The clinch knot is in my opinon a poor knot, and the improved clinch is often times weeker and also harder to tie.
Instead I use the uni-knot (known also as the duncan loop) for most of my fishing.
The other knot i use for smaller flies is a davy knot (the one ryan davey wishes he invented :rofl which is just a figure 8 knot. Its stronger than an improved clinch and takes less than 1 secound to tie if you practice alot, but its not as strong as a uni-knot. Hope this helps.
I have to diasagree with the improved clinch knot being weaker...and why harder to tie? ? maybe you have more experience landing those S.W. Steelhead..heh ...I've seen the pictures ? For me it (improved clinch) has been great for many number of years.
I Like the Duncan Loop/Uni Knot like you say.....I know the figure 8...aka Davy Knot..Huh? Just like flies...same flies but many number of names attached to them... at times!
The thing I'm trying to figure out is where all those flies end up. It's like they should be somewhere, right? But how many of you actually ever find them? I never even find the ones that other people lose, let alone the ones I lose. So, like, whazzup? Where do they go?
That hungry rock or tree in many of our waters has them? I know of one spot the Sky where you can catch fish but also you can lose flies by the galore ...(several a day)...because something lurks below...I believe a 100 year-old Fir tree...I just call him Muncher now! I always think I can outdo him but he wins more than I like to admit...and he helps the potential catch too at times
Well its just been stronger for me. The improved clinch is more complex to tie, so i guess it would be more difficult for a beginner or someone with limited dexterity, like i have when it gets way cold. Improved clinch will work, just not as well as others.
i agree that cracking the whip=lost fly on the back cast.
wet your knot with your mouth a little before pulling tight, an I use the trilene knot unless i tie a loop for a wet fly to have a bit more freedom of movement in the water. And your still cheaper to buy by the time you become a feather horder =)
Lets face it, when the dog sheds or you throw out those old stuffed animals and you bag a little of the material before it gets thrown out, your already too far gone =)
Maxima ultra-green + plain (not improved) clinch knot + plenty of spit = success.
That's all I've used for almost 36 years of flyfishing (actually, I'm not sure when the Maxima became part of the equation, but it's been at least 15 years or so... at least as far as my fading memory serves). This has been largely home in AK, often fishing much larger fish than are the norm down here and I've always felt confident with the combo's holding power and reliability. After a while, you learn to judge the optimum number of turns to the knot based on wire gauge of the hook and the diameter of the line (smaller gauge wire, finer tippet generally calls for more turns). Personally, I believe it is the line much more than the knot, and I ALWAYS use Maxima ultra-green for everything: from 10-12# tippet for AK silvers/steelhead (with many, many fish 15-20 lbs landed on 10# tippet with virtually no terminal knot failure) to 6# in the salt for cutts to 2# for midges and very small drys. Every time I use another brand (which I have only ever done for the very fine stuff) I am disappointed with performance. My .02
Variation on a theme. Maxima plus improved clinch plus wet = bomber knot. Am not familiar with the Davy knot but it looks a hell of a lot like a bowline with the loop created in the end of the line instead of the shank, and the tag end fed through the secondary loop created rather than the primary loop of the bowline. Just got out a piece of string and is same principle. Good knot. But seeing as how I've been using improved clinch since about 1965 and despite stiff fingers and eyes that need glasses I can do it by feel in the dark. Creature of habit, I guess.
I'm using the improved clinch. After seeing your responses I think some of the flies are being lost when I rush the back cast and some of them are being lost by improper knot tightening or too short a tail. I find that knot a pain to tie anyway though, so I'm going to try working with some of the other ones to see what works best for me. The Davy looks like a really easy one to learn.
From your description, it doesn't sound like the cause of your lost flies has much to do with the type of knot you use, although it might be due to the way you tie it.
Despite others' low opinion of the clinch knot, I've been using it for years and have rarely had one fail. Andy's figure 8 knot is an easily-learned alternative.
A sure sign of a failed knot is that the end of your tippet will be curly, with a tight turn or two at the very end, like a pig's tail. If that's the case, then you should review your knot tying procedure.
If you're confident you've tied the knot well, test it by hooking a hemostat on the bend of your fly's hook, hold the tippet in your opposite hand and pull hard. If it holds (or the tippet breaks), then the knot is not your problem.
Many beginning fly casters lose flies by not pausing slightly between the end of their back cast and before starting their forward cast. The resulting 'whip-crack' described earlier in this thread will pop off a fly no matter what type of knot you use or how well it's tied.
To tell how long the pause should be, look back over your shoulder during your back cast to watch the line loop unfold. Start your forward stroke just as the back loop has almost straightened out. As a rule of thumb, the length of the pause should increase in proportion to how much line you have in the air.
Over the last year or so, I couldn't keep a fly on my line to save my backside. When I first started flyfishing, about two years ago, I was whipping the line that I would crack them off. different knots are not going to help this at all. Going with thicker/heavier tippet is also not worthwhile as this can lead to not catching any fish. I don't know how long you've been flyfishing for, but don't rush the cast. Be gentle, you're not fighting the rod. Also, I've been fishing 6x tippet with as big as a size 8 fly. I use a knot called a turtle knot. It's been scientifically proven to work better than any other knot. It's so easy to tie, you can almost do it in the dark without seeing the line. Also, it allows you to tie a knot with almost no line loss. A friend of mine taught me the knot and I swear it's the best one out there. I've pulled in a 25-28 inch fish from Rocky Ford that I accidentally tail snagged using 6x tippet with a size 12 fly. If you want to learn how to tie this fly, email me. I might be able to do a quick movie on my digital camera and email it to you. It's so simple, you'll be amazed.