Tralee Bay Sea Angling

Below are a range of knots that I use in my day to day sea fishing. In my view this list is as comprehensive as it ever needs to be and covers all aspects of shore fishing. I've spent years going through different knots all with varying degrees of difficulty and ultimately of strength. The ones listed below are the only knots I ever use and have been selected for very good reasons outlined below. Learn these knots and you should never need another knot for your shore fishing!

Uni knot (4 turn)

Also known as a "grinner knot", this is the most versatile knot I know of. It can be used to connect hooks, swivels, links and provides ~90% of the lines breaking strain when tied correctly. Variations of this knot can be used to join leaders, parallel lines and create stop knots. I use a 4 turn version of this knot for lines between 20lbs and 60lbs. For lines above 60lbs I find a 3 turn version is quite adequate and even knots nicely with lines up to 150lbs breaking strain. Double the number of turns if intending to use this knot with braid.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Thread the tag end through the swivelFold the tag end back along the mainlineCreate a loop with the tag end and pinch between thumb and forefinger (the tag end lies on top)
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Take the tag end with the right hand and pass it over the mainline and through this loop 4 timesMoisten with saliva and pull the tag end in the direction of the mainline to draw up the coils of the knotOnce you have formed a nice barrel shape gently pull the mainline to snug the knot up against the swivel
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Palomar

Another excellent knot for connecting hooks, swivels and links. The palomar reputedly provides ~95% of the lines breaking strain when tied correctly. I generally tend to use this knot for all my light line fishing i.e. lines below 15lb breaking strain. It can be a little awkward to tie to some items as the item needs to be passed through the loop to form the knot but it is one of the safest, most reliable light line knots there is. This knot can be used for braid also and doesn't require any additional turns like most other knots do.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Take the tag end and form a loop of linePass the loop through the eye of the swivelNow make a simple overhand knot
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Now pass the swivel back through the loopHolding both mainline and tag end start teasing down the knotThe finished palomar (tip: when tightening try to keep both sides of the loop even)
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Uni Knot (2 lines)

This is an excellent knot for joining lines of similar diameter. It is based on the standard uni knot and following the instructions for this knot above will make this one easier to tie. This knot is simply two uni knots tied along the opposing parallel lines and then pulled up together.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Take the two lines and overlap themForm a uni knot in the red line around the black mainline, start by making inside the loopTake the tag end and make four turns around the black mainline and the loop
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Tighten up the first knotNow take the black tag end and form another uni knot around the red mainlineAfter the knots have been formed pull the opposing mainlines to snug up the knot
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Sliding Stop Knot

This knot can be tied directly onto a main/running line and is used to form a stop, either a ledger stop, float stop or as a stop knot on snoods for clipped down rigs.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Take a short length of line ~10cmCreate the loop as you would for a uni knotMake four turns around the mainline and inside the loop
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Pull the opposing tag ends to tighten up the knotThe finished knot can be moved up and down along the main line if requiredClose up...
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Blood Loop

This knot is used to create a fixed stand off point along a length of mainline. It is commonly used in shore fishing to create cheap paternoster type rigs. Shop bought mackerel feathers use this knot extensively for example. It's a handy knot for making rigs when fishing over rough ground where tackle losses may be high. This knot does significantly weaken the line it is tied in so this is something to be aware of. Also be aware that stand off snoods created using this knot are not as strong as other methods and may be prone to slippage at the tag end.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Twist the mainline over to create a loop (the line on my right hand is lying on top)Pinch the lines together in your left hand to hold this loop openThis is the critical step! Pinch the lines in your right hand similarly. Holding this shape is very important for the next step!
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Taking the top line in the picture from Step 3, bring this around and inside the loop four timesWhen finished you should have a gap in the middle with twisted mono coils lying each side of it, hold this gap open...Take the loop and thread it through this gap. You can adjust the size of this dropper loop by inserting more of the loop in through this gap
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When you are happy with the size begin pulling alternate ends of the mainlineTighten up to create the finished dropper loopA variation on this is to cut the loop to form a stand off snood
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Bimini Twist

Originally developed in big game circles this is the ultimate knot for tying a light mainline to a much heavier leader. It offers 100% strength. When this leader knot is tied correctly the mainline will part every time. The Bimini Twist itself is only half of this leader setup. This knot simply creates a large loop of mainline and the leader must be attached to this loop of double line separately.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Double over ~3ft of mainlineHolding the tag end and mainline together make ~20 twists in this loopPut the loop over you shoe or other fixed object while still holding the tag end and mainline
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Take the tag end and start pulling in down to tighten up the twistsHere's the tricky bit, once as the twists are tight allow the tag end to overlap/jump down over the twists i.e. it now lies as a second layer on top of the twistsBy pulling UP on the mainline and allowing the tag end to stay relatively loose in your other hand the tag end should start wrapping a series of neat coils down on top of the existing twists.
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Continue until this series of coils completely covers the original twists, then use a simple overhand knot around one side of the "shoe loop" to tie off...Once tightened this overhand knot secures everything so take a breather!Now take the tag end and loop it around both arms of the "shoe loop" twice
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Now pass the tag end up through the centre of the two loops you just createdPull the tag end to finish the knot. Other alternative tie offs exist but I find this one simple and strongA close up of the barrel part of a finished bimini twist
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Bimini to Leader

This is a simple knot used to connect a heavier leader to the bimini twist. I use this knot in lines up to 60lbs breaking strain. For heavier leaders I find the albright knot shown below creates a neater knot.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Pass the tag end through the loopWrap the tag end around the looped line 3 times, now take 1 1/2 turns back and put the tag back through the loop. NB The tag end comes out the same side as the mainlineWhile keeping the tag end taught pull the mainline to tighten up the knot
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Albright Knot

Another excellent leader knot here, this can be useful for heavier leaders 80lbs+ which may prove difficult to tie neatly with other knots. It can be used with a bimini twist as the mainline and is a recommended knot to use with braid (as usual double the number of turns). I find that braid can cut into the albright knot and a uni to uni knot for braid is a better alternative.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
Take the leader (black line) and double over the endInsert the mainline through this loopPinch the leader and the mainline as shown
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Continue pinching these together while taking the tag end of the mainline (red) and wrap it back down over all three strands making 9 turns in totalNow pass the tag end back through the loop, the same way it came inGently tease up the coils by pulling both tag end and mainline before tightening up the knot
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