I make no apologies for another blog post based on the FG knot, not when it’s the best connection from braid to leader that we can use, and not when you’ve got clients snagging the odd lure in the bottom when pollack fishing and John Quinlan or I pull for breaks on the FG knots we have tied in their lines and every single time you get the leader back - either with the lure still attached after serious pressure, or with it having given on the knot that was tied on the leader to the lure clip. But have you ever had any problems with the FG knot? Perhaps it’s gone out of the blue, or like what happened to me a few years back, perhaps you give it a sample sort of pull and for some reason the knot just unravels out of the blue?
Well I reckon there are two reasons why the FG knot could fail on you - it getting scuffed badly on sharp rocks aside of course - and both I would classify as angler error, with means that both reasons can be easily avoided. Today I am the FG knot doctor! I must sound like a scratched record here, but what on earth is the point in spending good money on modern lines and then not using the best modern knot to connect your braid to leader, if indeed you use a leader that is? Sure, the Improved Albright or the Uni to Uni are decent connection knots, but the fact is that they are not as good as the FG knot.
To me it’s like spending decent money on say a lovely soft plastic lure, but then rigging it with a suspect weedless hook - it will most likely be fine for most of the fish you might connect with, but what about when that fish of a lifetime comes along? Why take the risk? There are any number of reasons for us losing fish, but I know that it’s not going to be my leader knot that fails on me - so one potential problem has been removed from the equation. How about sometimes getting expensive lures back from snags as well? Anyway, I digress…………..
With the braids and leaders we are likely to use for our own lure fishing, I put thirty turns into my FG knot, or thinking about it another way, fifteen complete cross-wraps - which is more than on the video above, but I just think that it’s required for lighter braids especially. A few years ago out in Morocco I distinctly remember pulling hard on an FG knot one morning (that I had tied the previous day) and it just unravelled and came apart easily - which of course freaked the life out of me. From that moment on I started to put those thirty turns on the knot (instead of the twenty or so I had been doing) and it has never, ever happened again (if you do the next step properly as well), indeed on the last evening of that Morocco trip I snagged a hard lure up good and proper, but got it back because I literally straightened the trebles out. The mainline if that helps was the awesome Sufix 832 braid in the 0.15mm size.
Look around the internet and there are any number of videos on how to tie the FG knot, but I still really like the one embedded into this blog post as the best one I have come across for the initial construction of the FG knot - but once I’ve done my thirty turns (or fifteen complete cross-wraps), I reckon this next step is absolutely vital to “set” the knot, and the bloke in the video does this later than I do. Oh, and if you can’t secure the braid in your teeth to get some tension, you can tie a loop in it to make it easier, or secure that loop around something that’s attached to you (small carabiner attached to your wader strap for example) , or even secure that loop around the handle on your reel to get tension, and tie the knot like that, as per the video above (thanks to the French guy who left a comment on my blog and made me aware of this technique, love the music!).
So what is this next step? Tie that first half-hitch around the leader and braid, tighten it down, and then pull the living hell out of the knot - to me this is absolutely vital, and if you don’t do it you risk the knot failing on you. This step properly tightens up those cross-wraps so that they literally “grip” onto your leader, and after that real tightening phase you can finish the knot off. I’ve done that one half-hitch so far, so now I will put a couple more in over braid and leader, then I cut the leader as close as possible, put two more half-hitches around the braid only, and then do a three turn locking knot around the braid (which is basically a three turn half-hitch - put three turns inside the loop you form instead of just the one for a half-hitch), pull it tight, and leave a bit of a tag as per the photo above. That’s the FG knot done for me, and I’ve done it in a gale of wind and on a rocking boat with no problems at all - and it just works.