Skills: The Palomar knot

A lot of folks use the Palomar knot for heavy lines and big hooks, and that makes sense, because it’s a strong, dependable knot. Fly fishers don’t often use the Palomar because it can be a bit bulky—it’s essentially two separate cords of line pressed together, so the finished knot can be a larger than other more widely used knots.

But now that it’s “streamer season” here in the West, when big browns are staging to spawn and the rainbows and cutthroats are staging behind them in hopes of stealing a few mouthfuls of eggs, the Palomar knot is a good option for bigger, heavier flies. I used it quite a bit this summer when throwing big streamers to pike using 40-pound mono bite tippets. The knot never failed (although, a couple of times, even the 40-pound mono bite tippet was outgunned by a pike’s toothy grin).

What I like most about the Palomar? It’s so easy. And, on these lower-light autumn days under blustery, rainy (or even snowy) skies, it can be tied largely by feel. Give it a shot the next time you’re streamer fishing, and see what you think.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.