Knots PM

Discussion in 'Tackle and Rigging' started by pametfisher, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

    The other day I got a PM that I thought raised issues that many anglers face after their first season of BFT fishing. The person who wrote wants to make sure that they have a line system that works, respects the fishery, and doesn't lead to a lot of tuna swimming around with his gear attached unneccessarily.

    Although there are many good answers, mine follows, minus the personal information.

    Hi Pamet! First off, thank you for all the thought provoking posts ... .

    I have been fishing for tuna off Cape Cod for about a year now, and landed two last fall. As everyone has been predicting larger fish this year, I changed my main line from 50# Power Pro to 80# PP. I am fishing the Penn 9500ss and St. Croix rod that everyone had reccomended as a good entry level outfit.

    I had been using the triple surgeon's knot (3s) and did not break any fish off, but I did baby them with a light drag since I was a newb. Well, after educating myself more about the possibilities, I thought I would stick with [go with] the Slim Beauty (SB). When I tested these on a scale, the 3s broke at 26 lbs. and the SB at 51 lbs. No matter how many times I tied the 3s, I could not get #'s like [others] who use the knot claimed to be getting.

    Is 50 lbs. a reasonable % of the line and Seaguar flouro leader strength(both 80# test)? I tried these on the rod when testing and could not break the SB until I sraight pulled it. The highest load on the rod was 44 pounds and my arms were shaking with effort.

    I have also seen people mention the Bimini Twist (BT) coupled with the SB as another good combo, but have not had a chance to play with it yet. By the way, the Jerry Brown (JB) hollow and loop to loop connections absolutely sound like the way to go. The JB is all new to me but your posts have broadened my horizons. If I did not change to PP when it was cold, I would have gone that way too. I think fight times are one of THE major issues(for recreationals) when it comes to the health of this fishery.

    ... I don't mind if you "sanitize" the pm for public consumption. I think it is just too important to let it languish on the sidelines. We all have a responsibility to the tuna to do the best we can! ...

    Tight lines, ...

    Hi ...,

    Thanks for the kind words. I've have fished for 50 years but had an experience much like you are having with knot strength that led me down the research path for the past couple years.

    First let me say that I own the same combo as you (2 sets) and still fish them. I also added the Stella 20K which has [a much better] drag system and an OTI Tuna Sniper 40/60 rod that I'm really pleased with. On the Penn/St. Croix setup, if you turn the drag cap till it bottoms you can get about 18 lbs. drag. The grip on the St. Croix is short at 22". I plan to hold my hand just above the grip for the end game to get additional leverage, when needed.

    Regarding the Triple Surgeon's knot, your numbers sound about right to me. If you ask me my candid opinion, the 3S is not a good knot for BFT fishing. It is not particularly strong, it is pretty big, and it gets weakened by casting. I guess, if you change it several times per fishing trip, like some say they do, it is adequate. The numbers you are getting on the Slim Beauty seem about right too.

    Is 50 lbs. a reasonable % of the line and Seaguar flouro leader strength(both 80#)? I tried these on the rod when testing and could not break the SB until I sraight pulled it. The highest load on the rod was 44 pounds and my arms were shaking with effort. It is an "okay" result, and one you should be satisfied with for now. If you used a Bimini Twist in the braid to tie the SB, I would think you should get about 70 lbs.

    If you set the initial drag on your Penn to 18 lbs. and the fish takes 3/4 of the line, your drag will increase to about 35 lbs. Therefore, you should want your knots to hold at least 50 lbs., I would target 65-70 lbs.

    Another comment, it is very hard to test the strength of knots. Any knot you tie to attach the line to something weakens it, and most scales stick at points, creating sudden resistance that can break the line you're testing. And most scales are not good near the top of their ranges. What I do is wrap each line around something 1-2" in diameter and use weights as my load. I lift very slowly and increase the weights 2.5 lbs. at a time. I suggest that you cut 4" from a wooden broom handle, sand it smooth and use it as a pulling tool.

    If you want to learn to splice and use hollow Spectra, Basil at BHP Tackle is a great guy. If you call him he will help you learn to splice. Hollow Spectra and splicing are tools that every fisherman should have.

    If you want, you can splice a piece of 80# JB hollow (10 yards or so) onto your PP 80# and get all the benefits of splicing, see Solid to Hollow Splice. Then when you want really good leaders, you can buy them. My estimate, adding a piece of 80# JB Hollow, then using loop-to-loop to a BHP Tackle 80# leader, you could get a breaking strength above 90 lbs. Why would you want that? My answer would be, why not have the best line system and concentrate on other things after you hook up, like fighting the fish.

    Best of luck,
  2. gman

    gman Senior Member

    Roger ... you are an asset to these sites your technical information has opened the eyes of many anglers including myself who are looking to do battle with these big fish. Where it was once "good enough: to assume knots and lines would hold up your new analytical approach has tremendous merit.

    Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts I for one dont want to worry about my connections I would rather concentrate on landing my fish. Good stuff

  3. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

    Good posting, Roger.
    when we targer 50 - 100 lbs tuna, knot and connection are not critical, but it becomes number one issue when we catch tuna over 150 lbs. I had two trip for big bluefin to NC and three trips to Cape Cod this year,adn I observed that most fauilures came from knot problem.
    I read a charter boat guide in Cape Cod said he never had problem with triple surgeon knot, but I know it will give problems when they use heavy drag for big tuna. I test double durgeon knot and the knot slip.
    6 - 7 turn surgeon knot should be OK as some long range boat fishermen out of San Diego use it when they have to make a knot in a hurry.

    I become a dealer of Blackwater lines and the fist question I asked them was to develope color coded hollow lines. Mid knot is fine with me even for big tuna, but I have to check constantly whether it gets loose or not.
  4. gman

    gman Senior Member

    I become a dealer of Blackwater lines

    good move they make great line especially the fluro carbon
  5. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

    good move they make great line especially the fluro carbon
    Glenn, I do lots of research to find right products for my shop. :)
    I was not happy with regular Seaguar or Varivas as I could break their 80 lbs with my hands sometimes when making knots.
    Blackwater and Seaguar Premier will be two mayor fluoro carbon leader lines I carry.
  6. padsfan

    padsfan Junior member

  7. pametfisher

    pametfisher Senior Member

    Here is the continuation of the discussion:

    Hi ! After tying numerous knots over the past few nights, I finally feel comfortable with the Bimini Twist to Slim Beauty. The play by play explanation on 360 Tuna using the reel handle was a real help to me.

    I practiced with 50# PP and 50# mono and managed to get 43 lbs. dead lifting a pail of water. I do not have weights, so I just add water gradually(checking with a scale) until it breaks. I have to say it took a while to get to the point where I feel comfortable tying it, and know when things are going wrong and to back up, or start over.

    I have had one problem when I bumped up to the 80# PP and 80# flouro. I have had these hold with no problem to 60 lbs. deadlift, but my terminal connection has broken EVERY time! I have tried all kinds of knots from uni, palomar, Ryo-shi, to just wrapping the it around the handle with regular knots. The bright side would be that IS the knot that I would prefer to be the weakest in the system, but I was hoping for more strength than that. Would you have any suggestions as to any other approaches to the terminal knot? I have used the Palomar for years and always thought it was a good knot, but not even 60 lbs.? Thank you,

    In all seriousness, you're getting good. Here is what I think is happening:

    50 lb. mono probably has an actual breaking strength of 60 lbs. since nylon is not expensive, many mfgs. pump up the strength. So if you were getting 70% of 60 lbs. that would equal about 42 lbs. for the tackle knot.

    80 lb. fluoro is probably less overrated so let's say 88 lbs. 70% of that equals about 60 lbs. for the tackle knot. So it seems to me that you're in the ball park.

    A knot could run anywhere from 50% to 70% of actual breaking strength. Take your fluoro and tie an overhand knot in the middle of a test piece. Then try your test. I'm betting you'll get 50 lbs. or so. That's a good way to test relative strength of lines since you can tie an overhand knot perfectly every time and it won't slip.

    I went through what you're going through now. It is eye opening to see how weak lines can be when they're knotted. If you don't test the lines you're using, you can't pull with complete confidence when you hook a big fish. Let me know how you make out.

    Pamet: I went out after dinner and tried the overhand knot in the seaguar 80# flourocarbon. I started at 35, then 38, and it snapped at 41 pounds. What an eye-opener!!!! I did it a second time to make sure, and it was exactly the same result.

    This was regular seaguar, not the premier line. I attended [a Captain's] trolling seminars in April and he favored the Yo-Zuri pink Flouro for strength AND price. Maybe he has a better mark up? My local shop carries it as well, but I was leary of it if you happen to be using surface lures. I would think the color would not really have a chance to disappear on the surface. But maybe I'll pick up a spool to test. We are going to take the kids fluke/scup fishing on the Sound tommorrow.

    This exercise has been very informative. I love to flyfish for trout, so the strength of knots vs. light tippets is easily apparent. But going to such heavy tackle you almost assume that it is what it claims to be. It is anything but, and the tuna will point out the weaknesses quickly. I have such respect for these fish, they are just incredible!

    You're there! This is the benefit to testing all your lines before you use them. The numbers on the box are in a 40% range--somewhere from minus 10% to plus 30%, without testing, you won't know till a big fish tells you.

    There are many factors when selecting a line: strength, suppleness, abrasion resistance, etc. If you like the suppleness and abrasion characteristics of a brand, just go up a notch on the strength if it tests too low. The number on the box is a marketing number, not a product specification that you can rely on.

    Enjoy your fishing on the sound.. Great job testing!