The Arbor Knot, sometimes also known as the Canadian Jam, is used by anglers to attach line to the arbor of their reels. Designed to hold fast for emergencies like retrieving a rod and reel that have gotten into the water, the Arbor Knot is not intended as a last-ditch measure should a fish take all your line!
It’s also important to realize that this knot doesn’t provide a lot of pressure on the arbor, and if you’re spooling on braided superline, you’ll need to be sure that you’ve got a braid-ready, no-slip arbor.
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The Arbor knot is an excellent choice for securing your line to your reel, but there are better choices for braided line.
In nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon, the Arbor will hold, no question, and the tighter you pull, the more you force the jamming action, holding the knot tighter. Simple overhand knots aren’t the best knots out there, though they do work in this application.
The issue appears when you're using braid, as this knot will probably not provide enough tension against the arbor. As a result, there’s a good chance it’ll slip as you try to spool on your line.
Monofilament and fluorocarbon both possess what engineers and scientists call a “high coefficient of friction.” In plain English, that means that they bite and grip against themselves well.
Normally, this is important because a knot holds due to the friction it creates against itself. In this case, the issue is a bit different--the real issue isn’t the overhangs coming loose but rather the friction the loop creates against the arbor of your reel, allowing you to spool without slippage.
Braided lines are notoriously slick, even though they feel abrasive to your bare fingers. The Dyneema and Spectra fibers from which these lines are woven have very low coefficients of friction compared to mono and fluoro, necessitating more twists, turns, and bends in knots intended for braid.
But in the case of the Arbor, you’ll be relying on a single loop around the spool, and unless your reel is designed for braid, that’s not likely to offer enough friction to hold it in place.
If you’re spooling superline, you’ll need a reel with an arbor designed for braid.
Unlike most knots, you really only need the Arbor to hold initially. Let’s face it: if you think you’ve still got a chance at a fish that’s stripped off all your line, you’re kidding yourself!
The only real work the Arbor Knot does is allow you to spool line onto your reel.
That said, it can fail, and these are the most common culprits: