Tying up a knotty controversy

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All photos Mark Hicks

To put tension on the braid when tying the FG knot, Crews ties a simple knot in the end of the braid so he can hold it in his teeth.

Few professional bass anglers spool their spinning reels with fluorocarbon line anymore. The standard practice now is to fill the reel with a 10- to 15-pound braid and tie on a fluorocarbon leader.

Braided line stays limp for longer casts and fewer line problems. It stands up for weeks of hard fishing, is super sensitive and has unmatched hook-setting power. The fluorocarbon leader practically disappears underwater and doesn’t put off the bass. It’s the best of both worlds.

Where the pros part ways is with the knot they tie when affixing a fluorocarbon leader to the braid. The Double-Uni was the standard for decades, but other knots have come along to challenge it, particularly the FG and the Alberto. Each knot has strong points and drawbacks.

FG knot

Virginia Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews dotes on the FG knot, the thinnest and possibly the strongest braid to fluorocarbon connection. However, it is the most difficult of these knots to master.

Crews embraced the challenge because the many line-to-line knots he tried previously failed, especially when he broke off due to a snag. Then he had to waste time tying on a new leader as well as a fresh bait. 

“The FG never breaks before the knot to the lure does,” Crews said. “It’s so thin and smooth you don’t feel it running through the guides.”