Fishing The Fly Scotland Forum

Fred Hay

Knots for droppers !!
« on: 23/06/2022 at 05:27 »
Reading the Lochtor report this week I note there is mention of anglers having breakages - I'm one of them !!!
It's something I've not been too bothered with in the past when using nylon but since having a go on 'stillwaters' and changing to both fluorcarbon and copolymer I seem to be getting broken on a regular basis and it's frustrating to say the least ......
Any recommendations for dropper knots which are close to the breaking strain of the line ??
At the moment I'm using anything from 6lb up to 11lb breaking strain i.e. butt end of cast 11lb or 9lb, dropping down to 8lb, 7lb or 6lb to make up a cast with either 1 or 2 droppers.
I've tried Airflo G3 and G4 Sightfree, Berkleys  Trilene plus a few others and am now trying Seaguar Riverge ....all with the same result lost fish on the dropper.
I've tried quite a few knots Double Blood, Grinner, Surgeons and follow all the usual methods slow pull to close and wetting the knots but still having a problem although the Double Surgeon seems to be the best so far.   
Any thoughts ..... or is it just me playing the fish too hard - any advice would be appreciated.

Mike Barrio

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #1 on: 23/06/2022 at 09:59 »
G'morning Fred

I feel your pain. I can't remember the last time I got broken, but I must confess that I don't fish for rainbows very often and I do tend to fish a single fly most of the time.

When I do fish a dropper, I use the old school 3 turn water knot and yes, the usual methods of slow pull and wet.

In my experience, knots and leaders/tippet have always been very much down to personal preferences, and confidence. What works for one person, doesn't always work for another, and when you find something that works for you - it's usually a good idea to stick to it.

I'm sure you'll receive more replies from others with their own personal preferences  :z16


Eddie Sinclair

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #2 on: 23/06/2022 at 18:17 »

I fish seagar when using a team of buzzers/nymphs on the limestone lochs. I use a four turn water knot well moistened and don’t have issues with breakage. However on previous posts I have read many people have bad experiences with this material but it works for me.


James Laraway

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #3 on: 24/06/2022 at 22:28 »
4 turn water knot for me every time. Most reliable cast for me 6lb Berkley Trilene mono. Saying that I have been using 8lb daiwa sensor mono and although it thick it's nice and stiff and bomb proof.( And much cheapness!!!)

Fred Hay

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #4 on: 25/06/2022 at 06:17 »
Thanks for the feedback - I have tried water knots but only in 2 and 3 turns - next time I'll give it an extra turn for luck and that will make it up to 4 and meet your recommendation and see how that works.
Incidentally it's not the main leader that been breaking - only the dropper .......

Rgds Fred

Terry Coging

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #5 on: 26/06/2022 at 07:56 »
I use the four turn water knot too.  Mainly on Seaguar ace hard and have no problems with droppers breaking.
Just two observations about this knot - 1, some people use the dropper upside down to help it stand out better. This creates a stress raiser and can easily shear off.
2. After a lick and drawing the knot slowly together I stop before the final tightening - when the loop  is about 2mm, then assist the final tighten by simultaneously pushing the loop together with my thumbs. A final slow tighten and you have a good knot that has not been weakened by 'shear heat' or where the line is crushed at the acute turn - the four loops gripping better - like a nail knot.

James Laraway

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #6 on: 26/06/2022 at 12:19 »
By upside down do you mean the end left on the dropper being the one nearest the flyline Terry? If so that's the one I have always left on 😆

Fred Hay

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #7 on: 27/06/2022 at 05:28 »
Thanks Terry that's exactly what I've been doing (but not used a 4 turn water knot) and like James use the end nearest the fly line to hopefully make the dropper stay away from the main leader to reduce tangles.
But I note your comments and try that.

James Laraway

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #8 on: 27/06/2022 at 09:32 »
Although I'm sure Terry in correct I've had very few breakages using the wrong end, even with salmon. I'll give the correct method a go and see if I get more tangles.
What end do other forum users use???

Mike Barrio

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #9 on: 27/06/2022 at 10:14 »
I'm with Terry, I remove the end nearest the fly line, as I have found this to be weaker.

The dropper fly will always twist around the leader in my experience, the only way that I have found to help to reduce this is to add a simple overhand knot after you have finished the water knot. The overhand knot doesn't need to be particularly tight, it just changes the direction of exit of the dropper. This does seem to work, and is worth a try, but I rarely bother to be honest. 

Steven Kidd

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #10 on: 30/06/2022 at 21:59 »
Yep, 4 turn water knot for me and I fish droppers alot on the river, (copoly) and on stillwaters (fluoro).  I always nip off the end that sticks out perpendicular to the knot, the end nearest the tapered leader / fly line.

Never had a problem.......always wet and pull slow with fluoro, but never wet copoly.

Hope this helps, works for me.


Sandy Nelson

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #11 on: 01/07/2022 at 14:10 »
Never had a problem.......always wet and pull slow

I had heard that  :X2

But otherwise if using a dropper I do it exactly as Steven does and use the tag end that points away from the flyline to reduce the stress on the knot.

Fred Hay

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #12 on: 02/07/2022 at 07:32 »
Thanks all for your responses - the consensus seems to be for a 4 turn water knot with the tag on the farthest side from the fly line to be left in situ and with possibly an overhand knot to keep the tag more perpendicular to the leader.
In the past I have always retained the tag nearest the main fly line to try to keep the dropper fly from tangling with leader but can see the logic in that that might weaken or put a stress point on the knot.
So lots to consider going forward and to try and here's hoping it solves my problem.
The only comment I could not understand was from Steven when he suggested NOT to wet the knot when using copolymer - again it's something I have always done to lubricate the 'line' and reduce friction when tightening the knot and I can't see me changing that .........

Steven Kidd

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #13 on: 02/07/2022 at 22:17 »
Trust you Sandy..... :X1

Not wetting Copolymer was something I learned somewhere, cant remember where to be honest, but I have just run a google and found this:

To Wet The Knot Or Not?
One of the more enduring myths, sadly perpetuated in the fishing books, magazines and videos – still being published today – is the ‘wet your knot’ myth.

When mono lines were first introduced, they were thick and stiff. The line surface was, by today’s standards, very rough. Theory, (and it is just a unproven theory), was and in many cases still is,  is that pulling a knot up tight built up friction and hence heat.

Heat is a line killer. It reduces line strength markedly. Trouble is there is no evidence that pulling up a knot tight builds up anywhere near enough heat to damage the line.

Modern lines are more supple and thinner for similar breaking strains. They form into knots much more easily. The surface of modern line is very smooth, and has very little friction quotient.

It is because modern lines are thinner and more supple that you should not wet your knot – here is why.

The best method of tying a knot is to tie the knot carefully, ensuring there are no hidden line cross-overs. Then pull the knot up tight, slowly but firmly, allowing the twists to form-up properly. If you wet a knot there is a distinct danger of forming what is called a ‘liar’ knot.

A ‘liar’ knot is a knot that has not formed properly.

It looks the part, but its appearance is deceptive. Saliva allows the twists and turns to slide over themselves as the knot is tightened. Deep within a liar knot a piece of line has crossed over another piece. This will act like a scythe when the knot is jerked tight.

Tie And Re-Tie

A knot, any knot, is the weak link in the fishing system chain. Any knot reduces the breaking strain of the line, when it is first tied. Hook into a couple of good fish and the knot reduces the breaking strain further.

Fishing line is designed to achieve maximum strength in a straight pull. A knot by its very nature changes the direction of the pull. Each pull on the line reduces line strength at the knot.

It is a pain, especially in the midst of a good bite, but it is good practice to re-tie knots after landing, or losing a good fish. This is especially true when fishing lines of less than 10 kilo breaking strain. It is imperative to re-tie a knot that has secured any part of your terminal tackle to a snag to line-breaking point.

Just as important is to re-tie all knots before starting fishing. A knot left tied from the last fishing trip is a time bomb waiting to lose you the fish of a lifetime.

This article first appeared on Fish with Bish from New Zealand* written by Tony Bishop


Steven Kidd

Re: Knots for droppers !!
« Reply #14 on: 02/07/2022 at 22:20 »
I find Copolymer right slippery and therefore always tuck my blood knots,

But I don't tuck my knots with fluorocarbon and i always wet the in my head the more complex the knot with fluoro, the more risk it cuts through itself,  :z8



Barrio Fly Lines - designed in Scotland - Cast with confidence all over the world

Barrio Fly Lines -

At the heart of your fishing - lies a great fly line!

Designed in Scotland - Cast with confidence all over the world