Knots in Slippery Rope?

Got some nice BlueWater 5/16 poly for bow/stern lines today, but man, is that stuff slippery! Anybody have a superknot that will let me tie a loop in this stuff, that will stay tied?


Pete in Atlanta

Try this one …

– Last Updated: Oct-08-05 6:48 PM EST –

Figure eight follow through (aka figure eight trace).

Tie a figure eight knot in the rope.
Try to have approximately 12 inches of rope leftover, to make your loop & still finish the knot.
Put the running end(the end you're working with) through whatever you're going to attach it too, and then retrace the original figure eight knot. Snug it down.
(Two lines can be joined with this knot; best used for ropes of equal diameter. The figure eight trace can also be used to tie a loop around an object. Whitewater Rescue Manual)
I think that one will work for you.


P.S. Alternative: Tying an overhand knot in the same position in the rope as described above, making your loop as described above, and retracing the original overhand knot, will result in a water knot. That may suffice, but the figure eight follow through (aka figure eight trace) puts more bends in the rope & therefore will probably be less likely to slip loose.

Thanks, Bob
That’s what I tried first, though I tied the figure eight in a bight, which eliminated the retracing. But when I snug it up I can see that it doesn’t want to stay.

It wouldn’t be particularly elegant, but I wonder if heat-shrink tubing is available big enough to slip over the knot…

Pete in Atlanta

I have had some rope which would not…
…hold a knot regardless of what I did.

That’s one of the reasons I tend to stick with natural fiber ropes, which can be a royal pain

in the butt for different reasons, but it’s

tough to beat good old Manila rope for workability.

If I simply do not want to use Manila, I use the

3 strand twisted polyprop that looks kind of like


Another alternative…
You might try the figure eight follow through; making sure that you have a couple of inches of rope left over when the knot is (dressed) finished. Then with some strong fishing line, do a neat bit of lashing so the end of the rope (where the knot ends) can’t slip loose/through.


P.S. I hate that poly…PITA!

I heard a saying…
…if you can’t tie knots, tie lots.

Just make sure you don’t have a climbing partner who subscribe to that philosophy! ;o)

Poly Is Very Slippery
Commertial fishermen use it around here because they have to use so much line and poly is so much less expensive.

Try this. Tie your loop and leave about six inches of the end of the line free. When you have your knot where you want it then untwist the brades alone the six inches that you left free. Then up from your knot twist the line to open the braid and start reverse brading the individual braids that you took apart. Try and rethread or rebraid each of them so that they are fitted into the twisted open part at least twice.

Once you get it the knot will stay. As the original line is placed under strain the rebraided portion will be held by the line tension.

Normally you dont want to use poly line for a dock line for the reasons that you pointed out. It also will have the same type of reaction on a cleat. And poly line degrades very fast when exposed to sunlight.

happy paddling,



– Last Updated: Oct-10-05 1:25 PM EST –

try a locking bowline, the rabit goes around and thru the hole twice before going around the tree

up thru the hole then around the side where the two pieces of rope are side by side (not the loop side) then around the tree and finally back down the hole

looks the same as a regular bowline only has two wraps on the inside instead of one. different than a double bowline aka french bowline.

hope this is more understandable

Butterfly knot
I learned this one ages ago when I had to learn how to make rope bridges. Doesn’t slip and doesn’t jamb up.

Figure eights are used for climbing…
…because they’re easier to untie than an overhand loop, not because they’re any more secure. A “figure of 9” knot may hold a bit better, since the tail is woven back into the knot (it starts as a figure eight knot). A “bowline on a bight” is another option.

replace that cheap stuff
with some decent line. It’s funny stuff. In my climbing guide days we used it to fix lines. Butterfly knot is a good rescue knot, as is a double bowline with the tail threaded back up through the hole. But why have cheap poly line on your kayak? Back up any knot with a half double fishermans and load all knots hard.

Thanks to All
for your suggestions. The line in question is Bluewater’s “River Rescue” line, not the cheap tubular stuff. I like it because it floats and is a nice, visible, bright yellow. It coils nicely, is very flexible- does everything but hold a knot!

I’m going to try each of the suggested knots- an excuse to learn some new ones. I think Bob’s idea of applying a seizing may be the key to making this work.

Again, thanks!

Pete in Atlanta

Here is a great link for knots

You might try a water knot. It works of flat webbing which is also very slippery.

Jim’s Bowline
You will not find it in any knot book that I know of. I have a way of re-tying the “rabbit” that makes the knot secure, and would probably work on the Bluewater.

If you want, send me an e-mail and I can send you a picture of the knot.


temper the rope
I worked as a steeplejack when I was younger. We sometimes had to make up a new set of falls (rope and pulley set for stage and bosun chair work). New rope is hard to work.

Before threading the rope we would take a wrap around a wooden telephone pole then tie that end to the truck bumper. The truck slowly pulled away while we kept light pressure on the rope. Do this in a parking lot with lots of room.

Afterward the rope would be broken in and the factory finish worn off.

The butterfly is a middle loop knot…
…not an end loop knot, which is what he was asking for.

Ask a rope manufacturer…
…what they think of that procedure. You’re lucky nobody got killed using rope that was abused in that manner.

Perfection loop
You might want to try a perfection loop.

It was developed for tying a loop in monofiliment fishing line, which is slippery stuff.

It’s not particularlly strong, but easy to tie.

Bimini Twist is another fishing knot developed for slipperly line. Strong, but a pita to tie.

Yeah but…
the knot doesn’t seem to know where it’s tied. I’ve been using it for 40 years now without a problem as to where I put it and I think I’ll keep on doing so regardless of where I need a loop in a piece of rope. Besides, I never could remember which way the rabbit ran around the tree.

Now if you want a nice looking loop you might try an eye splice. Very good for the end of a rope.

Of course if it’s three strand rope you can still do an eye splice but it’s tricky. Here’s a really neat animation of how to do it.

I am sure it isn’t OSHA approved, but it was the standard technique for new ropes for decades. Never took a fall.