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· Gulp! smells funny
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Stiff line is always a tough one for knots. I've never had any issues with a well lubricated uni-knot, but you've already indicated its not working for you. I would try a uni-knot with 4 turns, and make sure you have well moistend the line with saliva first (for some reason spit lubes knots WAY better than plain ol' water)

As for Vanish, EVERYONE loves to knock it, but I've been using the stuff as leader material regularly since it first came out, and with the exception of one of the first spools I bought, I have no problems with it at all. I use 4lb and 6lb for trout and salmon and 8-17lb for light tackle stripers and have not had issues. Now Ande flourocarbon on the other hand, that stuff is terrible. Seaguar is the best...but it is $$$.
 
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