The improved Homer Rhodes knot is a very strong loop knot that I have now been using for some years. I was first taught it by Scott De Bruyn whilst visiting the River Arøyelven in Norway. This river is famous for large Atlantic Salmon and Scott is a seasoned salmon and saltwater fly fishing guide targeting large GT, Tarpon, and blue water species. If it is good enough for Scott then I was keen to give it a go.
I have now been using this knot for the last 4 years particularly when targeting large chinook salmon in Patagonia. I have tested this knot against other loop knots and in my own comparison tests it has always been stronger than the rapala knot and the perfection loop knot.
Why use the improved Homer Rhodes knot
The idea of tying on a fly with a loop knot means the hook eye is able to swing on the nylon loop which honestly adds much more movement to the fly as it swings across the current, I am convinced that the fly is more attractive when tied on this way, and it also eliminates any chance that the knot will slip around the hook eye and swing in an unbalanced manner.
But why use a loop knot when fishing tube flies I hear you ask? When fishing long winged monkey flies, Sunday shadows, and intruder patterns I like to place the hook towards the rear of the dressing as opposed to simply in the back of the tube which can often leave the dressing more than 2″ beyond the hook. For the past several years I have been using the improved Homer Rhodes knot to tie on singles in the back of long winged tube flies to keep the hook further back in the fly. I would say it has improved my take to hook up ratio. Less often am I now getting swirling takes that do not hook up and perhaps this is the reason why. I am also convinced when fishing in slow water or high water looking for fish to take on the dangle underneath overhanging banks the salmon do not turn on the fly as much as they would when lying in faster flows.
When fishing for Chinook salmon in deep glacial flows the takes are often very slow and the chinook do not turn on the fly like their Atlantic Salmon cousins. Out of all the large kings that I have landed the vast majority of them have been hooked in the upper and lower jaw as opposed to in the scissors. I am convinced that by placing the hook towards the rear of the dressing has increased my catch rate over the years.
This knot has never let me down, I have had 40lb backing explode into a million pieces and broken two running lines on these locomotive fish, yet this knot has always been reliable, landing fish of up to 23kg!
The down side of using this knot is it can be a little fiddly when using lighter tippets. As a rule I will use this knot for tying on dressed double flies and tube flies with tippet of 15lb +. When using lighter tippets I will then take a preference for the rapala knot or the simply uni knot.