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Jim Cline of Akron, Ohio, asks about knots:

I tie my own tapered leaders using either blood or surgeon knots. Sometimes I use tied leaders from last year and want to know if these knots cause deterioration in the monofilament, reducing the knot strength? What knot holds best through time?

October 3, 2001

Q I tie my own tapered leaders using either blood or surgeon knots. Sometimes I use tied leaders from last year and want to know if these knots cause deterioration in the monofilament, reducing the knot strength? What knot holds best through time?

That’s a good question and one I tested out in the late 1950s. For some reason I can’t explain, I got interested in knots about that time (the Practical Fishing Knots book was a result of that). I tied 90 blood knots in two different diameters of monofilament. I broke 30 of them immediately and recorded the break strength. Six weeks later I broke 30 more. Then a year later I broke the remaining 30. I was most surprised to find there was less than 1 percent difference in the knot strength between those broken immediately and those a year later. Of course, I was careful to properly store the knots to be tested at a later date.

I later did a briefer repeat of that experiment with surgeon’s knots and found similar results.

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