The dreaded connection knot. If there is one stumbling block to utilizing fluorocarbon leaders with braided line, it is learning to tie a reliable leader connection knot.
The FG Knot gets all the hype from pro bass fishermen, but wow it is one difficult knot to tie.
Enter the Blood Knot.
This highly underrated fishing knot is one of the best for tying braid to fluorocarbon or mono. Read on to learn how to tie this magnificent leader knot.
How to Tie a Blood Knot – Step by Step
As with any fishing knot, it will take dedicated practice to become efficient in tying. I first learned this knot from the guys at Tactical Bassin, and they know what they are talking about. Follow these steps to get started, and then we have some pointers to help where you might get stuck.
- Hold the braid end in your left index finger and thumb, leaving 8-10 inches free to the right.
- Take the leader line (fluoro or mono) and run it behind the braid, leaving 8-10 inches free to the left.
- Make a small cross with the leader line and hold it between finger and thumb. Your tag ends will pass through this opening once your wraps on each side are complete.
- Wrap the tag end of the braid around the leader, wrapping over and away from you. After 9 wraps, gently snug the line together by pulling on the tag end to keep the line manageable.
- Pass the braid tag end through the opening being held in your left finger and thumb. Pinch the brad side of the knot in your right finger and thumb.
- Now wrap the leader tag end around the braid, going in the under and away direction. Wrap it 9 times, and then pass the leader tag towards you, through the opening in your right hand.
- You should now have the tag ends coming through the opening in opposite directions.
- Moisten each end of the knot, and slowly pull the ends of the line together until you have a tightly wrapped knot.
- Trim the excess line on each end. With sharp scissors, you should be left with small tag ends.
Knot Slipping? – If your knot slips when you go to cinch it tight, either your wraps didn’t go in opposite directions, or you need more wraps, especially with a smaller diameter braid (10-20lb).
Visual Check – The nice thing about the Blood Knot is being able to quickly see if it was tied correctly. The wraps should line up neatly, not clumpy, and the tag ends should come out of the center of the knot in opposite directions. If the tags come out on the same side or elsewhere, start over.
How Many Wraps Do you Need?
For similar-sized lines, start with 9 wraps on each side. If your braid is slick and small you can increase that to 10 or 11 wraps.
If you are not getting a good knot with lighter leaders, drop the number of wraps the leader line does by 1 or 2 until it clinches tight properly. Say 9 and 7 wraps, or 9 and 6.
Always use more wraps on the braid side of the knot and you’ll be good to go!
Advantages of the Blood Knot
When it comes to the features of a good fluorocarbon connection knot, the Blood Knot checks all the boxes. If you are looking for an FG Knot alternative, this is a great knot to learn!
- Small & Smooth Profile – Smaller knots are easier to cast through the guides on a rod. The Blood Knot is a thin and round-shaped knot, so it is easy to cast through both spinning rod and casting rod guides. You won’t hear much of anything ticking against the guides when you cast a Blood Knot.
- Strong – When tied correctly, the Blood Knot is very strong, rivaling the FG for total strength. The key is using the right number of wraps (see the table above), and getting clean wraps. You can fish without fear knowing that your fluorocarbon line is secure on the braid.
- Durable – In addition to being small and round, the braid end of the knot takes the most abuse during the cast. The braid wraps are on the side casting through the guides so you don’t need to worry about it hurting the knot.
- Versatile – This leader knot works great on all types of lines, from heavy braid connected to heavy mono, down to light braid to 6 and 8-pound fluorocarbon on finesse spinning rigs. Use the right amount of wraps and this can be your one connection knot.
- Easier to Tie than the FG – This is just my opinion, but the FG Knot is ridiculous to tie. You need all four limbs, three eyes, and good luck tieing one in wind and waves on the boat. If you can learn to tie an FG, good on you, it’s a fantastic knot. If you have struggled to get the FG to work, the Blood Knot is the best alternative.
- Not Just for Fly Fishing! – You might be thinking a Blood Knot is just for fly fishing, but it’s not! This knot can be used in all types of freshwater applications, including ice fishing lines and for finesse bass fishing. Anytime you might want to put a leader onto braid, the Blood Knot should be considered.
Improved Blood Knot
The Improved Blood Knot is a variation that helps attach two lines of significantly different diameters. The smaller line gets doubled on itself before making the wraps and threading through the “x”. This increases the bulk of the line so the knot can cinch together properly.
Half Blood Knot (aka Clinch Knot)
The Half Blood is a simple knot for tieing on terminal tackle and lures. It’s literally just one half of the Blood Knot because you are threading through the loop you make at the tackle end and clinching it tight.
The Half Blood is strong (but not as good as the Palomar Knot) because it spreads the pressure across the surface area of the multiple wraps, leaving minimal weak points. Mono and Fluoro should use 5-6 wraps, while braid should make 8-11 wraps depending on the diameter.
Blood Knot vs FG Knot
The main difference between these two connection knots is wrapping vs weaving. The FG knot is weaving the braid around the doubled up fluorocarbon leader, creating a sort of “finger trap” type knot that gets tighter and smaller as it gets cinched down.
The weave in the FG knot makes for a longer, but very slim knot that is barely noticeable when cast through the guides of a fishing rod. It’s tricky to learn but once you have it down it is a fantastic leader knot.
Blood Knot vs Double Uni Knot
The Double Uni is another popular braid to fluorocarbon knot but is bulkier when compared to the Blood and FG knots. Each side of the knot is wrapping around two strands of line, making it larger than the other knots.
No matter how well you tie this knot, you will hear and feel the knot ticking through your rod guides. It doesn’t seem to bother some fishermen, but if that banging through the guides worries you, try the Blood Knot!
That said, the Double Uni is super fast to tie and is great for joining a cheap mono backer line to your braided mainline or to half a spool of fluorocarbon mainline.