View Full Version : Knots

Gerry Romer
03-24-2007, 10:54 PM
Okay. I've just spent the past hour and a half testing myself on both the Pitzer Knot and the Davy Knot. Now, mind you, I'm sitting at my dining room table and not standing in the middle of a mountain stream so there's not a lot of pressure. Nevertheless, what I'm looking for is to find out 1) which knot is easier to tie, and 2) which knot lends itself to dropper uses. By "dropper uses" I mean which knot can be tied with an extended tag end that can be used to tie on a dropper.

I'm using a size 16 Adams dry with 7x tippet material - I told you I was testing myself!

With the 7x, the Pitzer is definitely easier to tie than the Davy. It's also quicker. It's also much easier to tie with an 18" dropper tag end. I suspect that with 5x the reverse is true. I can see the efficiencies of the Davy knot, just not with fine tippet material. As far as "quick", I'm guessing that in most instances of just attaching a fly to the tippet, the Davy Knot is quicker than the Pitzer.

Now for the dropper test. When you pull on the tag end of the Davy Knot, the knot pulls away from the hook eye. This might be okay if the fly itself is the terminal apparatus and you want to just open the knot slightly to allow for a more natural movement to the fly. But I'm not sure I trust it for dropper applications. If I'm gonna leave about 20" of tippet material hanging off the fly as a tag end to be used as a dropper line, I would prefer to have maximum in-line strength. The Pitzer Knot, on the other hand, doesn't open up easily when you pull on the tag end. In fact, if you feel the distinctive "click" when cinching down the knot, it won't pull open. And the Pitzer is easier to tie with 20" or more of excess tippett material.

But the biggest difference seems to be line direction. When I tied the Davy Knot with an additional 20" of tippet material for a dropper, the dropper line stays in line with the tippet and leader. When I tied the Pitzer Knot with the additional 20" of tippet material, the tag end dropped off the dry at a right angle to the dry. I'm not sure if this would have any impact on the "castability" of this kind of dropper rig or not. I can see where I'd want to use this combo with caution if I'm gonna be throwin' any weighted nymph rigs.

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of dropper rigs. I'm working on overcoming that and that's the main motivation behind these tests. Truth be told, I'd much prefer to fish only dry flies. But I also want to catch fish. So if finding a workable dropper rig means catching more fish, hey! I'm there.

Be interested to hear what y'all think.

BTW - Paula/Sarah been meaning to say thanks for the spellcheck;)


Paula Begley
03-25-2007, 08:31 AM
BTW - Paula/Sarah been meaning to say thanks for the spellcheck

I am so happy someone figured out what that was when your word is underlined in red...:)

Topic: Your dropper rigging is way too technical for me...I learned a trick from a guide in Montana a few years ago. That is all I use now. Bein' a simple girl an' all. ;)


Hugh Hartsell
03-25-2007, 10:04 AM
Gerry, I'm not sure, from reading your post if you are dropping your tag end off of the hookeye or the bend of the hook. It sounds like you are taking it off the hookeye. It works a little better if it is tied to the hook bend by tying a Pitzen Knot in the air and slipping it over the hook point and securing it down snugly until you get that little click. If you are taking it off the hook bend, you should not be getting the offset that you mentioned. It should line straight up with the bend of the hook as it drops down. From past experience you should be able to tie on the Davy Knot to a fly a little quicker than the Pitzen. However, if you are using fluocarbon tippet, you may get a failed knot because of slippage as compared to the Pitzen Knot. If you are tying a complete setup of a tandem rig with both knots, you will find the Pitzen to be slightly stronger and on strong hooksets you will have less failures with the Pitzen. For just a simple dry fly set up using mono tippet, the Davy is fast and very strong. Tie both knots with the same size tippet and place the hooks in a secure place with a 20in. piece of tippet material. Pull on each until they fail and see which holds better. I'm betting on the Pitzen.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

03-25-2007, 01:57 PM
I tested these two knots with 7X tippet and a size 12 hook (I didn't have anything to hold a smaller hook.) The Pitzen failed first. I didn't use scales but the difference was very noticable.

The Davy knot is stronger than the Pitzen but the Davy is not intended for droppers. I use the Davy for anchor ropes and tippet on down to size 28 flies with 8X tippet.

I fish my droppers off the bend of the hook like Hugh but if you want to drop it off the hook eye, I recommend the improved clinch knot. Just make sure you wet and seat it good and it should work fine. However, I don't recommend tying off of the eye because of tangling issues.

While we're on knots, here's a good streamer knot for freedom of movement..


Hugh Hartsell
03-25-2007, 03:33 PM
Rusty, I just did a test similar to what you did with 6X Frog Hair tippet and size#16 Hooks. I used two different tutorials for tying the Davy Knot. I got some mixed results, but it still concurs with what you got. The Davy Knot seemed a little stronger than the Pitzen Knot when using the Geoff Samples method of tying the Davy Knot,and about the same when using another tutorial. I'm not sure what this means, but I do think with two of us getting the same results, that it shows the Davy Knot might be the better of the two when used to tie on a single fly setup. Good test my friend.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

03-25-2007, 04:30 PM
Hugh, Zach Matthews has this knot on a podcast... http://www.itinerantangler.com/podcasts/2006/02/video_archive_how_to_tie_the_d.html

The knot isn't tied properly unless it has the figure eight. Just like the Pitzen knot isn't tied properly unless you have that click at the end of it.

I first saw the "Davy" knot in Don Holbrook and Ed Koch's book - Midge Magic, when the book came out in 2001.

On page 6 in this book you'll find an illustration with text explaining how Holbrook came upon this knot. He claims that a father and son came into the Varivas booth, at the 1999 Salt Lake Flyfishing Show, and the boy showed him a knot that he had developed. It's the same as the Davy knot.

The knot can be used on droppers just as long as they are not tied on the tag end.

Gerry Romer
03-25-2007, 09:00 PM
Thanks Hugh and Rusty! This is what I was looking for. I suspected that the Davy Knot might be best overall but wasn't sure how to test it for my purposes.

I've got an older video on Czech nymphing and it stresses setting up your dropper rig with the strongest possible in-line connections. The video sets up two possible tippet to leader combinations that make use of the tag ends of traditional clinch knots. I was wondering if either of these two knots would work better. It would seem not.

Thanks again for your interest.


03-25-2007, 09:15 PM
Gerry, if you're dropping off the leader then you can use blood knot tags. If you're dropping off a fly then the bend of the hook is better.