Bowline knot is one of the most valuable knots all outdoorsmen and women should know. It’s especially applicable to anglers who fish from a boat, as it is the absolute best knot with which to tie anchor line to an anchor chain or anchor.
Although any secure knot could work for anchoring, the bowline has one key, unique characteristic: it can easily be untied, even after having been used and subjected to hundreds of pounds of tension. This is true even if the anchor line has been wet and dried several times.
Although the bowline is best known in boating circles, it is also useful for fishing applications (beyond anchoring), as well as general camping situations where you either need to create a loop, or tie to something that you’ll eventually want to untie from.
In fishing, some west coast sturgeon anglers use braided nylon or super line for leader material for white sturgeon, which can grow to over 10 feet in length. They use Octopus hooks commonly ranging from size 6/0 to as big as 13/0. Some of these anglers use the bowline to tie on the hook. The bowline knot is tied in advance, with the loop being just long enough to thread through the eye of the hook, then looped around the bend of the hook.
Some halibut anglers put the bowline knot to use exactly like the sturgeon anglers, except the halibut anglers are using a circle hook from size 12/0 to 20/0, and the leader material they use, if using a bowline knot, is gagnon cord. One of the nice things about using a bowline is you can vary how long the loop is. This allows the knot to be a certain distance above the hook eye, making it easy to slip on a big hoochie for added attraction.
The bowline knot is easy to tie. Once you’re used to tying it, you’ll undoubtedly find other uses for it outside of fishing and anchoring.