How I tie my Bimini Twists

Discussion in 'Tackle and Rigging' started by Atlantaking, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Atlantaking

    Atlantaking Member

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    In response to the Alberto knot thread and the questions about the Bimini Twist, here’s my way of tying the Bimini Twist. It’s not pretty; working the camera with both hands tied up (pun intended :p ) isn’t easy. Anyhow, this isn’t the only way, nor am I saying this is the best or quickest, but I can tie one easily within a minute. It’s just my way that requires only your two hands, a rod and a reel (my lovely Blue Yonder, in this case). The line I’m using is 20lb Ande in the “Envy Green” color for the highest visibility on camera. I'm using 20lb Ande because I do use it for surf-fishing, and the shock leader knot system I use is a short loop BT with a no-name. Some of the pics are rather dark, and I brightened them up as best I could. Enjoy.

    OK. As promised, two hands, a rod and a reel. Well, and line, of course :p Thread the line through the rod, all the way through the tip and all. Pull down enough to reach the reel, plus around a couple feet extra. Put the reel in gear and tighten the drag.
    [​IMG]

    Make a loop, leaving about 12” of tag end. Hold the standing end and the tag end with one hand, and the loop with the other.
    [​IMG]

    Make 20 twists however you can (I use 20 for mono, and 40 for braid). I just “twirl” my left hand and each time it goes around, it makes a twist, so I go 20 times. This part is hard to explain without a video camera so you’ll just have to think about it. ;)
    [​IMG]

    Now, here’s the part that gets people…”what do I do now that I have a loop in one hand, two strand of line in the other?” and “just how in the [email protected]@#%^$%@^ am I supposed to pull the standing end straight, the tag end at a 90 degree angle, and push the twists up to form the bimini twist portion?” Well, here’s the answer, as was mentioned before: loop the loop onto the reel. This frees up a hand to push the twists up towards the tag end while allowing the other hand to hold the tag end at a 90 degree angle. After you’ve looped the loop onto the reel, crank down the handle so that it tightens up the standing end and keeps it all tight. Keep your grasp on the tag end this whole time!!!
    [​IMG]

    Now, at this point, if you’ve been following the directions, the rod and reel should just be sitting there in your lap or in a rod holder, a slight bend in the rod because the line is tightened down, and your hand holding the tag end. Your other hand should be free, and the knot thus far should not fall apart.

    Start the twists by pulling the tag end up at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the line. Keep holding the tag end!
    [​IMG]

    While still holding the tag end, stick your finger between the crook formed by the twists between the reel and the main body of twists. Push (or pull, depending on your angle) the “crook” towards your hand holding the tag end, letting the first few wraps coil onto the main body of the twists. Don’t worry too much about it being loosely spaced, just get the “barrel twists” on top like in the left portion of the pic where the tag has collapsed back onto the twists and is forming more twists on top of the existing ones. Make sense?
    [​IMG]

    Still with me? Still holding the tag end? Good. Let’s proceed. As the first few twists form up, you can push them together to form the tight “barrel twists” in the body by keeping one finger of the pushing hand in the crook, and pushing with the thumb and fore finger of the same hand. Basically, you want to make the barrel twists tight and neat, while keeping twists under it. After that’s done, finish making the barrel twists on top of the body until the loop of line on the reel has no more twists, as seen in the picture.
    [​IMG]

    Here’s a picture of the body of the Bimini Twist close up. Note that the barrel wraps are smooth and tight against each other, with no gaps, and the two legs of the loop are straight. The lines under the barrel wraps are still crossed several times and are locked in by the barrel wraps; this is what contributes to the integrity of the knot. Keep holding the tag end!
    [​IMG]

    Tie a half hitch around one leg of the loop. Now, you can let go of the tag end because the half hitch locks in the body of the BT so it won’t come undone. Some folks like to put a half hitch around the other leg, and then one around both legs after. If it strikes your fancy, feel free. Hey, it’s your line!
    [​IMG]

    To finish the knot, you make a loop with the tag end, and bring the tag inside the loop around the two legs 4-6 times.
    [​IMG]

    Now, slowly draw it down until the big loop is gone, but still loose. Lube it up generously with spit, and in one quick, smooth motion, draw it tight against the body of the BT.
    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q131/AKPS2006/DrawnDown.jpg

    Tighten and trim the tag end.
    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q131/AKPS2006/FinishedStillonReel.jpg

    Here’s the finished product. You should have a nice, small neat knot and then a loop. The loop is the double line portion of my shock leader knot and the Bimini Twist is what forms it. Depending on the initial size of the loop, you can make the finished loop bigger or smaller. If I'm tying a long bimini in mono, I usually will make as many turns around the body of the reel as needed before making the 20 twists (by passing the tag end around the standing end 20 times). Then, continue as above.
    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q131/AKPS2006/FinishedStillonReel.jpg

    Here’s a close up of the knot.
    http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q131/AKPS2006/FinishedCloseup.jpg

    :)
     
  2. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Excellent pictures and description Atlantaking. Did you take those by yourself while tying the knot. If so, you are a man among men.
     

  3. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    Very nice.. thats a lot better explanation than I could have done.. its hard enough to do it by yourself, much less take photos of the process..
     
  4. SkeeterRonnie

    SkeeterRonnie Senior Member

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    on a side note. How do you like the cork grips as opposed to hypalon for salt fishing? Nice knot and description.
     
  5. Basil

    Basil Site Sponsor

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    Excellent...
     
  6. TeamOso

    TeamOso Senior Member

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    I do what you do....25 wraps cinch down cept to hold the knot I do a half hitch on the left then a half hitch on the right, then a half hitch around the whole loop....is this alright?
     
  7. Fishhead56

    Fishhead56 Senior Member

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    Excellent...........

    Six kids in my mom's familey (2 left handers) and we still all tie our shoes
    different..........sp............?
     
  8. fishr1989

    fishr1989 Senior Member

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    great description!!

    very easy to understand
     
  9. Ragman

    Ragman Moderator

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    Very nice and thanks for posting!
     
  10. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

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    Thank you Atlantaking. I now have a full understanding of what is done.
    gonna try this & the "alberto" tonight.:D
    One question.........
    How the hell does one tie this knot AND scroll my mouse down to
    read the directions, all while holding the tag end?:confused:

    welcome to 360.tuna!
    -Brian
     
  11. Atlantaking

    Atlantaking Member

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    MrBill, I did take those pictures myself...I had the camera set up on a tripod, zoomed in properly and taken with a timer. ;) I took at least 4 pictures of each shot so it was a lot of posing and retying. :D

    SkeeterRonnie, the cork is cork tape on one of my surf rods. It holds up ok, but I use it with the understanding that it requires replacement from time to time. Once it gets tattered, I pull it off and replace it. I still prefer the feel of cork tape on a surf stick...I'm old school :eek:

    TeamOso, I like the uni to finish off the BT because it can't unravel. When you're cinching down the uni at the end, sort of "massage" it so that the loops form over the tag end.

    lite-liner, to scroll while trying to tie a BT, use your tongue :p:D
     
  12. jureal

    jureal Senior Member

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    TeamOso, I like the uni to finish off the BT because it can't unravel. When you're cinching down the uni at the end, sort of "massage" it so that the loops form over the tag end.

    Great photos and descriptions. I do mine similar to your way. One major exception is the final tie off. Do the same uni but take your loop and start winding it onto the double and tag at the same time. Your winding should be in the direction that will cause the uni to unwind. In other words, unwind the uni while winding around the three lines. When done, pull the tag end through and you are done.
     
  13. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    MrBill, I did take those pictures myself...I had the camera set up on a tripod, zoomed in properly and taken with a timer. ;) I took at least 4 pictures of each shot so it was a lot of posing and retying. :D

    SkeeterRonnie, the cork is cork tape on one of my surf rods. It holds up ok, but I use it with the understanding that it requires replacement from time to time. Once it gets tattered, I pull it off and replace it. I still prefer the feel of cork tape on a surf stick...I'm old school :eek:

    TeamOso, I like the uni to finish off the BT because it can't unravel. When you're cinching down the uni at the end, sort of "massage" it so that the loops form over the tag end.

    lite-liner, to scroll while trying to tie a BT, use your tongue :p:D

    Sorry that I'm so late to this post but I just joined. Let me begin by saying that I've just started tying the Bimini Twist this year and I've searched out a couple dozen "how to-s" on tying the BT. Yours is by far the clearest explanation, better than any of the videos I'd seen. And I like your method of using the rod and reel to get the extra hand or two one needs to tie the BT well. I won't have to jam my rod into the living room furniture and walk away to tension the line. Thank you for such great photos.

    I'm tying the BT in 50# braid and began tying it to get a maximum strength 50# braid to 50# leader connection. (I was shocked to learn, from my own break testing, how easily most knots break in braid but that will be another post.)

    1. As you mention in your instructions, a few twists remain under the barrel wrap. I counted about 16-17 barrel wraps and you started with 20 twists so that would mean about 3-4 remain under the wraps, does that sound right? (I've done the experiment on braid and start with 40 and end up with 15 underneath.)

    2. The tighter the twists when you begin wrapping, the fewer the barrel wraps but the more twists under the wraps. How tightly do you pull up the twists when you make your BT in braid? (The BT seems to get a little weaker if I pull them too tightly before wrapping when I break test them. Also seems to get a little weaker if I make the first few barrel wraps too tight.)

    3. Since this knot works by friction, have you or anyone come up with an optimum number of starting twists for braid? (One writer/tester at sportfishingmag.com thinks 12 is better than 20 is better than 30. Which makes no sense and in my tests slips immediately.)

    I'm starting to think that there is an "ideal" lay/angle of the twists before wrapping starts, especially for the very slippery braid. All thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  14. Atlantaking

    Atlantaking Member

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    Sorry that I'm so late to this post but I just joined. Let me begin by saying that I've just started tying the Bimini Twist this year and I've searched out a couple dozen "how to-s" on tying the BT. Yours is by far the clearest explanation, better than any of the videos I'd seen. And I like your method of using the rod and reel to get the extra hand or two one needs to tie the BT well. I won't have to jam my rod into the living room furniture and walk away to tension the line. Thank you for such great photos.

    I'm tying the BT in 50# braid and began tying it to get a maximum strength 50# braid to 50# leader connection. (I was shocked to learn, from my own break testing, how easily most knots break in braid but that will be another post.)
    Generally in braided line, I like to do 40-50 turns before starting the barrel wrap. Since braid is a good bit slipperier than mono, and it doesn't have any bite like mono, it needs the extra turns to maintain the integrity.

    1. As you mention in your instructions, a few twists remain under the barrel wrap. I counted about 16-17 barrel wraps and you started with 20 twists so that would mean about 3-4 remain under the wraps, does that sound right? (I've done the experiment on braid and start with 40 and end up with 15 underneath.)
    Actually, I lied, I made 22 turns in that pic :p I've thought about it and I think that 3-4 twists under the barrel wraps is enough as each would bear only 1/3 to 1/4 of the total strain. However, I test it by pulling both legs to make sure.

    2. The tighter the twists when you begin wrapping, the fewer the barrel wraps but the more twists under the wraps. How tightly do you pull up the twists when you make your BT in braid? (The BT seems to get a little weaker if I pull them too tightly before wrapping when I break test them. Also seems to get a little weaker if I make the first few barrel wraps too tight.)
    So before I start making the barrel wraps, I push the crook of twists nearest the loop up towards the other end so that the twists are compressed. It doesn't have to be super tight, but shouldn't be so loose that there are too few twists either. However, when you start with 40-50 twists in the braid, you'd end up with plenty under the barrel wraps.

    3. Since this knot works by friction, have you or anyone come up with an optimum number of starting twists for braid? (One writer/tester at sportfishingmag.com thinks 12 is better than 20 is better than 30. Which makes no sense and in my tests slips immediately.)
    I seriously question the 12-turn BT in that magazine because I don't feel that there are enough twists/barrel wraps in the knot to absorb the strain. Mono, which has a bit of bite to it when tied, works well with 20-24 wraps, while I go as high as 50 in braided line.

    I'm starting to think that there is an "ideal" lay/angle of the twists before wrapping starts, especially for the very slippery braid. All thoughts would be appreciated.
    I think there very well may be an optimal angle of the twist. I think having the twists too compact can be detrimental just as having the twists too loose. Too compact would probably mean that the angle of the two legs of the line is greater than 90 degrees because it means that each line is wrapped around each other with a 90 degree bend. Too loose means the angle the two legs is less than 60 degrees with the resulting bend in each line over 120 degrees. I don't know, but I'll think about it some more and do some force vector calculations. It's a very interesting point that I haven't thought of before. :)
     
  15. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    You get to where the knot wraps itself--literally, you can feel the correct angle and you just let it flow. I know that sounds silly, but I have found it to be true, especially with smoother PE lines--I have more trouble with say, Power Pro. Personally I use my bare big toe for a small loop and my bent kneecap (while sitting) for a larger loop. The major trick is to keep tension at all times on all parts of the knot.
     
  16. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

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    I think there very well may be an optimal angle of the twist. I think having the twists too compact can be detrimental just as having the twists too loose. Too compact would probably mean that the angle of the two legs of the line is greater than 90 degrees because it means that each line is wrapped around each other with a 90 degree bend. Too loose means the angle the two legs is less than 60 degrees with the resulting bend in each line over 120 degrees. I don't know, but I'll think about it some more and do some force vector calculations. It's a very interesting point that I haven't thought of before. :)

    Thanks for your comments and thoughts. You've got a lot of good observations there. I'd be interested in anything further you come up with, since breaking strength is related to the angle of the first turn in a knot. I've since done some more testing and research on the subject and have a couple of posts I'd like to share.

    First, a post with a good description of the mechanics of the Bimini Twist.

    http://www.danblanton.com/viewmessage.php?id=51228

    Second, a long summary of GSP Braid as a material and knots in it, the first post.

    Me and GsP - SurfTalk

    Third, the other day, I made a 100-initial-turn Bimini in Daiwa 55# 8-strand braid (I just got a sample and like it, very smooth and stronger than PowerPro for the diameter). I lifted 60 pounds of dead weight. After that, I cut the loop in half and tied a swivel to the "tag" side to see how much weight it would hold. To my surprise, it held 35 pounds. I didn't have time to go further. I estimate that there are 35-40 "final-twists" under the wraps after starting with 100.