The Godfather of Knots
If fishing knots were people, then the Clinch Knot and all of its relatives would probably look like those picture perfect portraits you see of families with ridiculously good genes. Well, with the exception of the Clinch Knot itself, which is more like the less successful, oft-forgotten sibling in celebrity families such as the Wahlbergs, the Baldwins, or the Sheens. The thing is, even though the Clinch Knot may not be the most popular, the most famous, or even the most sober, it is still the OG godfather knot of the bunch.
Most anglers view the Clinch Knot as a pretty rudimentary knot that has been cast off and surpassed by its younger, hotter, and just much more likeable sibling, the Improved Clinch Knot. However, there are actually several variants of the Clinch Knot that all have excellent performance in terms of line breaking strength, and each of these knots can be considered simple improvements upon the classic Clinch Knot.
Two prime examples are the Trilene Knot and the Berkley Braid Knot. The Trilene Knot may sound like the cousin that sold-out by going commercially mainstream, but it really is just the Clinch Knot with one additional twist - or rather an extra turn - and thus its alternate moniker of Two Turn Clinch Knot. Similarly, the Berkley Braid Knot isn’t the tie-dye wearing, hippy activist fishing knot that you think it is, but rather a Clinch Knot in reverse. In fact, to tie the exceptionally strong Berkley Braid Knot, you simply double the line, tie a Clinch Knot in reverse, and finish the knot with more twists than the dance floor of a 1960s nightclub.
Another family member is the Reverse Improved Clinch Knot, which doesn’t win any awards for creative naming, but gets the job done in terms of making a marked improvement on the family business. The fact that an improvement can be made simply by reversing the manner in which the Clinch Knot is tied just speaks to its versatility, strength, and fundamental elegance. Some honorable mentions in the Clinch Knot family include the Triple Loop Knot and the San Diego Jam Knot, both of which are specialty knots conceived by anglers utilizing the fundamental structure of the Clinch Knot.
In short, the Clinch Knot is perhaps the most important fishing knot to learn, not necessarily for its applicability or strength, but as a gateway to a whole family of strong knots that can be appplied to a wide variety of fishing applications.