind knot, we all know what they look like ; ) 


Proceed with your normal blood knot, Basil suggested five turns.


Bring the tag end round and pass through the small loop of line, make sure the small knot comes through the loop! 


Moisten the line for lubrication and slide it into place so the knowledge seats against the blood knot.


This allows very close trimming! 

I was amazed at just how simple this was yet instantly allows full confidence in your knot, no chance of slipping and when you need to rely on it, then you know you can put the pressure on the fish with zero doubt in the back of your mind. One point that was made was to make sure the knot is well lubricated and to make sure you DO NOT tighten the knot as tight as you can get it, DO NOT catch the hook on a jacket d ring and pull tightly, just seat the knot in place and allow it to tighten underwater when the fish takes.  Its often these small margins that make the difference between getting that dream fish or breaking off.

This was just one of the many tips I picked up this weekend, its these small pieces of information that make listening to experienced anglers worthwhile, you are never done learning in the fishing world and I am looking forward to seeing what Basil has to show us on our next podcast session. If you havnt’t seen it yet, check out his episode on FishingREAL, he touched on knots in there but the next time it will be much more detailed.

Give this knot a try, it takes a bit of playing about with to get the stop knot seated in the right place.