Offshore: Mono to Top Shot Knots - The Fisherman

Offshore: Mono to Top Shot Knots

A look at several options for connecting solid braid to a monofilament or fluorocarbon top shot.

The FG Knot (top) and the Alberto Knot (bottom) are both good options for joining solid braid to a top shot of mono or fluoro, but they’re not the only options. Specific applications and angler ability to tie a given knot should be considered as well.

When using braided line in the salt it is important to add a monofilament or fluorocarbon shot between the braid and terminal end. Braid is not nearly as abrasion resistant as mono or fluorocarbon, so if it touches anything (a rock, boat hull, anchor line, running gear, reef etc.) it can break rather easily resulting in a lost fish. Its thin diameter and no stretch properties make it very desirable as it allows you to pack on more line and has greater sensitivity. However, that no-stretch aspect can lead to pulled hooks especially at strike. It is therefore important to have a segment of line that will stretch and absorb the initial shock of a strike and offer chafe resistance down by the business end. This is where a top shot, wind-on, or shock leaders come in to play.

Solid braid does not lend itself for splicing end loops into itself so the popular loop-to-loop connection cannot be used. Thankfully there are many connecting knots to choose from that will allow you to add leader and top shots to your reels. Two knots that are simple to tie and hold up to any fish are the uni to uni and the Alberto knot. Both work well when lines of different size diameters are being connected. They are extremely strong and easy to tie. The uni knot is a simple knot that has many other purposes and makes it a good candidate to be a go-to knot. When tying two lines together you simply tie two uni knots, snug them up and slide them together. The only drawback is they tend to be bulky. For conventional gear this may be fine, but it can hang up on guides when casting and will cost you distance. For this reason, you must look to a lower profile knot for spinning gear.

The Alberto knot is another good option as it weaves the braid around the mono providing a somewhat smoother transition. Like a splice, the harder you pull the tighter the knot gets as the wraps of braid dig into the mono (picture a Chinese Finger Trap.)

For spinning gear, the PR Bobbin and FG knot are perfect options. They are both amazingly strong and low profile, and while a little more difficult to tie, they test out well with very high breaking strengths. These are similar knots that consist of weaving the braid onto the mono. The Bobbin knot requires a special tool, but is well worth the added expense. Once mastered it can easily be tied on a moving boat or out on the fishing grounds. Finish these knots with a (reverse uni) or half hitches to lock the knot in place. Keep the finishing knots simple to offer a tapper assisting them to slide through the guides better. As your knot tying skills and confidence grows you will graduate to tying FG and Bobbin knots exclusively using the Alberto and uni to uni as a fall back.

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