Improved Clinch Knot – Very strong, plus it is easy to learn and remember
by Allan Burgess
If my memory serves me correctly the Improved Clinch was the first knot I learnt to tie over four decades ago. It is one of those knots that can be used for almost everything. That includes tying on hooks, flies, sinkers, lures and so on.
I used it mostly for surfcasting and salmon fishing. With salmon fishing, in particular, you are always changing lures so a knot that is both secure, as well as being quick and easy to tie is a big advantage. I landed many salmon for years using only the Improved Clinch Knot. It is very easy to tie.
In fact, you’re better off knowing just one or two fishing knots that you can tie quickly and well, even in poor light, than trying to learn too many different ones all at once! When finally you do get a really big fish on your line your knots will always be the weakest link in the chain. If you put too much pressure on the fish something has to give. A well-tied knot won’t break until about 90% of the line’s breaking strain is reached, whereas a poorly tied knot will break at 50% or even less. If you are new to fishing get some cheap line and start practising.
The Improved Clinch Knot works well in monofilament and fluorocarbon. It clinches up much better with softer monofilament, particularly when using heavier lines up to 80 pounds.
Improved Clinch Knot in Braid
The Improved Clinch Knot is also a good choice for use with braided lines provided you greatly increase the number of times you wrap the tag end around the mainline. Braid is much more slippery than monofilament, so I suggest 15 to 20 wraps to increase friction and produce a much more secure knot.
When tying the Improved Clinch Knot in a braided line, take your time. Avoid having the wraps overlap one another which weakens the knot.
With braid, you can also pass the tag end twice through the eye of the hook at the start for added knot strength in which case you can use fewer wraps. Try just 10 or 12 instead.
The good thing about using the Improved Clinch Knot for braid and mono is that you don’t need to learn a completely new knot, you just have to remember to add more line wraps. The easier a knot is to tie the better. The best knot for joining braid to fluorocarbon or monofilament is the FG Knot which is both strong and at the same time very slim so that it passes easily through your line guides.
The only difference between the Improved Clinch Knot and the (ordinary) Clinch Knot is that the line is not passed back through the loop at the end of the tying process. The improved version is just as quick to tie.
One small drawback of this knot is trying to pass the tag end through a tiny hole at the top of the wraps next to the hook or swivel. Even more so if your eyesight isn’t that good. An easy way to alleviate this problem is to pinch the line between your forefinger and thumb about 25 mm below the hook eye and so prevent the twists in the doubled line closing the gap all the way up to the hook eye as you form the knot. This leaves a nice big gap into which to insert the tag end.
Always lubricate your knots
As with all knots be sure to lubricate it before cinching it up tight so as to avoid line damage. Use saliva or water. Keep the wraps in a line. You don’t want them over the top of one another in the finished knot.
I strongly recommend you give the Improved Clinch Knot a try. Practice it until you can tie it quickly without looking at your hands. It is one of the most useful fishing knots.