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Rapala Knot - Convince Me I'm Wrong


JustJames

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I have been giving some thought to the Rapala knot, and have come to the conclusion that it can't do what it says on the tin.

 

The idea of the Rapala knot is that, by leaving a loop where the lure attaches to the line, the lure is able to move more freely.  But I don't see how this can be the case.  When  lure is being actively retrieved, the line is under tension with drag from the lure so that the lure is kept in one position against the line.      The lure wiggles the whole line as it moves.

 

I do not see how this is different to the action of a lure tied with a knot such as the uni (or other knot that cinches up tight to the lure).

 

I tried to find videos showing a Rapala knot in action with direct comparison to other knots but couldn't find anything.

 

So, is the advantage of the Rapala knot an element of faith or is there something out there to back up its claimed usefulness?

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I have heard similar allegations from @DerekD who will likely pipe up sooner or later.

I think this is definitely the case for lighter line classes. Heavier line classes 30lb and upwards, the loop might prove useful.

I for one will cinch up my lures (keeping in mind I fish 90+% plastics and light-ish tackle) except in the case where it is a hardbody (often I dispense with split rings as the thought of sharp ends rubbing against the leader gives me the heebie jeebies).

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I think for small lures, a loop "seems" to be best, but once you go up in size a bit, I think the benefit drops off proportional to the lure weight/size. One things certain, any knot is better than a rubbish snap swivel.

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Yet another example of somebody or some company presenting their opinion of a situation. We always have the right to make our own determinations. I agree with dirvin21 that the loop knot presents well. I fish a lot of large deep diving lures and they "swim" to the best of their capabilities when the loop knot is secured to the lure pivot point. I never use the split rings either. On the other hand, I don't use a loop knot to tie spinnerbaits directly to the leader. That's because a spinnerbait needs to work in a vertical plane.

bn

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My 10 cents. Probably depends on the type of lure. I always use a loop knot on diving hardbodies with a bib, probably because that seems to be the conventional wisdom (and it is recommended on the lure packet). The way i see it heaps of fishos have played around making their own lures. Many of these guys would have been curious intuitive types who would have put a fair bit of time into testing their prototypes in the backyard pool. Passionate anglers are always fine tuning their lures and retrieves. Almost everyone seems to use a loop knot. A Stumpjumper will still wobble away with a uni knot but maybe not as freely.

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The answers so far seem to back up the point that I have arrived at.

 

Please understand, nothing that follows is to be interpreted as me taking a pop at any person or any point of view.  But we have had somebody saying that a loop knot is useful for heavier line classes, and somebody else saying that the benefit drops off on heavier line classes.  These are both people who would outfish me every day of the week, but they can't both be right.

 

The broader point that I am making is that we are in the realm of received wisdom, the stuff that "everybody knows that this is the way that it is".  Even though that may not be the case.  As fishermen (and women), we are a pretty bad bunch at this sort of stuff because as humans, we are good at spotting patterns.  We catch more fish at full moon...or is it new moon, and at high tide.  Or do I mean at low tide?  So we see things that aren't really there.  Worse yet, we mis-attribute what we see.  If a certain location really does fish well at high tide on a new moon, we assume that other locations will fish the same way. 

 

And if I sound smug, I am not.  I am the bloke who has 2 fishing shirts, one of which consistently fishes better than the other.  And I know full well how daft that notion is.

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16 hours ago, JustJames said:

 I am the bloke who has 2 fishing shirts, one of which consistently fishes better than the other.  

So are you gonna let us in on that secret shirt. Help a few fishraiders do a bit better.

16 hours ago, JustJames said:

The broader point that I am making is that we are in the realm of received wisdom, the stuff that "everybody knows that this is the way that it is".  Even though that may not be the case.  As fishermen (and women), we are a pretty bad bunch at this sort of stuff because as humans, we are good at spotting patterns.  We catch more fish at full moon...or is it new moon, and at high tide.  Or do I mean at low tide?  So we see things that aren't really there.  Worse yet, we mis-attribute what we see.  If a certain location really does fish well at high tide on a new moon, we assume that other locations will fish the same way. 

 

Over time we hopefully get an understanding of what is driving those patterns. Cracking the code in tough conditions can be just as satisfying as catching a big fish. 

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1 hour ago, Ganguddy Goodoo said:

So are you gonna let us in on that secret shirt. Help a few fishraiders do a bit better.

Over time we hopefully get an understanding of what is driving those patterns. Cracking the code in tough conditions can be just as satisfying as catching a big fish. 

 

The answer is a 'tradie' blue and orange shirt, bought from the German retailer known for its 'specials' aisle.  Unbeatable!  And as the orange has faded to near white, the shirt has become more and more deadly.

 

The trouble with cracking the code is that you might report that at your fishing spot you consistently catch kingies on the runout tide, especially in the 3 hours after dawn on a full moon.  And that "code" may well be accurate for your spot.  The trouble comes with the over-generalisation, where I decide that the three hours after dawn on a runout tide with full moon is the code for catching kingies everywhere.

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I'm not convinced on the loop knot either, though i definitely don't have any authority on lure fishing. I just find it easier to do a fixed knot so just keep doing that. 

Always hear plenty of fishing experts talk about using loop knots for SP's. Then one day listening to a podcast with Bushy saying they designed the original squidgie SPs to be fished with a fixed knot not a loop knot. That's good enough for me. 

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I've used the Mustad Fastach clips in place of loop knots for a few years and haven't had any issues with them on everything from bream, flatties and tailor through to murray cod.

I used the smallest size 0 on 3lb leader when I fished a lot for bream and didn't notice any impact on the action of jackal chubbies or slim swimz plastics on 1/40 jighead. The big advantage is that you're not cutting the leader when changing lures unless it gets damaged.

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On 6/19/2023 at 1:45 PM, JustJames said:

And if I sound smug, I am not.  I am the bloke who has 2 fishing shirts, one of which consistently fishes better than the other.  And I know full well how daft that notion is.

I'd believe it, I'm sure I get more fish when I wear my lucky red undies, I'd love to understand the science behind that!!

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On 6/19/2023 at 1:45 PM, JustJames said:

The answers so far seem to back up the point that I have arrived at.

 

Please understand, nothing that follows is to be interpreted as me taking a pop at any person or any point of view.  But we have had somebody saying that a loop knot is useful for heavier line classes, and somebody else saying that the benefit drops off on heavier line classes.  These are both people who would outfish me every day of the week, but they can't both be right.

 

The broader point that I am making is that we are in the realm of received wisdom, the stuff that "everybody knows that this is the way that it is".  Even though that may not be the case.  As fishermen (and women), we are a pretty bad bunch at this sort of stuff because as humans, we are good at spotting patterns.  We catch more fish at full moon...or is it new moon, and at high tide.  Or do I mean at low tide?  So we see things that aren't really there.  Worse yet, we mis-attribute what we see.  If a certain location really does fish well at high tide on a new moon, we assume that other locations will fish the same way. 

 

And if I sound smug, I am not.  I am the bloke who has 2 fishing shirts, one of which consistently fishes better than the other.  And I know full well how daft that notion is.

Hi Just James. I doubt anyone on here would take offense at your comments mate, we're all used to the idea that fishing is very a diverse sport and that leads me to comment on your assumption that they can't both be right. There are that many diverse situations to consider, and there can be many more than 2 varying opinions. The best anglers are the creative and most imaginative, determined ones. They think outside the square and exert the determination necessary to turn a poor session into a good one. I am just grateful that we all share this forum and can both teach and learn from each other. Thanks for your contribution JJ, keep up the good work/

bn

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Great topic!!  In the last few years I have lost a few lures and fish using a loop knot as the line snapped within the loop, right where the line contacts the split ring.  Most of the fishing was trolling small hardbodies with 12lb leader, and living across from the water I was racking up long hours. This encouraged me to try tying directly using a uni knot. I definitely noticed a considerable loss of action with a direct tie.  I also noticed a loss of action when using soft plastics after I went off loop knots entirely as I hate losing lures and fish!!  I then noticed a significant drop in catch numbers and depth range so went back to the loop, only on hardbodies, and retie every hour or so and also after a couple of decent fish.  I now fish soft plastics tied directly with a uni knot as I don't believe the loss of action impacts heavily upon catch rates and I still believe the loop knot, no matter how well tied, adds a level of compromise to the system.

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4 hours ago, Toilor3000 said:

Great topic!!  In the last few years I have lost a few lures and fish using a loop knot as the line snapped within the loop, right where the line contacts the split ring.  Most of the fishing was trolling small hardbodies with 12lb leader, and living across from the water I was racking up long hours. This encouraged me to try tying directly using a uni knot. I definitely noticed a considerable loss of action with a direct tie.  I also noticed a loss of action when using soft plastics after I went off loop knots entirely as I hate losing lures and fish!!  I then noticed a significant drop in catch numbers and depth range so went back to the loop, only on hardbodies, and retie every hour or so and also after a couple of decent fish.  I now fish soft plastics tied directly with a uni knot as I don't believe the loss of action impacts heavily upon catch rates and I still believe the loop knot, no matter how well tied, adds a level of compromise to the system.

I don't entirely agree with you. Split rings are, in my opinion, a waste of time. I NEVER attach my loop knot to a split ring because they have 2 sharp edges where the metal has been cut to length. Instead, I attach my loop knot directly to the tow point of the hardbody lure. This allows the lure to move to its best capability. I tie soft plastics and spinnerbaits DIRECTLY with a uni knot because these need to "swim" in an upright (vertical) plane.

bn

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  • 4 months later...

Great discussion, guys. A bit offtopic but would like to hear your opinion on the following thought - using larger/longer loops. I fish with lures often, both fresh and saltwater. I am fully against snap swivells, lazy way to me that can impact the action of lighter hardbodies and even sps. I don't use loops, just a basic uni. I change lures often so instead of compromising my leader length upon every change, I simply cary a range of about eight lures, each attached to 90cm fluro leader that is attached to a swivel at the other end. This way when swapping lures I only lose the main line. It works fine, but taking care of all the pre-tied lures is a bit of nuisance. Also, changing them takes a minute or so. It's not much, but still. So my idea is to try a longer loop, similar length to droppers I am usually using for snapper, 10-15cm. This way I can get away with swivels etc. altogether. Simply attach my leader that has a long loop at the end to my main using a double uni etc. And then swap lures instantly as I can simply pass them through the long loop. Again similar to what we do with droppers and hooks etc. What's your opinion in terms of action and strength? I mean the best way would be to try it out, but I am a land based fisho and it's not that easy to fully evaluate the action fishing from a bank/shore. Any thoughts? )

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1 hour ago, MikeP said:

Great discussion, guys. A bit offtopic but would like to hear your opinion on the following thought - using larger/longer loops. I fish with lures often, both fresh and saltwater. I am fully against snap swivells, lazy way to me that can impact the action of lighter hardbodies and even sps. I don't use loops, just a basic uni. I change lures often so instead of compromising my leader length upon every change, I simply cary a range of about eight lures, each attached to 90cm fluro leader that is attached to a swivel at the other end. This way when swapping lures I only lose the main line. It works fine, but taking care of all the pre-tied lures is a bit of nuisance. Also, changing them takes a minute or so. It's not much, but still. So my idea is to try a longer loop, similar length to droppers I am usually using for snapper, 10-15cm. This way I can get away with swivels etc. altogether. Simply attach my leader that has a long loop at the end to my main using a double uni etc. And then swap lures instantly as I can simply pass them through the long loop. Again similar to what we do with droppers and hooks etc. What's your opinion in terms of action and strength? I mean the best way would be to try it out, but I am a land based fisho and it's not that easy to fully evaluate the action fishing from a bank/shore. Any thoughts? )

Try it out in a swimming pool where you can see the action/reaction taking place as you work it through the water column. The only obvious downside that I can think of is that a large loop may get snagged up in very gnarly sub-surface areas. Otherwise, the method seems to have merit.

bn

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I have always used loop knot on larger minnow lures for cod n yellas  lately on trout i have gone to some very small clips straight on the lure above the split ring or i take split ring off  lures will always work better on a loop than hard tied

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