My knot was not good, lost a big one

Hooked into something biiiiig yesterday morning fishing the Boise River. Nearly yanked my rod out of my hand as my fly finished up swinging in front of a sunken tree. The fish took off and I heard a weird whirring noise that I later realized was the knot connecting my level line to my lillian coming undone. So. Bummed. Oh well. Need to figure out a better knot for the lillian. What knot do y’all use?

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Bad luck. It’s always a disappointment when that sort of thing happens!

Would you mind sharing how you attached the casting line to the lillian? Happy to share how I do it, but we also may be able to help troubleshoot the method you currently use.

Generally it is this knotting method

… In the video


I do it just like Oni in this video.

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I do pretty much the sane as the videos above. I no longer tie a stopper knot in the lillian. I haven’t had any issues yet with double passing the lillian through the knot.

Every angler I know has experienced this in one form or the other. It seems to always happen when you are
into a large fish. I have a friend that is a priest and he would say we are paying the Lord back for our sins. This, however, does not make one feel any better. Whenever I am in a hurry this is when I lose the line, fly, or fish. Try to slow down and double check your knots and line connections often when you are fishing. Hopefully, this will help with some of the problems but then stuff just happens sometimes even when you think it’s all good.

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Hmm, I can’t tell if your line was FC level line attached to the lillian with the usual sliding loop. Or if your line was attached to the lillian with the girt hitch as is common with a furled line, or lines such as the Fujino soft tenkara lines, which uses the same type of girth hitch attachment to the lillian. Or if you knot came undone or just slipped off the end of the lillian.

If using FC level line to keep the slip knot from coming undone I would recommend you use the double stop knots, as shown in the Oni video. If using only one stop knot in the tag end I have had the knot slip with a big fish, and the knot was only prevented from coming undone by the stop knot in the tag end. I did not lose the line, but it was difficult to remove from the lillian. Additionally I always pass the the lillian twice through the sliding loop before tightening the slip knot (or clinching knot if you prefer) as shown in this video:

Also if using FC level line, with the slip knot, if the slip knot just pulled off the end of the lillian, (rather than the knot itself slipping & coming apart) something you might consider doing is replacing the lillian with a thicker type of lillian. I would guess the Tenkarabum could get the thicker type lillian for you.

When using a slide and grip type knot, such as the Prusik or Klemheist knot, it is recommended that the Prusik loop is a smaller diameter than the standing line. (50% ~ 80% of the diameter of the standing line) so that it will grip better. I think that may be the same principle that Daiwa is exploiting with the lillian they use on their level line tenkara rods, Their lillian is much thicker than I see on rods made by other manufacturers. However, making that change would be a more involved step to take than just making sure your knots are tied correctly and tied tightly. You can see how thick the Daiwa level line tenkara rod lillian is on this website:

I think this is also a nice demonstration showing how to tie the slip knot in level line with two stop knots, but using a slightly different method:

If your lillian is long enough, and it is one some rods, but not on other rods, and you are attaching the line to the lillian with the girth hitch type loop on the end of the line. What I sometimes do instead of just sticking the lillian through the girth hitch loop, and tightening it onto the lillian. is I loop the end of the lillian around and pass the end back under itself. Essentially making a sheet bend knot. Bend knots are used to attach two lines together. If you look at this animated knot page, just think of the lillian as the blue line, and the girth hitch loop as the green line, that is then tightened on to the lillian after the tag end of the lilliian is looped under itself.

However, Dr. Ishigaki demonstrates the standard way of attaching the girth hitch type knot to the lillian in the Part 1 video on this next linked website:

Maybe this or previous recommendations will help. Beats the more boring solution of only hooking smaller fish. :open_mouth:

Speaking of Big Fish.
Whatever line to lillian knots Daniel G and Dr Ishigaki were using they worked well.

2018.6 北海道 Tenkara USA ダニエル & テンカラ大王 ビッグレインボー連発!
[2018.6 Hokkaido Tenkara USA Daniel & Tenkara the Great Big Rainbow barrage!]

2018.7 阿寒川C&R ビッグレインボー65cm
[2018.7 Akagawa C & R Big Rainbow 65 cm]

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Fish playing techniques protect knots.

In my view, knots, along with good tippet are secondary to good fish fighting skills.

I want the system to “let go” before I stress the rod.

I use basic knots, lillian twice through a slip knot, a surgeons knot to connect a short length of clear step down fluorocarbon to a tippet ring which many people don’t understand and I really like. I set up my system for the knot to break at the tippet ring every time.

That is my known weak spot.

I want it to break there when I need it to and I have learned what kind of pressure I can apply until it breaks.

For me, it’s about knowing that knot strength or weakness, same thing. Getting to know that same thing.

In no way am I criticizing your technique or choices.

I’m only letting you into what I do, compare, learn or comment.

It’s nice to have those thoughts on what we do.

That whirring noise?

Sounds like hydrostatic resonance on your line. It’s the waters friction on the tight line in the water. Someone said the hollow rod pronounces this vibration…

It’s cool when it happens, I know my rod is protected by the knot breaking strength.

The slip knot connecting line to lillian is the strongest knot in my system. I run the lillian through twice and I do not knot my lillian unless I am using a girth hitch attachment to the lillian to prevent it slipping through as a last resort.

Anyway, thanks for sharing.

Take care.

Hey thanks for your replies everyone @Flyfisherman88 @dwalker @Adam_Trahan @todoroki34 @russfx @arieger @Kookagee
Been out of town and disconnected for a bit, just reading all your replies today.

You were all right and intuitive of what turned out to be a pretty noob mistake on my part. I tied the knot in a hurry and was lazy. I think it was only a single loop slip knot, and I might have even been so lazy as to only pass my Lillian though it once. Ugh. Sometimes I get impatient with my poor unpracticed streamside knot skills.

Anyway, I went back yesterday morning and I CAUGHT IT. Prepared with a well done double loop slip knot, Lillian passed through twice, improved clinch knot on my fly. Not the monster I thought it was gonna be, but at 14-15" it was the biggest I’ve caught thus far on a tenkara rod. And @Adam_Trahan you were right about the whirring being hydrostatic resonance. Pretty cool! Big fish make the rod sing.

No picture, it slipped away before I could get my phone out. I’ll let it rest and go back later this month to see if I can fool it for a third time with the same fly and get a pic.


That’s not a noob thing…

Good for you!

I’m glad you are figuring it out, that’s the fun of it. All those lessons stacking up.

Thanks, Adam,
Part of my problem in many areas is slowing down. My son has this curse as well. I think the rod and line
could hold the fish but my knot attachment to the fly was lacking. I had just lost a fly on a bush and I hastily tied on another fly without checking or wetting the knot. Thus when I was pulling up the line by hand to retrieve the bass the knot became undone and left the curly tippet at the end telling me I had screwed up and should have slowed down. Having ADHD can be a benefit but sometimes it bites me in the butt as well.
Anytime you want to help me Adam (or anyone on the forum) please share information. I feel that is why we are on this forum. We help others, share info.and resources, and talk about our experiences in tenkara. I will not be upset with advice to make me a better fisherman or person. Thank you Adam…you are awesome.

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Thanks Mike.

I’ll share what I can and contribute to the knowledge base.

Take care.

Third times the charm. Got him. Put up a good fight, but I wised up and brought a net.


Nice fish!

That’s a beautiful rainbow you caught. Good going!

Beautiful rainbow!

Thanks all! I need to up my fish photo game, get my hand outta the way, make my camera less shakey…

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