Snelling and Pre-snelling Hooks
first id like to thank the new zealand kite fishing website, and power pro website for the illustrations.
When Bottom fishing, I like using snelled hooks. Not the store-bought snells, but home-snelled.
I like the snell because this method of attatching terminal tackle allows you to create a strong and straight knot that tightens up when you have a large fish on. When tied correctly, the Knot doesn't slip. Tying your hook directly to the leader also eliminates loss of catches due to faulty snap swivels. (I see way too many people putting a snap on end of leader and attatching a hook that way!) I also use almost exclusively circle hooks.
Circle hooks with a snell knot (one of the strongest and simplest fishing hook knots) were found to have the highest catch rate by a considerable margin and caught more than twice as many fish as either O'Shaugnessy and Octopus patterned hooks of the same size. The method of tying fishing hooks was investigated by an independent study group and a difference in catch rate between tying a circle hook versus snelling a circle hook was determined to be around 20% in favor of the snell knot. Besides improved catch rates, the snell knot takes only seconds per hook to tie. The resulting attachment is one of the strongest fishing knots around, whereas tying to the eye of the hook weakens the trace by as much as 40% (depending on the knot used and the skill of the fisherman tying the knot).
See the diagrams below on snelling a hook.
here's how I pre-rig, note, you must have both ends of the leader "open":
- First pass the trace through the eye of the hook from the front of the hook. Only pass it through about half an inch, maybe an inch.
- Hold the shank of the hook and the half inch tag end and wrap the trace around both the shank of the hook and the tag end 7 to 9 turns. keep them tight and close!
- Pass the trace back down through the eye of the hook from the back of the hook.
- Pull the trace tight while holding the hook to set the snell. There should be very little or no tag end protruding when the knot is set, but when first starting, it's normal to have a little left over. in fact, i do this on purpose, just incase I didn't quite set the snell tight enough. :)
If the hook curls up towards the trace you have snelled the hook correctly. It is believed that snelling a hook like this makes the trace act as a spring and improves the hook up rate and also prevents the fish from throwing the hook.
Here's how I replace a break-off using the uni-knot, only one end need be "open":
Thread about six inches of line through the eye of the hook.
Hold the line against the hook's shank, and form a Uni-Knot circle.
Make five to seven turns through the loop and around the standing line and hook's shank.
Tighten by pulling the standing line in one direction and the tag end in the other.
You can also snell multiple hooks in tandem:
Once you have perfected snelling a hook, it is very simple to make up a two hook trace.
Simply snell the first hook on, then pass the end of the trace through the back of the second hook and you're ready to snell the second hook on.
Set the distance between the hooks at about two thirds of the length of the bait fish you intend to use before snelling the second hook (if you want two hooks in a large bait) or any distance if you just want multiple small baits... better for one big bait though!
When tying a two hook "pilchard rig", it has been found found that keeping the hooks in line further improves both your catch rate and the ability of the rig to hold soft baits and/or live baits.
If using whole baits, put one hook through the head and the other hook through the body behind the gut cavity and make sure the second hook goes around the spine of the bait fish.
(The head of the bait should be on the bottom hook.)
A quick word on the uni-knot:
The uni knot was developed by Vic Dunaway as a knot that a fisherman could, in all certainty, use for nearly any situation. illustrated above for snelling
attatching terminal tackle
even splicing lines or attaching a leader to braid.
just remember to wet the knot before tightening!
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