The debate over which line is better, mono or braided, is not likely to end conclusively any time soon. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, it’s just a matter of which outweighs the other for each particular angler. The durability, strength, and sensitivity of a braided line make it the go-to line for many. These features, however, can make it the more difficult line to tie. Whether you’re looking to attach your braided line to a mono leader or directly to a hook, lure, or swivel, here are a few easy-to-learn knots that will hold them reliably in place.
Braided vs Mono Knots
Even before the invention of synthetic lines, braided fishing line was a popular option. The line could be made from cotton or linen fibers woven together. Except for braided silk, most of these natural fibers have been replaced by synthetics. The weave lends the line strength and allows for a thinner line. A braid of thin fibers is much stronger than a single, thick fiber. The braid is also more resistant to abrasion because sharp rocks and teeth have to break three lines instead of one.
This strength and durability, however, can make braid the more difficult of the two lines to tie. Because it lacks the stretch of mono and is more resistant to bending, some familiar knots (that we’ll cover in a little bit) can become untied with just a little bit of pressure. So, it’s important to add a few knots to your repertoire that work with a braided line so you don’t lose your lure or your catch at inopportune times.
Ironically, the lack of memory that makes braided line more difficult to tie makes it more prone to unintentional tangles like wind knots. Wind knots happen primarily with spinning reels when the slack overruns the arbor. They can be devilishly tricky to untie and more than likely require cutting the line. Many manufacturers have developed coatings to prevent this, but the coating can wear away with time. Moving to a heavier line can sometimes mitigate this issue, but it increases line visibility in the water.
Avoid wind knots in your braided line by not overfilling your spool, keeping the line tight, and keeping the line taught with your finger while casting. When breaking in newly-spun braid you can cast a few times using just a small sinker. Finger the line before the lure hits the water and pick up the slack before working it.
Also, be sure to read our article discussing the Best Braided Fishing Lines for Bass.
Many anglers swear that the Palomar knot is the hands-down best knot for braided line. Even if it’s not the ultimate best knot, it’s definitely a highly-effective one. It will serve you better on braided line than on mono or fluorocarbon so it’s a must-learn if you plan to switch to braid. The Palomar is simple to master and, with practice, can even be tied in the dark with stiff fingers.
To tie this knot, start about a foot from the end and double the line over, making a loop. Pinch this loop and feed it through the eye of your hook or lure. Tie a loose overhand knot around the eye with the rest of the line. One end of the line will still be the big loop you started with. Feed the hook or lure through that line and begin to tighten the knot. First, pull on the main line to tighten the knot. Then, pull with the tag end until the knot is completely tight. Trim off the tag end close to the knot.
Some anglers prefer to add a drop of glue to it to keep it secure, but it’s not essential. If you’ve pulled the line tight enough, it shouldn’t untie on its own, even with pressure. The glue may aid in casting and keeping the lure streamlined.
Double Uni Knot
The double uni knot is used mainly when tying your main line to your leader. It works whenever two lines need to be joined together, whether that’s braid to mono, braid to braid, or mono to mono. If you’re tying on a leader, however, you want to pay close attention to the size guides your rod has. If you’ve got micro-guides, they will severely inhibit your ability to use a leader. Because the knots won’t make it smoothly through the tiny guides, you won’t be able to cast effectively.
For the double uni knot, start by overlapping the two lines so that the tag ends are pointed in opposite directions. You want about a foot and a half of overlap. Hold the lines together at the halfway point between the tag ends. Then, take the braided end and form a loop. Bring the tag end through the loop and wind it seven or eight times around both lines. Then, hold the double line in one hand, the braided tag end in the other, and tighten the knot.
After that uni knot is tied, turn the line around so that you have the tag end of the leader to work with. Make a loop with this end, just like you did with the braided end, feed the end through the loop, and wrap it around both lines. Pull on the tag end to tighten the knot.
Finally, pull on both tag ends until the two uni knots come together. You may want to wet the line either with your mouth or in the water to help them slide better. Once everything has been pulled tight, trim off the excess tag ends.
Uni Loop Knot
This next one is a take on the uni knot used to connect the tag end of a braided line to a hook or lure. Instead of working with two different lines, like in the last knot we covered, you’ll have one line and an eyelet to work with. This will keep your braid secured to your terminal tackle whether it be a hook, lure, weight, or swivel.
To start, tie a loose overhand knot in your line, about a foot or so from the tag end. Don’t tighten the knot just yet. Then, feed the tag end through the eyelet in your lure, weight, or what have you. Once the tag end is through the eyelet, bring it through the loop you created with the overhand knot. Pull the tag end to tighten that knot and bring it down to the eyelet.
Now, use the tag end to make a loop. Wind the end through the loop and around both the main line and the overlapping part of the loop you just made. After wrapping it seven or eight times, pull on the tag end and the lure to bring the two knots together. Trim the tag end.
You’ll notice that this knot leaves the line doubled up between the knot and the lure. This is great when you’re fishing pike, muskies, or any other toothy fish. It’s much harder for the fish to bite through the short length of double line than it is just a single one. If desired, you can use a drop of waterproof glue for added stability.
Fishing Knots Not to Use with Braided Line
Now that you know a few knots that work with braided line, you should also know some standard knots that work great with mono are absolutely terrible for braid. This is where the difference between the flexibility and memory of both lines really shows. These are knots to avoid when fishing with braided line unless you want to lose your tackle.
How can you tell the difference between if you’ve used a bad knot or if your line has snapped? Take a look at the end of the line. Is it curly? That’s one indication that your knot has come undone. If you’ve pulled the knot tight and it starts to loosen up after a minute or two, it’s either tied incorrectly or won’t work for your type of line.
The clinch knot is one such knot. Even though it’s one of the first knots an angler learns to tie, it comes undone easily in a braid with enough tension. That means, if you’ve hooked a particularly heavy fish or one that’s a good fighter, the clinch will come untied at the wrong moment, leaving you holding an empty line. Even the “improved” version fails with braided line.
Take the time to practice tying a few of these knots at home. You can even start out with a piece of twine or yarn to get the basic movements down. But, make sure you’ve tried at least once with the line you’re going to use to see if it holds your knots. Knots will likely be the weakest point in your line, regardless of how well you tie them, but a few tips can help strengthen them.
When tightening your knots, use some water or a little saliva to help the line move with less friction. Tying knots causes a little bit of wear in the line that can be mitigated with this lubrication. Try a dab of waterproof glue, like Super Glue or Gorilla Super Glue for an added bit of strength. Finally, learn from your own experience. If you’re losing lures on insecure knots, make note of what you used and switch to a new knot.