Josh Douglas

Josh Douglas caught a smallmouth bass on a trip when he was a teen, and it ignited a lifelong passion for fishing. He competes on the Silverado Pro Tour and the Bassmaster Weekend Series among other tournaments, with an ultimate goal of competing in the Bassmaster Classic.

Making Sense of the Snell Knot or not??

Posted by: Josh Douglas Updated: August 17, 2011 - 3:07 PM

A month or so ago I received a email from friend with a link to an article titled, "Dispelling Snell Knot Theory?", by Hale White with www.FishStrong.com.

I quickly opened the link to see what kind of foolishness this was as I've learned from the best of the best touring pros that this knot is far better than any traditional knot that ties directly to the eye. To catch up any readers that aren't familiar with the snell knot that me get you caught up.


The snell knot is a knot that goes through the eye of a straight shank hook and then wraps and fastens around the actual shank of the hook. There is numerous reasons why anglers would choose to employ this particular knot but its greatest use would be for heavy flipping and punching. The selling points for this knot is unless you use straight shank hooks that have wielded eyes your guaranteed to loose a fish or two because the knot will eventually find its way through the seam. However the main attraction to this knot is its ability to kick the hook out when using a heavy pegged sinker.

After hearing all the buzz from pros and seeing the "kick out" myself I instantly made the switch. The snell was a bit difficult to learn to tie but like with anything practice made perfect. Soon I was teaching all my buddies how to tie the knot.

I'd say my hook up ratio did get a bit better while flipping all the milfoil that we have scattered across our Minnesota lakes, though I can honestly say that it was my worst hook up ratio out of any other form of bass fishing.

I didn't really give it anymore thought until I read Mr. White's article. I just assumed that it was a true combat style of fishing and that lost fish was part of the norm. I'm not going to get into to much detail as to why his article stuck into my brain so much as I'd prefer you visit his website and read the article for yourself, snell knot theory.

What I will tell you is what I read got my wheels spinning, which is exactly what the author wanted. Every theory made sense and in fact showed far more support for why the snell doesn't work than any so called proven facts of why it does.

This past month I ran a series of tests myself. I stopped using the snell knot and instead just tied a good ole' palomar knot directly to the eye of the Lazer Trokar Flippin' Hook (TK130), the baddest straight shank on the market. I was honestly surprised by what I found, I fish 5 days a week and my hook up ratio went up from 50% to an easy 95%. I've been using the same hook and same setup for over two years now, the only difference is the knot. Why would I take away from the advantages of the Trokar Flippin' Hook? Instead, I now will let the hook do its job, what it was made to do, kick bass ass!


As I said, I did notice a slight better hook up ratio once I started employing the snell, though in hindsight it was the switch to the straight shank hook that helped not the knot. The snell was actually working against me.

With this I leave you the same as Mr. White left me. I hope to not convince you but instead make you think, try for yourself and see what works better for you. For me it's a no brainer, the snell knot is a not!

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