Video: Quest for the Perfect Snell Knot

The quest for the perfect snell knot led us to the headquarters of Zing Fishing Tackle, in Wareham, Massachusetts.

Zing makes a wide range of tackle products found at retailers from WalMart to your local bait shop. Their line includes tube lures, spreader bars, snag hooks, dredges, popping cork rigs, and the distinctive chrome-plated, squid-shaped Zingamajig used for deep-dropping for cod and other groundfish. The company also makes a variety of packaged terminal rigs for fluke, cod and other bottom fish, all of them hand-tied in the Wareham shop and distributed throughout the country. If we were going to find someone to show us how to snell a hook, this would be the place. And find her we did in the form of Christina Welsh, who snells some 5,000 hooks a month. The accomplished knot-tier proved to be a good teacher indeed.

In the accompanying video, we take a look at the Zing facility, then go over the steps for snelling a hook, both with and without a vise. Snelling has long been the favored method for attaching a hook with a turned-up or turned-down eye to a leader, as it allows for a straight pull when it’s time to set the hook.

If you’ve never snelled a hook before, it may help to place the hook eye in a vise rather than hold it. This way you can use both hands to hold things in place while you practice tying the knot.

Here are the steps:

  1. Form a large loop in the line and pinch the top of the loop against the shank of the hook, where the standing and tag ends cross (if you are not using a vise, you can pass the line through the eye of the hook before forming the loop).
  2. Grasp one side of the loop and begin wrapping it around both sections of line and the shank, working towards the hook eye.
  3. Make 6 to 9 tight wraps around the shank. (The number of wraps depends on the strength of the leader; you’ll need fewer wraps with heavier line.)
  4. Gently pull on the tag end to close the loop.
  5. Gently pull the tag and standing sections in opposite directions to lightly tighten the knot.
  6. Push the wraps along the shank until they butt up against the eye of the hook.
  7. If necessary, rotate the wraps so the line exits on top of the shank.
  8. Pull the standing end of the line through the eye of the hook (if you are using a vise). Moisten the wraps and pull the tag and standing ends in opposite directions to firmly seat the knot. It often helps to grasp the tag end with pliers when tightening the knot.
  9. Trim the tag end and you’re done.

Now let’s do it without a vise.

  1. In this case, you can pass the tag end of the line through the eye before forming the loop.
  2. Again, pinch the top of the loop against the shank of the hook and begin making tight wrap around both sections of line and the shank, working towards the hook eye.
  3. Pull on the tag end to pull the loose line through the wraps and tighten the knot. Push the knot along the shank until it butts up against the eye of the hook.
  4. If necessary, rotate the knot so that the line exits on top of the shank.
  5. Pull firmly on both sections to fully tighten the knot.
  6. Trim the tag and you’re done.

Additional Information:

For more information on the Zing line of fishing products, go to Zing Fishing Tackle.

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