UV Knot Sense

By Scott Richmond

It was a good November morning on the Deschutes: mist rose from the water into cool, 28-degree air; the sky promised a sunny day; no other anglers were on the water.

The day got even better when I hooked a steelhead on my first run. After a bit of a tussle, I had the fish in close. It made another surge; I sensed a brief hesitation as line went through the guides. And the fish was gone, the beneficiary of a broken leader.

I chalked it up to bad luck and went on to the next run--where I hooked another steelhead and lost it in exactly the same way. I check my line and found a deep cut about 18 inches from the line/leader junction. This cut was hanging up on the guides and was why I had lost two fish.

At this point I met up with a friend, with whom I shared my tale of woe. I was about to cut off some line, which would have compromised its casting properties. "Don't do that," my friend said. "I've got a solution for you." He got out some UV Knot Sense, a Loon Outdoors product, and repaired my line in about two minutes. On the next run, I hooked yet another steelhead (like I said, it was a good day), but this one didn't get away because the line slipped easily through the guides.

Line Repairs, Knot Coverage, Fly Tying

UV Knot Sense is a handy product that can be used to repair fly lines, smooth over line/leader junctions, and make other streamside repair jobs. Some anglers like UV Knot Sense for fly tying, employing it where they formerly used epoxy to make heads on saltwater flies.

Loon makes two products with a similar name: Knot Sense and UV Knot Sense. Both products create a strong, flexible, rubber-like coating. They are really a Pliobond replacement, if you've been around long enough to remember that venerable product.

Regular Knot Sense is solvent-based product. It has the same uses as its UV cousin, but it takes 20-40 minutes to dry, is flammable, and smells until it is cured.

UV Knot Sense cures under UV radiation, which the sun pores down on us all. That means you spread it on, hold it up to the sunlight, and in half-a-minute it's cured and you're good to go.

That is, unless it's January and you're in Oregon, when low sun angle and cloud-cover renders UV Knot Sense of marginal use. Ah, but Loon has a solution for we Northwesterners. They make a UV mini-lamp and a UV power lamp. Spread UV Knot Sense on the repair job, shine the light on it for 30 seconds or so, and the job is done.

UV Knot Sense and the mini-lamp are now fixtures in my tackle bag.

A Few Caveats

You need to take a few precautions with this product:

  1. Don't look directly at the UV lamps when you're using them; you'll sunburn your eyeballs. Even the reflected light can create a problem. So don't work with your nose on the job, and if you're really paranoid, wear sunglasses.
  2. Don't use this material to cover line cuts in your fingers. Some anglers use superglue for this purpose, which wears off. But UV Knot Sense generates some heat when it cures, so it may be uncomfortable when it's on your skin.
  3. I have run across anglers (well, one) who feels that Knot Sense cures thinner than UV Knot Sense and thus makes a thinner line/leader coating.


Scott Richmond is Westfly's creator and Executive Director. He is the author of eight books on Oregon fly fishing, including Fishing Oregon's Deschutes River (second edition).