As the old saying goes, "If you can't tie knots, tie lots." This couldn't be stated any better, as practice definitely makes perfect. However, becoming proficient in knot tying requires not only a firm grasp on the procedure; proper knot selection for specific applications is equally important and essential in your quest to becoming a well-rounded angler.
In regards to knot failure, angler error is the most often cause of frustration and one that can easily be avoided. Hours and possibly days of preparation could be negated do to a knot that slips, chafes and ultimately parts. While some fish simply aren't meant to be caught, faulty connections are often the direct result of inexperience and working in less than ideal conditions.
While there are numerous knots and slight variations to each, perhaps none are as important as those used to create double lines. From shallow water fly casters to blue water hunters, double lines are essential in optimizing the connection of main line and leader, in addition to providing enhanced abrasion resistance.
While this legendary knot's history is somewhat uncertain, its existence can only be attributed to the island of Bimini's bluefin tuna heydays. Although the Bimini twist looks difficult to master, with proper instruction and a bit of practice it becomes second nature. If you want to learn how to tie a Bimini twist you should start with 50lb. monofilament. If you try and learn with heavier line the knot is difficult to get the hang of and with smaller diameters the knot's details become too difficult to see. Once you have a firm grasp on the technique you can put it to use with nearly any diameter monofilament or braided line. The major appeal of the Bimini twist is that it is one of few knots that retains 100% breaking strength, although if tied improperly all bets are off in regards to holding power.
Start by pulling enough line from your reel to make the desired length of double line. Make sure to leave a generous amount of tag line to work with. Hold the standing line and tag line with one hand and place your other hand inside the loop. Make about 20 twists.
You want to keep tension on the line throughout the entire process and depending on the length of your double line you can either place the loop over a rod handle or cleat to free up your hands. If you're trying to achieve a longer double line you can place the loop around your feet while in a seated position.
Lubricate the twists and with either your knees or hand, gradually spread the standing line and tag line to compress the twists into a tight spiral. Place your index finger below the spiral and simultaneously lift your finger while placing the tag line at a 90° angle to the standing line. This is the most critical part of the entire knot and slowly loosening tension on the tag line will help the line wrap neatly around the spirals. Be sure to guide the wraps carefully, making sure they sit perfectly. The next step is to secure the knot so it does not unravel.
With the tag line make a half hitch around one of the legs of the loop. To finish the knot take the tag line and make another half hitch over both legs of the loop but do not tighten.
Make two more turns around both legs inside the half hitch and pull tight.
Trim the remaining tag line and be sure to give the knot a good test.
A spider hitch is much easier to tie than the Bimini twist and will suffice for light tackle applications. Generally used with no more than 30lb. test, the spider hitch isn't as durable as the Bimini twist but can be tied much faster. The drawback to the spider hitch is that if not completed properly, the line will cut through itself. Given the option, always opt for a Bimini twist, although if you are in a time crunch a spider hitch will do the trick.
Start by doubling your desired length of main line and create a loop where you want the knot to sit.
Hold the loop between your thumb and index finger and wrap the doubled section of standing line around your thumb five times. Pass the double line through the smaller loop that's pinched between your thumb and index finger and carefully pull on the double.
Let the loops slowly unwind off your thumb and once the knot is set, simultaneously pull on the tag line and double line to tighten.
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