Best Practices for Connecting Braid, Mono and Fluoro
When I started fishing as a kid, fishing line was pretty simple: It was all about monofilament. Flash ahead 30 years and these days it’s not uncommon to have multiple types of line and connections in a single set up.
It’s a common trope that “every connection is a weakness.” But the truth is, you don’t have to sacrifice strength for functionality. This tech tip is all about using a variety of line types while creating connections that won’t fail you in the heat of battle.
Not everyone likes the idea of using a monofilament top shot, but as I get older, I find mono adds a slightly more forgiving nature to the fight. Why is this? Because braid doesn’t stretch, mono does. This stretch can be beneficial in a variety of ways, but, most all, it reduces the shock from violent bites and powerful runs.
My go-to line sequence looks like this: braid → mono → fluoro. Each of these is bound by a tight, solid connection that when properly tied is actually stronger than the standard line class you’re using.
Step One is going from braid to mono to make this connection. There are a few common knots, but I like to call my favorite the RP knot (also known as an “improved albright”).
It’s critical that this knot is tied carefully and with attention to detail. If the loops don’t stack up cleanly, cut it off and do it again. It’s worth the effort.
Once you have the mono attached to your braid, I like to run enough mono to cast, without the knot having to muscle through the guides. I like around 50-75 yards of mono, 100 yards max. This also gives you some room to cut off terminal gear and re-rig without having to respool your mono topshot.
After you spool on your mono, next comes the fluoro. Why fluorocarbon? It has several benefits, most notably, it’s way more invisible in the water. Fluoro is also abrasion-resistant compared to mono. At this point, the case is pretty much closed — a short fluoro leader is worth the effort and connection.
I like to run around 3-5 feet of fluoro, this is enough to create some invisibility next to your bait or jig, but you can still cast your bait. It also provides some abrasion protection in case you hook something toothy or get pulled into the rocks.
The knot I use is the surgeon’s knot, and you likely already know this one. It’s fast, easy and, when properly cinched, super strong.
A couple quick knot hacks: Anytime you’re tying knots with fishing line, it’s a good idea to have a spray bottle filled with water close by. Once you get everything set up, just before you fully cinch it up, give it a little spray blast to lubricate the cinch. This will guard from friction and help the wraps stack up cleanly when you pull it tight. If, when you pull tight, you do see stress in the line above the knot, don’t risk it, cut it off and do it again. If you don’t, and you end up losing a fish, you’re gonna kick yourself for not retying.
Also, once you get your knots in place and your hook or jig tied on, hook it on to something stable, step back a few feet and pull it all tight. Hold the spool and get a good bend in the rod, this gets everything nice and cinched up and will expose any weaknesses you might have missed.
For me, this system has worked consistently, and I believe it will for you as well. The key is to practice. You can grab a couple lines on your way to the grounds and tie these several times until you get ’em down tight! This way you can learn them while the boat is moving. In the end, practice makes perfect.