How to maximise your time on the water (quick change system for light tackle and lure fishing)
Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Here is a short blog on a solution we have to a problem that can be prevalent to anglers fishing with braided mainlines in the harsh saltwater environments we find out here in the tropics.
I took the idea from the fly fishing world as being a fishing guide; I regularly guide clients who either fly or lure fish. This fact is helpful as it gets the old grey matter buzzing with ideas and thoughts on how to improve both styles for my client's ease and success, along with the increased efficiency of myself.
Braided lines have a vast number of benefits and have transformed the world of modern lure and light tackle fishing. The fine diameter, strength and lack of stretch to name but a few pros greatly help in our day to day fishing; however, there are a few small negatives to using a braided mainline. Of the negatives, the two I am most concerned about are knot strength and reel capacity. It might sound like an odd combination, but stay with me, and it will all make sense.
Modern braided lines are incredibly thin for the given breaking strain an offer very little to no stretch. They can also be quite slippery when tying knots. As a result, conventional knots aren't as successful and can result in vastly lower rates of knot strength compared to if tied in mono or fluorocarbon. This may sound like a problem and it is. Now ordinarily if you were to take some 20lbs braid and connect it to 20lbs fluorocarbon via a double uni knot then this would suffice for your once a week fishing trip. The knot strength wouldn't be massive, but it would most likely suffice. Down here in the tropics, however, it is a different story. Species like Bonefish, Permit and Triggerfish fight very hard and put a tremendous strain on your gear. When you then factor in the amount of use that our tackle gets and the abuse it is put through, then you have a recipe for disaster. The last thing I would ever want is my client to lose a dream fish because I wasn't completely focused one day, and the knot slipped or broke.
A final point to throw in is that we have a wide variety of fishing down here and it is really helpful to be able to change leaders quickly to different diameters/breaking strains and to increase or decrease the length of leader as and when needed. There are certain places down here that I prefer a longer leader to help avoid the brain cutting on coral or rocks and other areas where a short leader of finer diameter for tailing fish is preferred. As such, I need a knot that is small and
can easily slide through the guides on the rod.
To this end I have devised this system below:
(brief video on system)
This system uses a double Bimini twist which is very small and almost 100% knot strength when tied correctly. This knot is also the same knot I use when rigging up my backing connection to my fly line on all our fly reels. The double loops help to spread the load and also avoid too much pressure on one individual standing leg, which could cause the braid to cut into thinner diameter leaders. To this we then tie a Rapala loop knot in our length of leader material (one of the strongest loop knots you can tie) and cats paw the loop through both braid loops in the Bimini 3 times. This again helps to avoid excess pressure on the leader which could lead to braid cutting into the leader. This system takes a little bit of getting used to, but I guarantee that with a bit of practice, you will see the benefits as it results in a thin, smooth and robust connection that is as close to 100% knot strength possible. The ease of switching leader is also a huge benefit and something that sets this apart compared to say and FG or PR type knot
Finally the other added benefit is that now you have the one knot in your braid, you are not cutting back multiple feet of line every time you would like to change leader. This means you can fill the spool and guarantee that you have the same amount of line each time. This is especially helpful with some reels that can be a little funny if over or under spooled and result in wind knots. I have used this system for a while now and can attest to just how easy and effective it is. Give it a try next time you are out and see if it becomes as useful for you as it has for me.