Learn to tie this useful knot
It isn’t possible to state what the “most important knot in fishing” is. Instead, a slew of knots can be adapted into different styles of fishing. Good anglers can quickly and consistently tie the ones that work best for them as they chase their target species. In essence, you don’t have to know all of them. You just have to be good with the ones that you do know.
One mistruth about knots is that some retain 100% of their line’s breaking strength when tied correctly. This simply does not compute. The very act of tying any knot in your line will weaken it to some degree.
Some knots, however, are better than others. In my angling experience when it comes to line strength retention, no knot beats a good, old-fashioned, well-tied Bimini twist.
Good for all species
No matter what type of line I am tying, what species I’m after, or where I am fishing, I find myself using this knot just about every time I hit the water.
The Bimini twist was developed by big-game trolling anglers who needed a clean and effective way to double their line just before attaching their leader. It became a shock absorber of sorts, used to cushion a thinner and weaker main line (usually braided lines from an earlier era, well before the dawn of Spectra-based super braids) that sat behind a much stronger leader, which was generally made of single-stranded wire.
The Bimini became so common on big game boats that it was practically a given, even as those lines became monofilament. Slowly but surely, the Bimini crept into other types of fishing as well.
Inshore or offshore
Going jigging offshore? Virtually every jig rod setup uses a Bimini at the end of the metered braid, going to either a wind-on leader with a Dacron loop spliced in or directly to a knot. Doubling up the line allows for a much stronger connection if the jigger opts to go with a knot, such as a PR Knot or a Monster Knot.
In the inshore game, I have seen many a captain run 20- or 30-pound PowerPro as their main line, tie a short Bimini in the end, make a short fluorocarbon leader with a Perfection Loop in the end, and use a loop to loop connection to fish either bait or lures.
Smart kingfish anglers not only build their wind-on leaders with two Bimini twists and that same loop to loop, but also have swapped out their metal downrigger cable for 200- or 300-pound PowerPro, with a Bimini in the end of it where the swivel is looped on. This is one of those saltwater knots that every angler should know.
A “third hand” helps
If you are new to the game when it comes to tying a good Bimini, don’t stress too hard. It looks like a complex knot, but a few good practice sessions can turn it into second nature. Use these tips to get you started off in the right direction:
Learn to tie the Bimini twist with a modern, braided (Spectra-based) line rather than monofilament. The limpness of the braid will make things a lot easier as you learn what you are doing. Also, you will get a better sense of how the knot forms and where to apply pressure, which will make it that much easier when you try to tie the same knot with mono.
Bear in mind that you will have to make a good many extra twists in braid than mono, again due to how limp the braid is in comparison.
Use a stationary object to serve as your “third hand” when you tie a Bimini. I have had great success using a doorknob and my trailer hitch to hold the loop taut. But my personal favorite Bimini assistant is a dock cleat.
Some anglers want a live assistant, but I prefer that part of the knot to remain completely stationary. I can add tension at the right time by just putting my left hand inside the loop and spreading it out when necessary, all while holding the single strand of main line with my left.
Wrap it up
Keep the tag end of the line in your mouth just to keep it close to the action. At some point you will have to release tension on the tag end of the line so that it can wrap its way up to the crotch of the knot. But you don’t want to completely release it.
Slowly release tension by dipping your head toward the knot as you hold it with your teeth while slowly pushing the crotch of the loop toward your right hand and still holding tension on the knot with your left hand. If you do this in a controlled fashion, the wraps will stack up perfectly, with no gaps.
When the wraps have stacked up perfectly to the crotch of the loop, tie a single half-hitch around each side of the loop with the tag end of the line, cinching it down as hard as you can. Then tie a few half-hitches around the base of the loop (both strands) again with the tag end. To complete the loop, the finish knot is simply a half-hitch where the tag end goes through the gap twice. Cinch that down, trim the excess off of the tag end, and you are ready to fish it.
No kinks allowed
Once you have perfected tying the Bimini in braid, it’s time to experiment with mono. The knot is the same, you just have to find the correct number of twists you need to apply to each different gauge of mono. The key is to tie a good Bimini without kinking or otherwise damaging the line, which would negate the benefits of the loop in the first place.
I have found that a 14-turn Bimini works best for me with 80# mono, but everyone puts a different level of tension on their knots. Play around and find out what works best for you.
One final note about the Bimini twist: it’s definitely not cheating if you need to watch a video on how to tie this knot. While it isn’t the easiest, it’s one of the most universal and adaptable knots in the saltwater fishing world. Whether you’re chasing bluefish or blue marlin, knowing this one will make your time on the water more successful.