I have been using the FC knot or whatever you want to call it to connect my braid to a fluoro or mono (for wrassing) leader for nearly a year and a half now, and whilst I am better at tying it in a decent bit of wind, not soon after I blogged about the knot a few times last summer (see here), I saw references to another way of tying it that at first looked pretty easy, but I tried it a few times but for some reason I couldn't get it. Well I came back to this "new" way of tying it a few weeks ago and holy cow if it didn't suddenly make sense and I could now do it as per the video below...........
Perhaps me thinking of one word throughout the video was not helping me concentrate properly (Borat), but once I had got past my immaturity it finally made sense to me and now I have two different ways of tying the same ridiculously good braid to leader knot. Which one is easier? Well they're both pretty easy with a bit of practise, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the more I practise the above way of tying it, the more I will turn to it when out fishing especially - but then the knot's so bloody strong I find it pretty rare to be tying this knot at a fishing spot anyway. I snagged up a truly beloved DUO Tide Minnow Slim 140 just the other day, good and proper as well, and pulling for a break resulted in what tends to happen if the hooks won't bend out - the knot in my 20lb fluoro that ties to my lure clip broke, so whilst I was mourning the loss of a killer lure, I simply tied on a new lure clip, picked out a new lure, and carried on fishing.
If you find that the video above doesn't make a whole load of sense, then really think about that figure of eight around the braid - this is where I was getting stuck initially, but once you get it, it's pretty simple. The trick seems to be making sure that the first figure of eight you put in gets the braid wrapping around the leader in the right direction, as in you are still after all those X-wraps as per the original video I posted up here. Get that first X-wrap right and you simply carry on with putting say ten or twelve in there, then get that first half-hitch in there, pull the living daylights out of the knot to "set" it (absolutely vital, indeed this is where a number of people fail with this knot), and then finish it off.
If it helps, I am not remotely interested in any arguments for or against using a leader on the end of your braid. Use one or don't use one - I simply don't care, and I would never try telling you what to do with your fishing. My personal view is that if you is going to use a leader then it makes sense to use the best not you can tie. Sure, the Improved Albright and Uni to Uni etc. are all good knots, but the simple fact is that this FC knot is a whole heap stronger. Do we need that extra strength for the fish we might hook in our water? Perhaps not, but I want that extra strength for the absolute confidence in pulling the hell out of the fish I hook, and perhaps more importantly when one considers the relative size of the fish we might catch on the tackle we use, I want the best possible chance of getting an (expensive) snagged lure back. OK, so I lost my Slim 140 the other day, but there have been various times when I have managed to bend hooks out and get lures back when I know that any other leader knot I might have used before would have broken before giving me that chance.
I don't always use a long leader, but once again this FC knot gives me the option of doing so, as in I can tie whatever length of leader I want and I don't have to worry about the knot catching in my rod rings and blowing my reel up. In a year and a half of using this FC knot with all manner of different lure rods, braids and leaders, I have yet to have the knot catch in a ring - and believe me, the rings near the tip of that rather special Major Craft Skyroad Wind rod (review here) are very small indeed. I like tying on a 20lb mono leader around the 6-8' length before going for a spot of wrasse fishing, and I can't really remember the last time I had to tie on another one in amongst snagging up a few Texas rigs as one might expect over 'orrible ground. Much easier.
But if there is one thing that the wholesale adoption of this FC knot has now given me, it's confirmation as to how good these modern braids really are. Some of the higher end Japanese 8-strands are almost scarily thin, but if you tie a decent FC knot then they are just as strong as hell. The same with any 4-strands I have fished with, indeed I can't think of a braid that I've used with this FC knot which has given me any concern that it wasn't strong enough. Sure, I prefer some braids to others, but in my mind this FC knot proves how strong braids are on a straight pull from a snag - and yes, wrapping line around gloves and pulling for a break at home is about as useful as a pair of neoprene chest waders on a long walk uphill.
And nothing in the last year and a half of using this FC knot has changed my opinion that most "unexplained" braid breakages are still angler error. Of course our lines can get cuts and knicks on them from rocks etc., but when I see anglers reporting that so and so line isn't strong enough I can't help but default back to my original opinion which to be honest has only been reinforced by the use of this FC knot - angler error. Why spend what can be a serious wedge of cash on a modern fishing line but persist in using knots that have quite simply been superseded by more modern knots which have been specifically developed for these modern lines? The new ways are not always the best, point taken, but some change can also be good can it not?