Henry Gilbey
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One of the best leader knots I've seen

I know and use a few knots which have worked for me in different ways over the years, but I also do my best to keep an open mind and keep my eyes open to how I might do things better. It's far too easy to sit back in some fug of contentment that everything is great, nothing is better than how you are doing it already, and there's no need to ever change because "this is the way I've been doing it for years so what's the point of changing" ? Not for me.

I accept completely that leader knots are hardly the most exciting thing in the world, but I also know how many ropey knots I see that then lead to anglers losing fish and/or complaining about various lines when in fact (and I stand by my belief that when fishing gear fails), more often than not it's user error. What, we anglers make mistakes ? Not possible !! Well it is, and we will become better anglers if we can examine what we might do wrong sometimes and then improve it. I will never cease to be amazed at all the time and money that can go into fishing yet many anglers invest so little skill and time into their basic fundamentals like knots.

I am perfectly happy with the leader knot that I use for my lure fishing here in the UK and Ireland. Bass, wrasse and pollack might all be wonderful fish, but GTs they are not, and I am not getting any problems with my current leader knot (braid to fluoro) snapping on me when I am into fish. I fish with a tight drag, I tend to give fish a bit of stick, and my leaders are holding up fine. I am also fishing with very short fluoro leaders and I always make sure that my leader knot (Improved Albright, 3-turn locking knot) sits outside the rod rings when I cast - no knot catching in rod rings for me and blowing my reel up (nodding to a certain friend of mine, no names mentioned !!).

Almost as a default I have tended to use a short length of 20lb fluoro as my leader, but this year especially has got me thinking about lighter and potentially longer leaders as well. My trips over to Ireland so far have coincided with a lot of calm, bright days (finally, a decent summer) when we have had to work hard for our fish, and you can't help but start thinking about using lighter lines and longer leaders to do as much as you can to prevent spooking spooky fish in shallow, clear and calm water. No worries though, the leader knot I use works perfectly well on lighter fluoro, but one problem I have is that I can't really use a longer leader which then results in my leader knot lying amongst the guides when you cast, because this tiny knot will sometimes catch on one of those rings and blow your braid up.

I am aware of some of the specialist knots that the big fish anglers use for species such as GTs on big poppers etc. where they have the same issue with not wanting a great big knot passing through rod rings on the cast, but for the most part they look pretty complicated to tie and take a fair amount of time as well. So I asked the question the other day on my Facebook page about lighter and longer leaders and a nice guy by the name of Kevin McLean kindly posted the knot tying video that you can see above. OK, so it's hardly a very exciting video, but the knot that the bloke ties is just awesome.

I took a quick look at the video and nearly turned it off because initially the knot looked a bit complicated, but if you are remotely interested then do follow it through as it's actually very easy to understand. A couple of attempts at the knot with the video playing and I reckon you'll have it licked. I believe the knot is a variation on the GT or FG knot, but with the lighter lines we are using there seems to be no need for quite so many cross-wraps and then half-hitches etc. to finish it off. Contrary to the tying video though, I am not finishing my knot off with glue and at the moment all I am doing is one half-hitch in at the end around the mainline and leader tag end to secure those twelve cross-wraps, tightening it all up, and then putting in three more half-hitches (all in opposite directions to each other if that makes sense) to finish it off.


Tell me that isn't the neatest, smallest leader knot you have come across - the fact that no knot is being tied in the fluoro or mono leader initially freaked me out a little, but if I wrap 20lb braid tied like this to say a 16lb fluoro leader around my hands and try to pull for a break then I can't do it, and that's plenty strong enough for me and my UK/Irish lure fishing.


I took the knot out fishing the other evening, and whilst the fishing was garbage, I used this knot and deliberately tied on a length of fluoro leader that made sure this knot was always in amongst the rod rings when I was casting - and never once did it catch a ring and give me grief. Sure, you can hear the knot going out, but I tried all kinds of lures and the knot performed flawlessly. I am not sure I'd be itching to re-tie this knot when it's windy, but my leader is always tied before I go fishing and if I need to break out of a snag then I'll see how retying it goes over time.


The fact there is a complete lack of "bulk" to the knot and also no tag sticking out anywhere on the knot must be the key to it, but this aside, obviously my first priority for a fishing knot is strength. Give me some time to fish plenty more with this knot, but it seems as strong as you like to me, and if the knot originates from something used to animalize GTs over rough ground then that sounds pretty good to me. To give you some sense of scale to these photographs of one of my knots (and bear in mind that I have not tied this knot more than ten times yet), the braid is some well-used 20lb Sufix 832 (0.15mm), and the fluoro is YGK Nitlon DFC in the 16lb breaking strain (0.346mm). As I said, hardly the most exciting stuff in the world, but perhaps this knot will enable me to change things up a bit and perhaps even catch a few more fish - which and at the end of the day that is what I am after.

Monday Morning Metal Madness - The most over the top, bombastic, catchy as hell and wonderfully addictive black metal band out there - Norway's Dimmu Borgir. You can't really take a video like this very seriously, but I can't help but enjoy this "brand" of black metal and I don't remotely subscribe to black metal being "real" only if it's recorded in a guy's bedroom, sounds like poo and never breaks the speed up. Dimmu Borgir could do with releasing a great album to make up for a bit of sketchy recent stuff, but with albums as good as something like "Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia" I can forgive them a lot.

Henry Gilbey32 Comments