Leaders breaking at the snell

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by JAinSC, May 31, 2006.

  1. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

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    I have lost 2 flatheads beside the boat this year already because the leader (50 pound Big Game) broke at the snell to the hook. So ... Monday I took 6 pre-tied rigs out of my box and took them to the garage to test. 5 out of the 6 broke exactly the same way - the line snapped right in the eye of the hook (upturned eye kahle) - right where the line comes out of the snell. I tied a couple of fresh rigs up and tested them. Same result. I tied 3 more rigs: one with a clinch knot to the hook, one with a uni knot, and one with a snell to a straight eyed hook (line doesn't even go through the hook eye - just lays along side it). All three knots held. I pulled and pulled on them until I straightened the hooks. I believe that the end of the wire from the hook, where it is bent around to form the eye, is cutting the line.

    Obviously, I will not be tieing snells on those upturned eye hooks anymore. Problem is, I like the way the hook hangs nice and straight when snelled that way. Plus, I have a few hundred kahle hooks at home with upturned eyes.
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

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    Can you post some pictures of the hooks and the type of snell knot you're tying?

    What brand of hooks are you using?

    I've been snelling my Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hooks lately but never checked to see if the knot was really as strong as I assumed it was. The snell knot I tie goes through the bent-back eye only one time - the actual knot is tied to the shank of the hook, then pulled tight and slid up the hook til it rests agains the eye. Most snell knots take the main line through the eye and then have a second loop through the eye for the tag end of the line - that may be where the weakness is coming from.
     

  3. photocat

    photocat New Member

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    803
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    Guess we should all take your lesson in our eyes... i sometimes tie my circles w/ a snell knot but i will try not to do that so much anymore... I've actually always wondered what effects the line going through and rubbing on the eye of the hook had on the line...
     
  4. crazy

    crazy New Member

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    Hmmm strange. Does the hook feel like there are little burs on the wire? If it is the knot i'm just glad I don't use the snell knot.
     
  5. IL Hunter

    IL Hunter New Member

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    I'd try a knot that retained more line strength. I'm not sure how much weaker a snell is, but I never have any problems with my palomar knots.
     
  6. chrisblue

    chrisblue New Member

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    1,345
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    I had to go to snell knots because the palimar and the fishermans knot would make its way around the eye and cut itself where the eye comes together.This was on regular eyes on 7 and 8 ought circles, not up turned.That solved that problem, now my egg weights are eating my line up above the leader even with a bead.I know where you comin from JAINSC just be careful with the other knots too when a catfish turns it will move that knot around the eye in a heartbeet and its a sickining sound when that happens.Especially if you're in a tournament.
     
  7. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

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    A properly tied snell knot retains nearly 100% of the line strength. Unfortunately, there are several variations of the "snell knot," and some of them aren't as strong.

    It's not clear what particular snell JAinSC is using, or whether the problem he's having is related to the particular hooks he's using or maybe even a defective batch of otherwise good hooks.

    The one I use is the "Common Snell" http://www.thaifishingguide.com/fishtechequip/techniques/knots/common_snell.html and I believe it's the variant that maintains nearly 100% of the line strength.

    Notice with this knot that the line doesn't even really need to pass *through* the eye on the hook - all the holding strength is in the knot itself, tied to the shank of the hook. You can actually set this knot in place farther down on the shank of the hook and keep it entirely away from any roughness around the eye -- use pliers on the tag end and pull on the main line by hand and it'll cinch right up and stay put.

    This one is a lot easier to tie if you've watched someone else do it once or twice - the pictures are a little bit hard to follow.
     
  8. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

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    NC
    JAinSC you are exactly right about the cause!

    I experienced the same thing last year. The type of snell I was using was rubbing on the very end of the metal in the end of the hook opposite the point. Under load it wore through the leader and caused a break. I had this happen to three leaders before I realized something was up!

    I now tie a snell that does not rub across that area and have had no problems since.
     
  9. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

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    I followed Mr T's link and that is exactly the type snell that I've been using. The line goes through the eye one time. A snell is not inherently a bad knot. I like them because thy hold the hook in a straight line with the line, and can not turn around the eye.

    If you look at the picture from his link, you can see that as the line goes through the eye it is right against the inside of the hook eye, nearest the shank (unavoidable since the knot is tied around the shank) and therefore lies right against the end of the hook's wire. Each broken line end had a little bur on the last tiny bit- like the last millimeter.

    I am using Eagle Claw kahles - model L144. I have not had this problem so consistently in the past - although I did have a couple of leader pop off a the snell in past years, it has become an epidemic lately. I can tie the snell without going through the hook eye - I did that on the straight shank hook for my test - but that would be kind of silly with an upturned eye hook. The eye will be sticking out by itself. It could be a bad batch of hooks, but if so it's a widespread problem. I tested several different hooks in different sizes.

    I have tied the knot further down the shank and tightened it there. The problem with this is that under enough presure it will slide up the shank toward the eye. That "sliding" is probably even worse, since it will be moving against that rough end of the hook wire. Could I maybe put something in between for a cushion? Like a couple of loops of line between the knot and the hook eye? Or a tiny peice of rubber band? That is starteing to be more special effort than a knot should be, though.
     
  10. tdpasser

    tdpasser New Member

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    829
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    Gilbert AZ
    I mostly use J hooks with a snell knot and it never gives out at the hook. I make sure when I tie my knots that the line is wet with spit and I pull the knot gently and assist it to the top of the shank. If the line is dry and stresses as it works it's way to the top of the shank it would have a weak spot there. The snell knot ensures to hook will travel correctly for hook setting or trolling. Make sure your not stressing the line as you seat your knot and make sure it's wet as you seat it, assist the knot into possition and once it's there seated then you can crank on it and watch it really sinch up.
     
  11. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

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    I'm going to try some of the same tests that John ran, using the common snell on the Gamakatsu Octopus Circles I normally fish with and 30 lb Big Game mono and we'll see what happens. I'm curious - could be that this is a bigger problem.

    So, just to be clear, John: You tied fresh knots on unused hooks and did your pull test and saw the same kind of breakage as you were experiencing out in the field? Or were you testing on pre-tied snells that might have been fished with already?

    Reason for asking is that the problem is either a weakness in the knot itself or the weakness is coming from abrasion where the line goes through the eye -- and it seems unlikely that using a freshly-tied knot would show that abrasion.
     
  12. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

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    I always wet all knots and pull them tight gently and firmly.

    The test were initially on new, unfished rigs that were in the box ready to go. (I always have a few - like 5 or 6 - pretied rigs in the box for each hook size - all Eagle Claw L144.) After those failed, I tied a couple more fresh snell - admittedly on the same hooks - and tested them and they failed, too.

    Wondering if the problem was with the snell, I tied a snell on a hook (straight eye - Mustad kahle) without going through the eye, and it did not break. I pulled on that one until the hook straightened.

    At this point I am pretty well convinced that the problem is with the end of the hook's wire cutting the line. It's probably partly the tyoe of snell I'm using. Not that the knot is tied improperly, but that the knot leaves the line laying accross the sharp end of the metal. I believe that I either need to get differnet hooks, or modify the knot somehow, or use a differnet knot altogether.

    I like snells because they hold the hook nicely in line, and I like the upturned eye because it seems to work well with the snell (lays well, not the breakage problem) and looks good.

    What do you pay for the Gama kahles?
     
  13. Abu65

    Abu65 Member

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  14. Taliesin

    Taliesin New Member

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  15. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

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    Thought I'd follow up on the "bad snell" situation. I have found two solutions to the problem (the wire of the hook is pinched right at the end in the eye - prolly the machine that shaped the wire - and that pinch has a sharp edge that seems to be cutting the line under pressure).

    The first solution comes from my fishing buddy - take the tag end of the line, after making the loops for the snell, and pass it through the hook eye before going back under the loops. That extra pass of line protects the line coming out of the knot.

    The second solution was my own idea. On a couple of hooks I have tied a small 2 or 3 turn nail knot around the hook shank and slid it up right to the eye and themn tied the regular snell right behind that. This does the same thing in protecting the running line coming out of the knot ffrom the sharp edge in the hook eye.

    I have putted an tugged on both types of modifications and they are holding up well.
     
  16. copycat

    copycat New Member

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    John, thanks for the good information and research! Good thread buddy!
     
  17. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

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    You've reminded me..

    I did a couple of tests last week using a common snell on a Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook and 40 lb. Berkley Big Game. I tied a knot and clamped the hook in a vice, wrapped the other end of the line around a chunk of wood and started pulling.

    The line did eventually break right at the knot as you'd expect, but it didn't appear to break due to abrasion but just being the weak spot in the line.

    I repeated the test a couple of times, same results.

    One thing I did learn, however, is to wear gloves on your pulling hand while doing this kind of test. I've got some nasty blood blisters on my knuckles from the line snapping and hitting them at high velocity..

    So I'm personally not concerned that there's any fundamental problem with a common snell knot - perhaps it's a defective batch of hooks or something peculiar to the specific kind of hooks you're using, but I doin't think it's the knot.
     
  18. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

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    1,514
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    Mr T - thanks for the follow up. I suspect that it is a problem specific to my hooks. Whether it's all of the eagle clw kahles or maybe just a batch or two, I can't know. I'll sure keep an eye on this in the future, though.