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Knot Breakthrough? Jack’s 100% Breaking Strength Knot

by Ross Purnell, Editor   |  June 19th, 2012 27

KnotToday I received a letter from Fly Fisherman subscriber Jack Miller who said he enjoyed the “2012 Tippet Shootout” by James Anderson in the June/July 2012 issue. Like Anderson, he was disturbed by the weakness of many common knots and devised his own tippet-to-fly knot he calls Jack’s knot.

I showed Lefty Kreh, author of Fishing Knots (Stackpole Books, 2007) and two other books on knots, and he said the knot is new to him, and looks like a slight variation of the Davy knot.

“The Davy knot makes the final wrap around the loop while this knot makes the final loop around the two folded lines—I think the newer variation may be stronger but I’d need to test it,” Lefty told me in an email.

Click here for Jack Miller’s hand-written  for his new knot.

  • Phil C.

    This is an interesting Knot, however, I can't think of when I would use it instead of the Davy Knot. The thing that I like about the Davy Knot is that the tag end terminates at the hook. By positioning the end of the line close to the hook eye, I minimize the amount of tippet that I have to trim. The result is that I am able to make more changes to fly selection without having to tie on more tippet.

  • Jack Marshall

    The illustrations and instructions for "Jack's knot" are unusually clear.
    To me, the knot looks a lot like the "fisherman's knot," page 106 of Lefty's book "Fishing Knots," except that the Jack's knot uses a single wrap before inserting the tag through the loop, while Lefty calls for several wraps before inserting the tag through the loop. Perhaps the extra turns are not needed. That would need to be tested.

  • Jack Miller

    I am Jack (of Jack's Knot). I used the Pitzen Knot for years. It is the same as the "fishermans knot" in Lefty's book. The two knots are not alike. Tie each and look at the finished knot. I use two knots most of the time; my "Jack's Knot" and the non slip mono loop. The main reason I wrote Flyfisherman about their tippet article was the weakness of the line to line tippet knot. The best tippet knots tested were about half the strenght of the line. I developed a line to tippet knot (this was before the article) that will not break at the knot. (almost never) I sent the instructions for this knot to Flyfisherman as well. I would like to see it put online. It is the strongest line to line knot that I have seen. (I have tested all the well known knots) It also works well with extreme differences in line diameter.

    • Don Thompson


      Are you the one with the Miller knot? When I tested the Miller knot, even in Ande Tournament Mono. 12# 0.340mm IGFA line, it broke in the line 10 of 10 times, not at the knot averaging 12.36actual breaking strength. I call knots that break in the line 100% strength knots.

      However, in Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon 12# 0.310mm, it broke at the knot 10 of 10 times.

      Is this Miller knot the same as Jack's Knot? Your description and drawings remind me of a two turn Hangman's Noose ABOK #366, #1119 that was shown to me by a fellow TU member of the Oconee River Chapter and he uses it for a tippet to hook knot not a line to tippet knot. The Pitzen Knot is actually ABOK #1123 Ichabod Knot.


      • Jack Miller

        Don, ____This is not the Miller Knot. I believe you are referring to the Joe Miller Knot. ____Let me explain something about the Jack's Knot. (When you tie the knot never go more than one time around the two lines below the loop. It will not be as strong if you do.)____I have been fly fishing since 1958. I am familar with all the published knots. I have used the Trilene Knot and the Pitzen Knot alot over a period of time. I promoted the Pitzen Knot to others for years.____The Jack's Knot is not an adaptation of the Pitzen Knot. (The outcome of the two knots are totally different. ) The Jack's Knot was developed using principles of my line to line tippet knot. (Folding the loop in the line.)____I now use the Jack's Knot because

  • Wayne McLemore

    This "new" knot is at best a variant on the Pitzen, a.k.a. the 20/20 knot, invented by a Mr. Pitzenberger in Germany. The differences are that the Pitzen knot makes its initial loop around the standing line, instead of beside it, and makes three turns down the standing line instead of two. Short of comprehensive tests, I'll stick with the Pitzen, since it has an extra turn or two, thereby creating more static inertia, and is thus more resistance to pulling apart.

    I believe that a knot – any knot – is a device intended to create enough friction, hence inertia, to resist being pulled apart. Generally speaking, more turns = more friction; but too many turns create so much resistance that the knot cannot be tightened into a solid mass.

    • Jack Miller

      The Jack's not does not create a knot the same as the Pitzen knot. (I have used the Pitzen knot since the 1970s or early 80s.) Tie the two knots in heavy material like fly line backing and you will see that outcome of the two knots are not at all alike. I can tie the Jack's knot faster, using less tippet, and it is a smaller knot than the Pitzen knot. It is as strong or stronger than the Pitzen Knot depending on what material you use.

  • Jack Miller

    Here are the instructions for my line to line tippet knot:
    1. lay the two lines together as if tying a surgeon’s knot
    2. make a loop with the two lines just like the loop used in the Jack's Knot(pinch between thumb and index finger)
    3. go counterclockwise around the loops with the tippet being added(pull down between thumb & finger) now go trhough the back of the loop with the tippet
    4. go clock wise around the loops and throught the front of the loop
    5. repeat step 3
    6. moisten the line and piull the tippet away from the main line while pinching the loop
    7. snug up the two tags that will be facing away from the tippet
    (this is an eazy knot to tie. Some people say that it is easier than the surgeons knot. (I will not claim this) It is the strongest line to line knot I know. It almost always breaks the line and leaves the knot.

  • Kurt Finlayson

    Prior to rading these comments I tied the Jack's knot and thought it was much closer to a Pitzen than a Davy. Perhaps I have been tying a Pitzen incorrectly, but it seems that the difference is in how many wraps around the line. Could you explain the difference? Thanks! Also, I would like to see a diagram of your line to line knot.
    Catch ya' later, Kurt

    • Jack Miller

      One of the important things about the Jack's Knot is that you go only one time arround the two lines between the loop and the hook. If you go more than one time the knot will not be very strong. In this case less is more. As far as comparing the knot to the Pitzen ; the best way is to tie the two knots in heavy material. You will see that the two knots do not look alike. The tag does not exit the knot in the same way. In the Jack's Knot the tag comes out parallel to the line. In the Pitzen Knot the tag comes out at an angle to the knot. The Jack's Knot will look like a figure 8 with two lines going through each loop in the 8. The Jack's Knot is also smaller than the Pitzen Knot. I have tried to draw a diagram of my line to line knot. So far I have not been able to do it. It is eazy to tie if you can follow my written instructions. I believe that it is the strongest line to line knot that can be tied. It almost always breaks the line and leaves the knot. I am going to try to do a YouTube video of both of these knots.

  • Don Thompson

    Are you the Miller of the Miller Knot. It is the best tippet knot I have ever tested. It broke in the line 10 of 10 times tested.
    Thanks for your reply to me at

  • Don Thompson

    Jack Miller,

    From your directioes, I have tied and photographed the steps to your line to line knot and will test it on the Chatillon knot testor in 12 lb. Ande Tournament monofilament as well as monofilament to 12 lb. Seaguar Flurocarbon tomorrow.

    If you will respond via email, I will send you those pictures you can use them with your YouTube video.

    I'm pleasantly surprised by your creativeness with this two line double braided leader to tippet knot. I'll also test it with braided line to monofilament and/or fluorocarbon and send you the results when I send you the pictures.


  • Jack Miller

    If anyone is still looking at this posting I have a video of the two knots that I mention. The site is

    Thanks for looking'

    Jack Miller

    • George M

      It would be helpful to also see a video of Jack actually tying the knot. I'm awkward when wrapping the tag around. There's probably a better way to hold the tippet than the way I'm doing it. Great knot! Very small, yet strong. Should be good for tying on trailers too. Thanks.

  • Don

    Your Jacks Knot is great and easy to tie. Do you have a step by step drawing for your tippet knot? I'm not able to follow the video properly.

  • Larry Walp

    When I first read about your Jack's Knot, I had my doubts. I have been using a knot, closest name I would give is an improved clenched knot, which has never failed. Well, I had to put both to the test. Tied your knot to one hook and my clenched knot to a hook on the other end of an 8 lb. test line. Put a weight scale on one end and I took a piece of wooden dowel on the other end and began to pull. My wife was watching the scale and calling out the number, at just over 9 lbs. my knot came apart – darn. Thanks for the information you put in Fly Fisherman Mag.

    Larry Walp

  • Jack Miller

    I am attempting to replay to all the above comments. Jonathan Palmer was gracious in filming and producing the video. I had nothing to do with the editing. I told him that I would like to see the knots shown being tied in real time and then being tested. He will get that done,but this is his busy time ( football and basketball seasons) so he may not be able to touch it until later. I did see that someone did upload the tying of the tippet to hook knot on YouTube. It is tied correctly. The way it is shown is the way I tie the knot to add a dropper to another fly. A drawing of the hook to tippet knot is shown on FLYFISERMAN's web sight. Instructions for the line to line tippet knot are also provided. I can not draw that knot. I will say that I believe it is the strongest tippet knot. It is no harder to tie than a surgeons knot. Most of my tests have been in Orvis Mirage and Berkley Trilene.

  • PineSapFred

    Jack: I really appreciate your developing the tippet knot and posting the video, but unfortunately I'm with Don – I just can't tie the knot based on the video. Has anyone been able to do this with the tippet knot? If so maybe you could give us some tips to explain the video. In particular, when the narrator says "here's the tippet part we're adding, you go around the back, pull that down between the thumb and finger… ", the camera is not showing the actions being described. Same with the part about "now go around the front, through the front…". Also, on the video section I'm thinking that the white line represents the tippet and the gray is the line – and in the color photos, the blue is the tippet and the red is the line. Is that correct?
    I'd like to try this knot and compare it to my standard tippet knot in the line strengths I use.

    • Bob

      I haven't been able to figure out the tippet knot from the video either.

  • Tad

    Really nice and simple knot. I've been watching MLB while playing with a couple of lines. I've never liked the surgeon's loop do to the slight bend in the knot. I've always used blood knots but Jack's knot is much easier to tie. Has this been tested on braid and fluorocarbon, by chance? Thanks!

    • Jack Miller

      I am going to try to deal with two questions about my line to line tippet knot:

      1. I will to explain tying the knot in a new way until I can get it on video.
      Lets start with the two lines laid together like a surgeons knot. Make a loop with the doubled lines
      between your thumb and index finger of your left hand. If you look at the loop this will be the front of the
      loop. The tippet that your are adding will sticking out to the right. Take the tippet in the right hand and go
      counterclockwise around the back of the loop pass the front of the loop and bring the tippet through
      the back of the loop. Pull the line between the thumb and finger so it is sticking out to the left. Now take
      the line around the back of the the loop and through the front of the loop. While pinching the loop pull
      the tippet away from the loop. Set the knot by pulling the two tags at the back. ( You might notice I am
      leaving out the last step —Which is the same as the first—I am doing this to make it easier to tie and
      set the knot.) ( It is still stronger than the surgeons knot, blood knot or uni knot)

      2. How the knot works with fluorocarbon to braid
      I spent some time testing this today. I used 40 lb Power Pro and 10 lb Vanish. ( Because I had these
      available) I tied my knot to one end of the Power Pro and a uni knot to the other. I then tied my hook knot
      to an eye screw and pulled until something broke. The uni knot broke most of the time. The braid was
      harder to set that mono or fluorocarbon. I found that the best so far was to go only two times around the
      loop with the fluorocarbon because it set more easily. After the knot was set I then made a half hitch
      around the braid with the tag of the fluorocarbon. (I feel that this is very promising, but It needs more
      testing with different lines, etc.)

  • Stan Carr

    OK I'm here at Where is Jacks Knot as promised?

  • Louis
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