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Tying the Power Snell knot

By Jeff Pierce

While a standard snell knot is a great knot to have in your fishing arsenal, the Power Snell is even better.  While I’m not sure who came up with the Power Snell I can tell you that this knot has helped me and many good friends to catch some tremendous fish over the years.

The real advantage to the Power Snell is the cushioning it provides to the leader when pulling hard on a fish.  With a standard snell, the load bearing leader can be cut as it slides into and makes contact with the gap in the eye of the hook.  Even if there is no noticable gap, there is still an edge on the end of the hook wire where the wire forms the eye and returns back to the shank of the hook.  With a leader being stretched under pressure, it’s easier for the line to get in that gap however small it might be and be cut resulting in a lost fish.  This knot really shines when using larger hooks on light leader.  We run into this situation at times when targeting Yellowfin Tuna in the Gulf of Mexico and larger Tuna’s off of New England.  In both locations, fish in excess of 200 pounds can be hooked up and when push comes to shove, some serious drag pressure may need to be applied to get the fish to the boat.

By learning to tie the Power Snell you will be taking another step to do everything possible to land that fish when you hook up.  It’s really no more difficult to tie than a standard snell and once you learn it, you’ll find it to be very useful.  I commonly use this knot on straight eye circle hooks when fishing live bait for Billfish and Tuna and also when targeting bottom dwellers like Snapper and Grouper.

Power Snell.  Coloured Multifilament is used for illustration  purposes.  Superb knot for regular monofilament. Note that the rope used here is only for demo purposes.

Inset the tag end of your leader or main line through the hook eye from the point side of the hook toward the backside.  This is important as this will angle the point of the hook toward your leader, instead of away from it.

Power Snell STEP 2
Run your tag end through the eye of the hook again going the same direction as before.  The tag end should not much longer than the back of the bend of the hook.
Power Snell STEP 3
In this photo, the tag end of the leader is colored red to make it easier to see what is happening.  Be sure the tag end (red in this image) is situated on the return loop side of the eye (this is the side of the eye where the end of the hook wire bends around and meets the hook shank).  It is critical that the tag end is positioned on the return loop side and that the line is not crossed with the other portion of line (main leader).
Power Snell STEP 4
Now it’s time to start wrapping the line around the hook shank to form the snell knot.  In this image I have colored a portion of the line light blue.  This is a section of the line just before the tag end.  It is this part of the line that now needs to be wrapped around the shank of the hook from the eye wrapping back toward the bend.
Power Snell STEP 5
The number of wraps depends on the leader and the hooks size.  Six to seven wraps is pretty typical but on large hooks and heavy leader we may only do three wraps.  It is critical that when making your wraps you keep the line snug and never overlap the wraps.  Overlapping wraps or loose wraps will cause the knot to tighten improperly and often causes kinks in the line.
Power Snell STEP 6
Once the wraps are complete you need to pull on the tag end (red in this image) which properly seats the non-load bearing tag end in that eye gap.  Now wet the loop of leader being supported by your fingers.
Power Snell STEP 7
Once the tag end is pulled snug and you have wet the loop on line you can begin pulling on the leader while keeping some tension on the loop as is get smaller and tightens.  It’s important to keep some tension on this loop as you tighten the knot or else the loop will twist around itself and damage the line or keep you from being able to fully tighten the knot.
Power Snell STEP 8 Top
Once the leader is pulled and the knot is snug, grab the tag end and the leader and pull on both securing the knot completely.  You can then trim the tag end to your desired length.  The Power Snell is now complete.
Power Snell STEP 8 Underside
Power Snell Here is a shot of the Power Snell tied with mono.  In this shot of the top of the hook, the hook wire bends around from the top and rejoins the shank at the bottom and therefore the Power Snell tag end must be seated in the eye toward the bottom of the photo in order to cushion the leader properly.
Power Snell In this shot of the underside of the hook, the hook is rotated 180° so that now the hook wire bends around from the bottom of the photo and rejoins the hook shank toward the top of the photo.

Yellowfin Tuna

“A happy angler with his 206lbs Yellowfin Tuna caught fishing with Prostaffer Capt. Rimmer Covington of The Mexican Gulf Fishing Company out of Venice, Louisiana. This trophy Yellowfin Tuna was caught on a 6/0 39950BL circle hook on an 80lb fluorocarbon wind on leader secured to the hook with the Power Snell knot ”