With the advent of loop-to-loop connections from fly to leader, many fly fishers have gotten away from the tried-and-true nail knot. I've tried both (and other options), and among them all I find the nail knot to be the strongest connection with the least likelihood to “hinge”. My long-time tool to make tying the nail knot easier was an inexpensive small U-shaped channel that was attached to a nipper. It was great for years in fresh water, but only a year in the salt had the pivoting joint bound up tight in spite of being cleaned and lubed after every trip. I went online to dig up a replacement, and found the Duncan “Tailknott'r”.
The Tailknott’r tool is designed to facilitate tying the nail knot – and a total of 33, 34 or 35 knots, depending where you look on the Tailknott’r website. The first thing that attracted me to the tool is that it looks cool! It would not be hard to say it is patterned after a tarpon. Its lightweight cast alloy construction will not rust or corrode, and it includes lanyard loop, bottle opener, and a sharp recessed blade that makes quick work of cutting braid or mono.
There are too many descriptions and instructions to include here about the different knots the Tailknott’r will help you tie. That’s why they include a DVD with excellent step-by-step instructions. A video demo is also available online here.
Some of you are saying, “I don’t fly fish,” or “But I only tie a couple of knots. That’s all I need, so why do I need the Tailknott’r?” True – most of us make a couple of knots we know serve a number of purposes. The ease with which this tool makes it possible to tie knots that may serve us better for a given situation or purpose makes the Tailknott’r worth the look. I remember the winter days on the Salmon River in NY, with the temperatures well below freezing, tying and re-tying knots with my frozen fingers to make sure they didn’t fail to the monster steelhead I was sure to hook… I imagine there are others among us whose arthritis or other conditions make their fingers less nimble. The Tailknott’r makes it easy to tie knots to build custom leaders, attach a fluoro leader to your spinning reel braid, and connect your terminal tackle to your rig. The instructions include their own unique (and patented!) “Tailknot” adjustable terminal knot that has applications everywhere from the freshwater trout stream to the deep Gulf waters.
As with anything new, there is a slight learning curve to using the Tailknott’r properly and developing the right “muscle memory”. The directions suggest practicing eight times to get the techniques down. That’s easily done while listening to a KayakFishingRadio podcast!
The Tailknott’r is distributed online by Karscot Distributors, based in Vancouver, BC, and sells for $24.95 CAN. The current unfavorable exchange rate only cuts that down by a nickel to $24.90 USD, which is not inexpensive. The Tailknott’r is a quality tool with a significant number of uses that will improve the quality of your line and terminal tackle connections. Don’t forget – it looks cool, too!