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How to Tie the Offshore Swivel (Cat’s Paw) Knot

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When you’re fishing with very heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon, many knots can be hard to tie because of the line diameter and its attendant stiffness. 

Sharp loops and tiny turns just won’t form easily in 100-pound test!

The Offshore Swivel knot, also sometimes called the Cat’s Paw, is an ideal choice for connecting big swivels to heavy line. Easy to tie, very fast, and ridiculously strong, it can hold even when one leg breaks during a fight!

And though it’s typically used to connect your line to a swivel, it can also serve to attach a robust hook or as a linkage for the Bimini Twist!

How to Tie the Offshore Swivel Knot

Offshore-Swivel-Knot

  1. Double your line to form a loop. You want a long tag end.
  2. Run this loop through the eye of your swivel.
  3. Pull that loop back over your doubled line, open the loops at the center, and hold them fast with your thumb and forefinger.
  4. Rotate the swivel in through the center of the doubled loops at least 3 times and no more than 6 times. Fewer turns are better for heavier line.
  5. Wet your knot and slide the twisted legs tight, cinching down the knot. You may need to coax each leg’s twists into place, cinching as you do.

Why Rely on the Offshore Swivel Knot?

  • Strong - The Offshore Swivel knot is exceptionally strong and cannot pull free. It’s also very resistant to breakage and will hold in the vent of a single line separating. I don’t know of any stronger connection between your line and a swivel.
  • Easy - This knot is easy to learn and easy to tie. It’s very hard to make a mistake with the offshore Swivel knot, and that matters a lot in the real world.
  • Fast - The Offshore Swivel can be tied in just a few seconds, allowing you to get back in the action quickly.

What’s Not to Love About the Offshore Swivel Knot?

I’ve really got no complaints about this knot whatsoever.

It’s ridiculously strong, rivaling the excellent Palomar for holding a hook, and I can’t think of a stronger, easier to tie, or faster connection to a swivel or a knot like the Bimini Twist.

It’s just that good.

The only issue you might have with this knot is size. In very large lines, it’s probably a bit much for attaching a hook, and in anything much heavier than 100-pound test mono, I’d just switch to a crimp.

But even then, no tools or special supplies are needed for the Offshore Swivel knot, making it a must-know knot in my book.

The Offshore Swivel Knot in Braid and Fluorocarbon

Heavy mono may not like tight turns and bends, but it loves to grip against itself, exhibiting what scientists and engineers term a “high coefficient of friction.” In the case of the Offshore Swivel knot, this means ridiculous strength, as the physics of this knot create vast areas of contact and compression.

Fluorocarbon, like nylon mono, bites against itself well, but in heavier weights, it can be even less pliable. For many knots, that’s a deal-breaker--but not for the Offshore Swivel!

As Mark Williams writes for Fishing World, “When employed for this purpose, testing conducted by the late Bill Nash – a noted US rigging authority – showed that the break strength of this connection in either nylon or fluorocarbon lines approaches 100 per cent.”

Simply put, there’s probably no better connection out there for heavy lines!

Braid usually doesn’t face the same problems, as it’s super limp and pliable in comparison. But it is very, very slick, and the Dyneema and Spectra fibers from which it’s spun are notoriously frictionless. 

The Offshore Swivel overcomes this with its unique series of two-leg twists, resulting in very high knot integrity in braided superlines. As Williams reports, “testing indicates that when this connection technique is employed in lines such as Spiderwire Fusion the join retains virtually 100 per cent of the line’s breaking strain. Across the board testing of braided lines showed an average break strength of 84 per cent.”

That’s truly impressive in braid, and the Offshore Swivel or Cat’s Paw is my top choice for this connection.

When Do Offshore Swivel Knots Fail?

The Offshore Swivel has built a real-world reputation for ridiculous strength while still being easy to tie. It can even hold when one leg is compromised, making this a winner in any angler’s book.

That said, it can fail, and these are the most common culprits:

  • Tying the knot in frayed or damaged line - No knot will hold if the line it’s tied in fails. Always check your line for frays, nicks, and other signs of damage. Don’t take chances - it’s much safer to cut and discard than risk failure on a big fish!
  • Forgetting to wet your knot before cinching - To coax the two legs of the Offshore Swivel knot into place, you’ll need to wet them. Failing to do so will result in a looser knot that won’t perform as it should. This is a critical step in any knot!
About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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