Fishing Knot Tying with Braided Line

It's hard to tie a knot with braided line - unless you know the right knots

Cute boy gets taught how to fish from dad
Christopher Futcher / Getty Images

Knot History

When monofilament line came out in the 1950’s the fishing world had to learn some new fishing knots. The old fishing knots we used on the Dacron braided line simply would not work on this new, clear line. Every knot we tied pulled through and came loose. There was just no way to keep a hook on this new line.

So, someone began experimenting and came up with some new knots that would hold without slipping, and that would keep the majority of the line strength intact. The most popular one of that bunch was the clinch knot. It’s the simple one – twist the line eight times and put the end of the line back through the loop at the hook. Just pull it tight and it held pretty well.

Over time, the improved clinch knot was developed, and then a variety of other knots, all of which made knot tying a learned talent. And so we fished for a number of years, using these simple but effective knots, not worrying about line slippage or undone knots.

New Braided Lines

In the 80’s and 90’s and continuing today, new lines hit the market. It turns out that monofilament has a great deal of stretch in it, and on a long cast or in deep water, that stretching quality made hook sets very difficult. So engineers began looking for a better line, one that was strong and had little or no stretch. That’s when the new braided lines came on the market. Spiderwire was the name that everyone first associated with this new line. As thin as a spider web and every bit as strong –it was advertised as the great solution to stretching line.

Multiple companies began producing their version of this new braided line technology, and soon we had as large a selection of braided line as we did monofilament.

Which Brand?

It has often been said, and I believe there is a whole lot of truth to it, that fishing lures are more made to catch the fishermen than the fish. The fancier, prettier, flashier the lure, the more likely it is to sell, regardless of whether it will catch fish.

The same sort of phenomenon came about with our fishing lines. Colors and hues, different diameters, and multiple engineered chemical blends all promise to cast farther, have less stretch, and generally catch more fish.

So we fished with the new braids and we fished with monofilament. On low stretch requirements, we used the braid. On low visibility requirements, we used the monofilament. And fishing was good.

Time Marches On with Fluorocarbon

As if to prevent us from settling in, the engineers kept working. They came up with a line made of fluorocarbon – a material that really is hard to see under the water – even Harder to see than monofilament. Early versions were stiff and brittle and had a bad habit of snapping on a hard hook set.

But lately, the fluorocarbon line has been improved, and many anglers are using it.

Why do I go through all this history? Because with every change came the need to have a knot that would hold. The knots developed for monofilament would not work on the new braids. And the new braided lines have an almost waxy quality about them that prevents the old Dacron knots from holding. We needed new knots to hold this new braid.

My Knot Preference

There are several knots that will hold the braided line to the hook with no slip. I have come to use the Palomar knot over any others that I have tried. Notice I did not say it’s the best – I said it’s the one I have come to use. I find it to be quick and simple, and it works for me. I’ll get mail telling me another one is better – and that’s fine. It’s a personal preference thing right now!

I said that the braided lines are not low visibility – they can be seen under the water. My terminal tackle includes a fluorocarbon leader when I use braided line. I have to connect the braided line to the fluorocarbon.

Let me say right here, that I only use a swivel when I think the line is going to twist because of a spinning lure or spoon. So, when I use a fluorocarbon leader – which is 99 percent of the time – I need to knot it to the braid.

The knot I use and prefer is a double surgeon’s knot. It holds and does not slip. But, you have to tie it and pull it tight very slowly. Otherwise, the fluorocarbon will break. Yes – they have not been able to remove all the brittleness. When you pull hard and fast, the fluorocarbon will usually break. But once the knot is pulled tight, it holds and has a very little decrease in strength from its original test.

Fishing line is a personal preference. You read articles like this one to help make up your mind, but in the end, it’s you that makes the decision on what line to use. SO the next time you plan to replace your old line, maybe you will take some of these tips to heart. Try my favorite two knots, and buy name-brand line. If you don’t recognize the brand, chances are you getting some inferior quality line. Oh – and made in America? Unfortunately, 99 percent of all of our fishing line comes from somewhere other than America.

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