I have considered how much time I lose sometimes on the stream side tying on my fly. In the early days I would do an improved clinch knot. But as you know there is a lot of finger gymnastics to get this knot tied and if your eyesight is buggering you, you probably struggle with threading the line back through to finish it.
I was first introduced to the "Davey Knot" when I started fly fishing. It was taught to me with a shoelace by a buddy of mine while we drank a cold one. At the time he professed how wonderfully fast the knot was to tie and how he didn't waste time with tying on his flies anymore with complicated knots. I learned the knot and started using it. It was very fast. While he claimed that he never had a problem with the knot slipping I found that I did occasionally have one slip. I am sure it was mostly my own error in tying it and it was good knot most of the time.
After about a year, it struck me that the knot could be improved upon. I had a single idea to help make the knot a little stronger and less likely to slip. The step by step instructions below are what I came up with. The knot has proven very versatile and is every bit as quick to tie. I have looked for a knot source that is a duplicate tie but have had no luck in my search. I am willing to admit when shown that the knot is not of my own making but until then I feel I have created a "one knot" for my fishing needs. If you happen upon a resource that shows this knot, please contact me and I will update this post. Update: A double davey knot was shown to me recently and while similar is still different than what I am sharing here. Thanks to "Davey" whomever he is and for the adaptations we have found. I may give the double davey a try next time I am out too. I actually like it a lot for it's symmetry.
The Improved Davey Knot Tutorial
Tying onto a hook eye.
For this demo the hackle pliers will act as a the hook eye. The blue rope will obviously represent the line.
These instructions are given from the tier's point of view and with the assumption that the person tying the knot is right handed.
Run the line (tippet) through the hook eye and hold the hook in your left hand. You will now bend the line in half with the tag end below the supply end
Take the tag end of the line and wrap it around the top line two or three times. The original Davey knot you would only do this once over. The tag end now sits as shown in the second photo. The amount of extra tag end you have can be longer still than what is shown. This knot is tied big and shrunk down as it tightens so don't worry about making it too large at first.
Now roll the tag end under the bottom part of the loop and feed it towards the hook. In essence, you have done two overhand wraps on the top of the loop and now you do a single wrap around the bottom loop feeding it towards the hook eye.
When you are tying this with an actual hook and line you will see that this is where you pinch the tag end with your left hand as you tighten the knot down around the hook eye and leaving the tag extended.
In this final step you will cinch the knot down onto the hook eye. The whole process takes only seconds once you commit it to muscle memory. The extended tag is actually left there on the hook. If like me you are using primarily sakasa kebari then the tag gets lost in the hackles. I often clip longer tags down to the size of the hackles at stream side. This assures further that your knot will not come undone. It can be clipped shorter if needed but will lose some of the security of this knot.
As I mentioned earlier this knot is very useful. It is a great utility knot to learn and play with when you are rigging up. I have also used it for attaching my tippet line at the other end to the level line or furled leader. This easy knot has been serving me well for over 9 years now. I hope that it starts to serve you as well.
If you would like to see a video of this knot being tied I have added it to my facebook page where you can see me tie it step by step here.
Let me know if you try the knot and what you think.
Dennis Vander Houwen lives in Colorado with his patient and supportive wife, talented artist son, a smart older dog, a new river puppy, and a very lucky cat.