A North Idaho angler has tied up the top spot in a national competition for new fishing knots.
The Fish-N-Fool knot, devised by Rick Lawrence of Spirit Lake, was declared the season winner last week during the Knot Wars feature of the North American Fishing Club’s Versus Country cable television program.
Here’s the eye-opener for many seasoned anglers:
The Fish-N-Fool Knot tested stronger overall than the venerable Palomar knot, which has been touted for years as one of the best knots available for attaching line to lure.
“The goal in this year’s competition was to find something that could beat the Palomar Knot, and we did,” show host Steve Pennaz said in a telephone interview this week.
“We took a lot of submissions from fishing club members and Versus viewers; we tested and cherry-picked them down to eight good entries again this year.”
The trick to winning the contest involves performing well with all three line types – braid mainline plus monofilament and fluorocarbon leader. Specifically:
•Fireline, 14-pound, flame green.
•Trilene mono, 14-pound, XT Tough Red.
•Trilene 15-pound, 100 percent fluorocarbon.
The knots are tied with each type of line and tested on a machine that pulls the line and records to the fraction how many pounds of force the knot can withstand before the line breaks.
The Fish-N-Fool averaged an 18.56-pound break strength overall.
Lawrence said he was motivated to tinker with knots because, “for some reason, I can’t tie a decent Palomar Knot.” He said he experimented with different wraps and other variations of known knots and crudely tested them by hand-pulling monofilament line until they broke.
“The Fish-N-Fool is easy to tie, and I knew it was good, but I didn’t know how good it was at first,” Lawrence said. “The Fish-N-Fool knot works best with braid and mono and it’s close to the best possible knot with fluorocarbon.”
According to the Knot Wars tests, the Grinner Knot is slightly better with fluorocarbon line.
“The biggest challenge for most knots is the braid,” Pennaz said.
“We didn’t use Lawrence’s name at first on the show because he didn’t actually enter the knot. We found it on a Web site, so we told our audience it came from an unnamed blogger. Lawrence finally contacted us.”
“My knot is an old knot with a new twist,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t reinvent the wheel.”
Lawrence described the Fish-N-Fool knot is a variation of the Uni-Knot. Pennaz said it caught his eye as a variation of the Eye Crosser Knot that did very well in last year’s Knot Wars.
“The Eye Crosser had three wraps and Rick’s version had five, and proved to be stronger,” Pennaz said.
“I recommend five to seven wraps,” Lawrence said. “It’s a tick stronger with seven, but not significant.”
Said Pennaz, “That’s what Knot Wars is all about: Helping people learn to tie, refine and pick good knots.”
Lawrence, 53, said he lived in Liberty Lake for five years before moving to the Spirit Lake area. “I fish all over North Idaho,” he said, noting that he started making baits for himself and friends about five years ago, but he’d been “taking a hiatus” from lure-making until word started spreading about his knot.
He didn’t win any prizes from the contest, but the notoriety is resurrecting his fishing lure business.
“The Fish-N-Fool knot has the same name as my lures so my Web site ( www.FNFlures.com ) has been getting a lot of exposure because of Knot Wars,” he said, noting that he plans to step up production and get his baits out to stores in the next month or so.
Lawrence has been invited to demonstrate the knot around the area, including the Great Western Sportfishing Show on Sunday morning at the Spokane Convention Center.
“It was at the show last year that I learned how good the Fish-N-Fool knot is,” Lawrence said. “There was a guy with a line tester at the show and he was demonstrating how to tie the Palomar Knot and showing people how it was stronger than other knots.
“I’d been fishing with the Fish-N-Fool knot for a while, so we gave it a test. My knot beat his Palomar knot three out of three times.
“He was quite surprised. He said, ‘That’s a good knot you’ve got there.’ ”
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