A lesson learned

#1
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.
 
#2
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.
 
#3
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
#4
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.
 
#5
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
#6
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.

Jim
 
#7
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:
 
#8
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.