A lesson learned

So, I was fishing on the St. Joe on Sunday afternoon. There was no hatch going on that I could see, but a number of fish were rising regularly.

The hopper I'd been fishing wasn't getting any love, so I tied on something called the St. Joe Special that I bought in St. Maries. As I was tying it on, the improved clinch knot got wrapped around itself a little, and looked slightly off when I tightened it. But it seemed solid, and didn't appear to slip at all when I pulled on it, so I figured it was ok.

I'm sure you all know what's coming next.

On about the third cast, the biggest trout I've seen so far (I've only been fishing a year, so it's probably not that impressive) came up and inhaled it. I only really saw its mouth (it was facing straight-on at me), and it looked like I could have put my hand in it. It's mouth was big enough that my first reaction was that it was a bass, but I don't think there are bass in that part of the river.

Anyhow, the inevitable happened. The fish took off downstream, utterly unfazed by the drag. After about 2 seconds, everything went slack. When I reeled in, my knot had unraveled and the fly was gone. Aaaaarrrrrrggghh.

Well, now I know. If you're not absolutely sure the knot is right, retie it. The extra 15 seconds it would have taken aren't worth the mental anguish of losing that fish.
jpa, you're not alone. Seems like I lose a fish or two every year (probably more that I won't admit too) because of bad or damaged knots/leaders/tippets. Sh*t happens.
I lost a good one this year at a hike in lake. Fish went straight down to the bottom putting a huge bend in my three weight when all of a sudden the line just went slack and the whole thing came back up at me. Popped off right at the knot and I was definitely not happy with myself.

Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
You'll probably never catch a fish that big again in your life. Anywhere. Ever. ; )

It's happened to us all. Now anytime I see feel questionable about a knot, I re-do it. When I find a wind knot in my leader, I cut it out and repair the damage.
We tend to get excited seeing and hearing a fair amount of fish feeding on the surface that we hurry up and neglect to check our knots and sometimes feeding the line properly through the guides.

I have been a victim of such circumstance.........many times.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
My trouble with any kind of knot is not in the tying of it but how long it takes me to tie it. I guess in my old age that my brain isn't telling my finger which way to turn the leader to make a good knot. And yes my knots also fail.

And that, laddie, is how we all learned!:)
Don't be too hard on yourself. We've all done it. Lost my biggest brown ever earlier this year because I didn't change my tippet after noticing a wind knot in it. AND I know better!bawling:
I had a fly I was using this weekend on and lost two fish on the S.F. Snoq. Everything came back. I put a different one on and started hooking fish. After I lost all my flies like that. I put the same one on. Had a 13 to 14in fish hit and played it for about 30 seconds and it came unhooked and I got everthing back. I know better. So I'm how tying more flies.