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August 07, 2006

Braid Knots: Some Clear Winners and Losers

Braid Knots: Some Clear Winners and Losers

At the Breaking Point / Going for Broke / Braid Knots / Results / Conclusions

One advantage that braided line offers is its exceedingly thin diameter. Being several times thinner than monofilament of the same strength means more line on a spool (or, taken from the other end, being able to use much smaller, lighter tackle for a given line class than with mono), potentially longer casts with lighter lures and a much faster sink rate with less line belly for those dropping deep.

It seems to me rather a shame to give up de facto the oft-cited 25 percent of your line's strength to the knot you tie, at least if that sacrifice can be avoided.

The good news is that you can avoid doing that. But you can also easily cost yourself even more than 25 percent of your line's strength; I found that some knots, popular and pretty effective with monofilament, may reduce your braid's strength by more than 50 percent!

Over a period of weeks, I'd pretied several hundred knots to test. There are most assuredly more types I did not test than those I did. Logistics and time limited my testing to a few types of knots. I based my choices on several factors, including general popularity, ease of tying (avoiding some of the most difficult), recognition of some as particularly "good" superbraid knots and frankly some I was just curious about.

In addition, I wanted to determine how variations in tying a specific knot might strengthen or weaken it, so you'll notice the same fundamental knot repeated in the test but tied somewhat differently.

Keep in mind that this wasn't intended to be a test of each line's knot strength, but of different knots and how they compared. Therefore, I tied/tested all knots using the same lines: 20-pound Fireline and 50-pound Powerpro. (Regarding the relative knot strength of superbraids, see "Real-World Knot-Strength Line Test: To Come.") I then tested each knot five times (or more in a couple of cases to assure results for particular lines with minimal skewing from deviation).

The knot-test charts for both 20- and 50-pound lines are sorted by break, and it's easy to tell at a glance how the knots ranked. Note that in addition to the average break point of each knot, I've listed that number as a percentage of both the spool strength (20 and 50 pounds) and the actual break strength (54.5 pounds for 20-pound Fireline and 64.8 pounds for 50-pound PowerPro).

Ostensibly, manufacturers underrate their braids to compensate for weaker knot strength. In fact very few 20-pound knots of any kind failed at less than the Fireline's spool strength. But while a knot that breaks at 20 pounds may be "100 percent" of what the line says it is, in fact you're settling for half the actual strength. Your goal should be to tie kots that come as close as possible to 100 percent of the line's true breaking strength.

The Results >>         Jump to Conclusions >>

At the Breaking Point / Going for Broke / Braid Knots / Results / Conclusions