"there's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot." -steven wright

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Lesson in Humility (Gene, David's Dad)

Hey!!! I discovered a new tippet to leader knot that holds. This might not seem very important or newsworthy, but it will save me a lot of money. This is starting to sound like a Geico commercial, isn’t it?

The surgeon’s knot is the most commonly used tippet to leader knot. It never worked for me. I’ve lost so many good fish because of broken surgeon’s knots that I refused to use tippets at all. This meant that every time my leader got too short because of tying on different flies over time, I disposed of the old leader and used a new one. New tippets cost a few cents each. New leaders cost $3.50 to $7.95, depending on the type. I sometimes used two or three leaders a day.

The knot I now use is the Orvis tippet knot. If tied properly, the tippet will break before the knot, which means the Orvis knot is a 100% plus knot. In other words, I won’t lose fish because the knot breaks.

After extensive testing of the Orvis knot, I rushed over to tell my neighbor Noel about it. We’ve been winter neighbors for several months (in Sun City Grand, a retirement community in Arizona) but just recently began to get acquainted after discovering we shared a passion for fly fishing. Noel was leaving the next day to do some saltwater fishing at Rocky Point in Mexico, so I wanted to share this important information with him. I told him about the clever testing methods I had devised for testing line and knot strength. I was feeling a little pride.

Noel then told me that several years ago he had built a tensile machine for testing lines and knots, and that he had published an article in one of the leading fly fishing journals on the subject. His tensile machine had meters to measure the breaking strength of lines and knots. My testing method consisted of tying a surgeon’s knot to one end of a piece of line and an Orvis knot to the other end. I then connected the ends to two large key rings and pulled until something broke. The surgeon’s knot always broke first.

I will be more humble when I talk about fly fishing with Noel in the future.


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