Braided line offers unique strengths that make it the go-to choice for legions of anglers in both fresh- and saltwater.
Immensely strong for their diameter, you can pack a lot of braid onto a reel. That allows you to either increase the test of your line by quite a bit while still spooling on the same length or increase the length dramatically while keeping the same test you were using in mono or fluorocarbon. In some cases, you can even manage both!
Braid is also amazingly limp, retaining very little to no memory. That means that it casts superbly, especially in heavy tests where mono and fluorocarbon start to become stiff and coil.
Finally, it offers almost no stretch, allowing definitive hooksets even when you’ve got a lot of line between you and your fish. That lack of stretch has the added benefit of providing unbeatable sensitivity, and in tandem with small guides, you’ll feel every twitch of your Senko.
In short, fans of braid are on the right path.
We’ve discussed braid before, analyzing its advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of science and fact rather than myth and advertising, and if you want to know more, you should check out our article:
But braid does have a decided weakness when it comes to knots. As we’ve noted before, the average tested knot strength for braid is roughly 49 percent, meaning that 40-pound braid will suffer knot failure at a load of 20 pounds or so.
Compared head-to-head with mono or fluorocarbon, that’s far from impressive, and the reason might surprise you.
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Why Does Braid Form Weak Knots?
- 2 The Best Knots for Braid
- 2.1 The San Diego Jam Knot - Best Snug Knot for Braid to Big Lure Connection
- 2.2 The FG Knot - Strongest Braid to Leader Connection
- 2.3 The Improved Palomar Knot - Strongest Braid to Hook Knot
- 2.4 The Kreh or Non-Slip Loop Knot - Best Loop Knot for Lures
- 2.5 The Bimini Twist Knot - Strongest Knot for Saltwater Trolling
- 2.6 The Double-Uni - A Fast, Easy, Strong Knot for Leader Connection
Why Does Braid Form Weak Knots?
The secret to braid’s incredible strength is a combination of materials and construction.
Braid is woven from either Dyneema or Spectra fibers, and these ultra-strong materials simply outperform both nylon and fluorocarbon when it comes to load bearing.
But they’re incredibly slick, possessing what engineers and scientists call a “low coefficient of friction.” That means that they don’t create a lot of bite against themselves, a real problem when you’re thinking about knots.
Knots rely on pressure and friction to hold, and the lower the coefficient of friction in the line, the less load the knot can bear before slipping.
To overcome this issue, knots can be designed or improved to increase pressure, typically by adding turns or loops.
And the good news is that there are plenty of braid-ready knots for any application you might need.
The Best Knots for Braid
The San Diego Jam Knot - Best Snug Knot for Braid to Big Lure Connection
The San Diego Jam is an awesome knot for braid, combining the following strengths:
- Strong - Pursuing braid-to-lure connections that can provide 100% of your line’s test strength is like chasing down a motorcycle on foot: it isn’t going to happen! But the San Diego Jam will regularly pull 95%, which is simply fantastic.
- Fast - While maybe not quite as quick as the Modified Uni, the San Diego Jam can be tied in just seconds, getting you back to fishing when time is essential.
- Easy - Speed and simplicity work hand in glove, and the San Diego Jam is pretty easy to tie.
- Pass your line through the eye of your lure or hook, giving yourself plenty of tag end.
- Grip the tag and main lines about 4 inches from your lure, and turn the remaining tag end back toward the eye.
- Wrap the tag end around both lines 5 to 7 times, running back toward the eye.
- Pass the tag end through the loop closest to the eye.
- Then, run the tag end back through the loop you’ve been holding.
- Wet the knot and carefully cinch it down.
- Trim the tag end.
The FG Knot - Strongest Braid to Leader Connection
The FG knot is super popular among saltwater anglers who chase big fish, and the reason is clear: this knot creates an unbelievably strong connection between braid and a fluorocarbon leader.
But the FG cannot be used to connect braid to mono as the knot will fail!
Often compared to the PR Bobbin, we prefer the FG for the following reasons:
- No tool needed - The PR Bobbin may be a slightly stronger knot for making this connection, but you’ll need a tool to tie it. And even the pros pre-tie the PR Bobbin at home.
- Strong - The FG knot, tied well, will exceed the test strength of your line. It’s that good! Pros rely on the FG because it delivers when massive fish are on the hook, and you can pretty much guarantee that knot failure won’t cause you to lose a trophy or tournament.
- Start by leaning your rod away from you to create tension on your braided main line.
- Hold the tag end of the braid in your mouth.
- Cross the braid with your fluoro leader from left to right.
- Pass the tag end of the fluoro back toward your rod and around the braid for one loop.
- Pull the fluoro tight and parallel to your braid.
- Repeat this process on the opposite side of the connection, toward you.
- Repeat this process back toward your rod.
- Do this again and again, for a total of 20 to 25 passes. Make sure that you pull your fluoro tight and straight each time. Make sure, too, that each coil is tight and stacked above the previous one--never crossing or bunching.
- With the tag end of the braid, loop both lines and pass the tag end back through the loop.
- Repeat this hitch knot up to 3 more times.
- Trim the tag end of the braid.
The Improved Palomar Knot - Strongest Braid to Hook Knot
The Improved Palomar knot is unrivaled as a way to connect a hook to braid.
Designed to provide incredible pressure, you can guarantee that this knot won’t let go. But that’s not the only reason we love this knot:
- Strong - A good knot offers more than just strength, though the Palomar is among the best on this front.
Notably, it’ll hold in all line types, making it extremely versatile. And because it’s nearly impossible to “pull out,” it’s probably the top choice for bare hooks and swivels that are going to experience tremendous strain.
- Easy-to-tie - A poorly tied knot isn’t strong, and though knots like the Bimini Twist might be nominally stronger, they’re much, much harder to tie well. The beauty of the Palomar is that it’s remarkably simple and hard to get wrong.
- Fast - Ever need to retie your line when the action was really on? Every second felt like an eternity, right?
A knot that’s strong, easy-to-tie, and fast is as good as it gets, and that’s the essence of the Palomar.
- Double-over your line and pass it through the eye. Make sure to double 6-8 inches of line so that you have a loop long enough to pass over the lure, swivel, or hook.
*To tie the Improved Palomar for braid, simply wrap the eye twice with your doubled line, proceeding normally after that. (Repeat Step 1 and 2 from the illustration)
- Bring your doubled tag end back to your doubled main.
- Tie a simple overhand by passing your doubled tag over and through the doubled main.
- Pass the doubled tag line over the entire lure or hook.
- Wet your knot and gently cinch it down.
Be sure that your lines lie parallel to each other. They should not cross!
The Kreh or Non-Slip Loop Knot - Best Loop Knot for Lures
To get the most from your lures, you need a connection that lets them move freely while still holding like a gorilla. The Kreh knot is an ideal choice for this application as it creates a non-slip loop that allows your lure to strut its stuff.
We recommend the Kreh knot for the following reasons:
- Awesome action - the Kreh knot creates a loop that won’t slip, giving your lure room to breathe. In turn, this allows your expensive crankbait, torpedo, or jerkbait to really shimmy for all its worth, improving action and increasing vibration.
- Strong - Don’t worry about chasing 100% knots with fluorocarbon; that won’t happen. But the Kreh gives you roughly 83% of your line’s test strength, and that’s plenty.
- Fast - A strong knot that takes forever to tie can be great until the pressure’s on. I like knots that I can tie right now, in the heat of it, because 9 times out of 10, that’s when you’ll need to tie a new one!
- Easy - Speed and simplicity work hand in glove, and the Kreh is the easiest non-slip loop knot to tie.
- Six or seven inches from the end of your tag line, tie a simple overhand loop.
- Tighten it down just a bit, leaving plenty of gap.
- Run the tag end through the eye of your lure.
- Run the tag end back through the overhand loop on the same side that it left the overhand knot. This is critical!
- Take up most of the slack in the tag end, and pull the overhand knot tighter, but do not tighten it down!
- Holding the overhand knot and tag end between your finger and thumb, loop the tag end around the standing line 5 times.
- Bring the tag end back through the overhand loop in the same orientation as before! This is critical!
- Wet your knot.
- Cinch it down carefully by pulling the tag and standing ends simultaneously.
The Bimini Twist Knot - Strongest Knot for Saltwater Trolling
When you’re trolling for massive tuna, hard-fighting marlin, or heart-stopping mako, you need a connection between your braid and leader that just won’t give. And many of the best options require a looped end on the mainline.
There’s simply no better way to produce that loop than the Bimini Twist, and I don’t know a pelagic angler who doesn’t cherish this knot for its unyielding integrity.
- Strength - Because the Bimini Twist disperses load over a very large area, and because it employs a doubled mainline, it’s almost unbelievably strong. Tied properly in undamaged braid, it has been carefully tested up to 100% of the line’s test strength!
- 20 to 30 times. You’re looking for no less than 6 inches of loop, and some anglers like 6 feet of loop or more, which requires a helping hand!
- Holding the twists securely, put your feet through the loop and bring it up and over the outside of your knees. This will allow you to tension the knot properly.
- Tension the twists by spreading the tag and mainlines.
- By gently spreading your knees, you need to increase tension on the twists while feeding the tag end back over them. You’re trying to wrap the twists in a second layer, moving downward toward the loop.
- When your tag end reaches the bottom, secure these wraps with a simple half-hitch around one leg of the loop.
- Tie a second half-hitch on the other leg.
- Remove one leg from the loop to make it more narrow.
- Tie a third half-hitch around both legs.
- Tie a modified half-hitch around both legs, passing the tag end through the hitch three times.
- Trim the tag end.
The Double-Uni - A Fast, Easy, Strong Knot for Leader Connection
The Uni knot is well known for its general applicability in angling, and it has won a following for being strong, easy to tie, and fast.
That’s just as true of the Double Uni knot, making this a great knot for connecting braid to leader.
Why do we love it?
- Strong - The Double Uni is very strong when tied well and especially forgiving of sudden shock. That’s a great feature to have when fishing braided line, as it’s not going to provide much give when a fish makes a sudden surge.
- Easy - Unlike the excellent FG, the Double Uni is a snap to learn and tie. Just a few minutes’ practice will make you proficient for life.
- Fast - When you need to get back in the action quickly, the Double Uni is your best option for a braid-to-leader connection.
- Forgiving of dissimilar diameters - Most knots that can be used for joining mainline to leader require similar diameter lines to hold. When you’re working with braid, that’s a tough ask, and typically, your leader is much fatter than your mainline. The good news is that the Double Uni simply doesn’t care!
- Start with both lines side by side.
- Loop the tag end of one around both lines, repeating 5 to 6 times. You’re essentially duplicating a standard Uni, but rather than doubling the main line, you’re wrapping the two lines you wish to join. Don’t tighten it down!
- Loop the other tag end around both lines, repeating 5 to 6 times. Don’t tighten it down!
- Wet your knots and carefully cinch them down.