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August 03, 2007

Bristol Knot Break Analysis

Actual breaking strength test results

The Bristol should be strong since it connects a heavy mono leader with a doubled piece of the main line. In any case, keep in mind that the Bristol only needs to be as strong as your Bimini to do its job. In that respect, testing showed that most lines perform more than adequately in providing a secure line-to-leader connection, with all but just a few coming in 100 percent or (often, considerably) more.

Braids for which seven-turn Bristol knots broke at more than 120 percent of the line's actual strength (when tied to 50-pound mono leader)

? Daiwa Saltiga Surf (139 percent)
? Western Filament TUF-Line XP (139)
? Stren Sinking Braid (134)
? Western Filament TUF-line (121)

Braids for which seven-turn Bristol knots broke at considerably less than 100 percent of the line's actual strength (when tied to 50-pound mono leader)

? Triple Fish Bully Braid (80 percent)
? Spiderwire Ultracast (80)
? Berkley FireLine (66)

Monofilaments for which seven-turn Bristol knots broke at 170 percent or more of the line's actual strength (when tied to 80-pound leader)

? Berkley Big Game IGFA (189 percent)
? Stren Super Knot (179)
? Sufix Key Lime IGFA (177)
? Hi-Seas White Lightning (175)
? Offshore Angler Tight Line (173)
? Maxima Crystal Ivory (173)
? Hi-Seas Grand Slam (170)

Monofilaments for which seven-turn Bristol knots broke at less than 90 percent of the line's actual strength (when tied to 80-pound leader)

? Platypus Lo-Stretch (86 percent)
? Spiderwire Super Mono XXX (82)
? Hi-Seas Quattro Plus (72)

Test Results



Brand Line

% of Actual Strength

 Actual Break Range

Standard Deviation

Monofilament Lines
Berkley Big Game IGFA 189
35.1 - 35.2
0.1
Stren Super Knot 179
44.2 - 49.4
2.9
Sufix Key Lime IGFA  177
36.2 - 40.1
1.9
Hi-Seas White Lightning 175
34.1 - 39.2
2.8
Offshore Angler Tight Line 173
29.8 - 34.1
3.4
Maxima Crystal Ivory 173
38.3 - 39.8
0.2
Hi-Seas Grand Slam 170
47.1 - 48.4
0.7
Platypus Super-100 160
29.6 - 35.4
3.1
Hi-Seas Black Widow 159
25.7 - 38.9
6.6
Triple Fish Camo-Escent (Perlon) 152
42.2 - 44.2
1
Sufix Tritanium Plus 152
43.4 - 44.7
1.5
Maxima IGFA Class Line 150
25.5 - 29.7
2.1
Hi-Seas Red Devil 149
41.3 - 45.2
1.9
Berkley Big Game 148
40.9 - 44.6
2.1
Triple Fish Fluorocarbon 146
29.8 - 32.4
1.3
Triple Fish Rx Spinning 144
30.6 - 40.7
5.1
Cortland Endurance Super Premium 142
32.1 - 41.3
5.2
Stren High Impact 140
36.2 - 47.1
6.1
Pradco Silver Thread Fluoro 138
33.3 - 35.6
1.2
Penn Premium 135
29.8 - 34.1
2.2
Penn Professional 134
39.3 - 42.4
1.7
Berkley Trilene XT 133
41.4 - 44.2
1.4
Pradco Super Silver Thread 133
32.5 - 41.1
4.4
Shakespeare Cajun Red Lightnin' 131
24.2 - 32.8
4.7
Mustad Thor 131
29.6 - 44.3
3.4
izorline Platinum 130
34.2 - 45.9
6.2
Platypus Classic 129
28.5 - 35.8
3.8
izorline XXX Super Co-Polymer 128
41.1 - 42.6
0.8
Berkley Big Game Supreme 126
45.7 - 46.0
0.2
izorline First String 125
39.1- 40.8
0.1
Momoi Hi-Catch  122
25.5 - 29.7
4.1
Triple Fish X-rated 121
25.4 - 30.9
2.7
Platypus Pre-Test 121
25.0 - 28.5
2.1
Stren Original 121
29.2 - 39.2
5.5
Bass Pro Shops Bass Pro Shops Excel 120
27.5 - 29.3
1
Platypus Platinum 118
26.7 - 29.3
1.3
Berkley Trilene XL 117
27.5 - 33.7
3.1
Yo-Zuri Hybrid (Fluoro/Mono) 114
29.9 - 36.6
4.9
Pradco Silver Thread Excalibur 114
27.4 - 33.2
3.1
Ande Premium  111
27.5 - 33.2
2.9
Shakespeare Cajun Red Cast 111
25.1 - 28.4
1.8
Pradco Silver Thread Salt Water 111
25.6 - 38.8
7.2
Berkley Vanish Transition  109
24.3 - 24.6
0.2
Triple Fish Ultra Viz Perlon 104
23.9 - 27.8
2.1
Triple Fish Armor Tough 104
24.4 - 32.9
4.6
Shakespeare Cajun Advantage 104
26.6 - 32.8
3.7
Pradco Silver Thread AN40 102
22.0 - 28.8
3.5
Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon 98
22.4 - 26.9
2.3
Stren DuraTuf 97
27.3 - 33.1
3
Sufix Elite 97
24.0 - 32.8
5.4
Berkley Big Game Hi-Test 96
29.0 - 30.9
1.1
Sufix Siege 90
24.6 - 30.3
3
Platypus Lo-Stretch 86
17.2 - 20.0
1.5
SpiderWire Super Mono XXX 82
21.1 - 24.6
2
Hi-Seas Quattro Plus 72
18.8 - 22.1
1.9
       
Braided Lines
Daiwa Saltiga Surf  139
27.6 - 32.9
1.8
Western Filament TUF-Line XP 139
24.5 - 27.3
1.7
Stren Sinking Braid 134
26.6 - 31.2
1
Western Filament TUF-Line 121
28.7 - 36.0
2.9
izorline Brutally Strong 117
31.1 - 31.7
0.2
Cortland Spectron 117
33.0 - 42.9
2.3
Shakespeare Ugly Braid 112
27.1 - 31.2
0.3
Ande Braid 112
32.6 - 36.5
0.8
Stren Super Braid 110
32.3 - 41.0
3.4
PowerPro Superline 108
34.2 - 42.0
0.8
Sufix Performance Braid 105
31.3 - 34.3
0.6
Offshore Angler Magibraid 104
27.2 - 31.0
2.1
Platypus Super-Braid 102
34.0 - 39.7
0.5
Berkley Big Game Braid 97
33.3 - 41.8
1.8
SpiderWire Stealth 96
36.1 - 39.9
1
Triple Fish Bully Braid 80
37.9 - 40.5
1.7
SpiderWire Ultracast 80
25.9 - 46.8
1.4
Berkley FireLine Crystal 66
26.2 - 35.4
2

 


 

Discussion
The results certainly suggest that most lines are fine for tying a Bristol knot, but a few would seem to be a poor choice for those who tie Bristol knots regularly. In fact, there may be a correlation, with some knots that performed poorly in Bristol strength also not faring well when tied with other knots. But hard/fast rules would be risky. Yet again, line testing seems to raise as many questions as answers. As noted, these tests measured seven-turn Bristol knots. Carefully read the sidebar, "Fine-Tuning the Bristol" (page 81), since it shows how things can change with more or fewer turns.

Using only four turns in monofilaments made for slightly or significantly stronger Bristol knots. For example, Spiderwire Super Mono XXX went from a mean break of 23.4 to 47.0 at the Bristol - that is, from just 82 percent of the line strength to more than 200 percent! The ranking of braided lines for Bristol knots would also change - generally increasing - for more turns. Unfortunately due to limited time, I could test only a few more monos for Bristols tied with more and fewer turns; I'd have liked to have tested all lines that way to determine the optimal number of turns, but that will have to wait for a future test.

I can point out, at least, that some lines seem to "like" the Bristol knot, and some don't. That is, some lines cinched right down when pulled as snug as possible into neat, tight loops, while with other lines, the leader loops seemed unwilling to slide together. The result was a ragged-looking knot. But how much does this matter? I had figured the tightly cinched Bristols would prove strongest, but in fact, most of the ragged-looking knots gradually pulled together into a tight package as the pressure increased, and generally broke as strongly as those that had easily cinched by hand into a compact knot. (It's certainly possible that the neat, tight Bristols might have the advantage in a situation of sudden "snapping" pressure versus a gradual pull, however.)

Keep in mind that very strong Bristol knots - such as those testing in the 130 percent range for braids and in the 170s for monofilaments - may not matter. That is, your rig will always be only as strong as its weakest knot. So, for example, while Daiwa's Saltiga Surf in 20-pound should give you a seven-turn Bristol (tied to 50-pound mono) of about 130 percent that breaks around 30 pounds, the Bimini twist just above the Bristol offers a knot of 81 percent strength that will break around 17 1/2 pounds. In this example, it doesn't matter much if the Bristol breaks at 130 percent or 90 percent. For all lines, Bristol-knot strength must also take into account the strength of the Bimini knot above it.


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