Backing Knot [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Backing Knot

01-16-2006, 01:17 PM
Does anyone have experience connecting two sections of Gel Spun together? I have and Abel 3 spool I am thinking of using for a 12wt setup next year and had about 300yds of 65lb power pro on it. I also had about another 100 yds of the Airflow 50lb gel spun that I wanted to top it with to add a little insurance should I hook a large tuna and help maintain a larger arbor. I connected the two by using a loop to loop connection with bimini and surgeons loops creating double looped sections. I'm wondering if that is the best way?

Thank you,


01-16-2006, 01:42 PM
Abit off the knot subject, but I would reverse the braid and put the 50# on first or just use mono under the 300yds of 65# to build up the arbor.

01-16-2006, 04:14 PM
So you mean you closed off the twist with a surgeon's? I'd think that should hold anything the backing itself could hold - if not you need a harpoon!

I've used two surgeons loops before but for steelhead / salmon grade gear, not bluefin tuna.

01-16-2006, 04:23 PM
I agree with putting the 50 on top of the 60.
Loop to loop would be my first pick, but maybe it could some how cut into its self. I'm not sure how one would test for this.
Maybe a bimmi on each end and then uni to uni on the doubled lines? That would be pretty bulky. Maybe just uni to uni. As long as it doesn't slip, you have plenty of knot strength to lose. Also, 100yds out, I doubt that there would be much pressure on the knot.
I suspect that offshore conventional fishermen have some sort of splice. Maybe call a shop that rigs the big internationals (the hook up on the cape perhapse). I think they use dacron and mono.
I would probably spool it up with 500yds of fresh power pro. Fifty bucks isn't too much in the scheme of tuna fishing.
Maybe Josko can help?

01-16-2006, 04:42 PM
So you mean you closed off the twist with a surgeon's? I'd think that should hold anything the backing itself could hold - if not you need a harpoon!

I've used two surgeons loops before but for steelhead / salmon grade gear, not bluefin tuna.

Yes, I use this for all of my backing to fly line connections. By tying a 40-50 turn bimini and then tying a surgeons loop in the bimini you create a double loop. This prevents the line from forming a girth hitch that will cut the fly line.

You are probably right on just going with the fresh PP. I was just up last night bored and being a cheap yankee!


Bob Pauli
01-16-2006, 04:49 PM
Seeing that you use a 40 to 50 turn bimini twist, you have probably seen Geoff Wilson's knot books.

As I recall he suggest loop to loop connections with GSP be accomplished with a ten turn cats paw.

01-16-2006, 05:08 PM

You always were a thorough and meticulous dude, I'd trust your setup every time.

I'm more of a hack - for trout I just use an albright. For mid-sized gamefish (stripers, bonefish, salmon and steelhead) I usually use a braided sleeve connector doubled into itself with the core pulled into the doubled braid before nail knotted and glued; the backing end has a large surgeon's loop big enough to pass the spool of line through. This is less for strength but mostly to pass thru the guides well and provide easy change-overs when I don't have enough reels to cover all the venues. However if I have to change the line onto the backing quickly or in the field and the line does not have a worthy connector loop I will cut the surgeon's loop off the backing and albright it for the day.

I've never lost a fly line at the backing knot in this gamefish class however when after anything as big as you are planning I like your well-thought approach. If money was no object, Eddie's suggestion to re-load is a good one as well. You could always put the backing on your mid-sized game reels.

What reel do you use for bluefin?

01-16-2006, 05:58 PM

I actuall haven't seen Wilson's book. I'll have to check it out. I have also been meaning to spend a little more time checking out Blanton's material.


All the bluefin I had last year were 30-35lbs or under and landed on 10wt gear for the most part with a few on 9s. For reels I was using the Tibor Riptide, Abel Super 11 and a few on a Super 8 with the standard and BG3 spools. I was actually able to get most of the fight times down to about 10mins or less with the exception of a few that I managed to foul hook near the pectoral fin and were a bear to land. I just picked up a 12wt assuming that the run we had last year will not be as epic or even non-existant and I may need to make a few trips to CC Bay or the north shore where the chance at larger fish increases. I decided the investment in a 14wt wasn't worth it at this point since I will probably only make that trip a few times and the 12wt has more use for tarpon etc. For that reason I figure the BG3 spool will get me through the season with enough backing to give me a fighting chance at a 75-100lb fish. I do have my eye on a Gulfstream though. I have also heard good things about the new TFO Bluewater rods so that will be a relatively inexpensive fix if I find myself needing a bigger stick.


01-16-2006, 08:16 PM
Curious about opinions regarding the recommended number of twists for tying the Bimini in GSP. Seeing lots more guys these days talking about 70 or more twists to improve knot strength. Think Blanton recommends 50 to 75 on his site. I guess supposedly the knot strength increases substantially with the additional twists. Still not anywhere close to 100 percent in the GSP, but supposedly getting close to 90 percent with the additional twists. Wondered how that related to the experiences of others?

Bob Pauli
01-17-2006, 12:23 AM
Bimini in GSP:
Geoff Wilson's Guide to Rigging Braid, Dacron and Gelspun Lines states "The Bimini Twist is the most satisfactory method I know for producing a strong double or end loop in gelspun line."

Step 2 is "Make a loop in the end of your line and roll in at least 40 twists."
Joing two GSP lines:
On joining two gelspun lines, Wilson recommends the Cat's Paw Splice. It consists of joining the loop [formed by a Bimini Twist] of one line to the the loop of another in standard square knot [my words] loop-to-loop fashion, then continue to rotate the spool of one line through the loop of the other making at least ten folds. This spreads the cutting edge of gelspun lines along twenty gripping folds.

The above method, it should be noticed, does not include a doubling of the Bimini's loop prior to joining another loop. It also avoids the bulk of a doubled loop bouncing through the guides.

Geoff Wilson is an Australian salt water fisherman, an area where secure knots are one' lifeblood. His books' illustrations are simply THE BEST in the knot business. For instance, looking at page 7 of his Complete Bookof Fishing Knots & Rigs" shows clearly that a Uni-Knot is the same as a nail knot. I secured a small diameter piece of cord and tied a hundred such knot to prove his point.

I am unaware of another knot writer that can carry Mr. Wilson's crayons.

Bob Pauli
01-17-2006, 12:49 AM
Geoff Wilson's Guide to Rigging Braid, Dacron and Gelspun Lines is the authority on rigging GSP line. [Frank Amato Publications]

In his Bimini Twist section he recommends in step 2. "Make a loop in the end of your line and roll in at least 40 twists."

For connecting two GSP lines, Wilson recommends both lines have Bimini Twist loops and that one loop be passed through the loop of the other--and repeated for a total of ten passes through the loop. This is a Cat's Paw Splice. It has no doubled loop, instead having a slender splice with 22 points of line force distribution, that slides through guides more easily that a pair of doubled Biminis with 8 points of force distribution, clanging through the guides.

Wilson learned his trade in the salt water fisheries of Australia, where ultra high knot performance is the minimum acceptable. The illustrations are the best I have found in the several knot books I have.

This book is worth a trip to the library, local fly shop or book store.

01-17-2006, 09:16 AM
I am somewhat familiar with Mr. Wilson's book--which I believe was originally published in '99, correct? Other more recent (even Australian) sources indicate that more twists are appropriate. This is from Rod Harrison (maker of Bionic Braid) regarding knot strength in his GSP:

"These break figures on popular fishing knots represent an average taken on exhaustive lab tests.

Single overhand knot .................................................. ...60%
Six turn Uni-Knot (tied with Bionic Braid doubled) ................70%
Spider Hitch (tied with Bionic Braid doubled) .......................70%
30 turn Bimini Twist .................................................. .....70%
70 turn Bimini Twist (Highly recommended) .........................88%"

(link not provided since it's to a commercial site)

It's my understanding from lengthy discussions on other boards, e.g., Blantons, that 70 turns is required to reach the maximum strength of the Bimini. 30 turns is the minimum to assure the knot won't slip, but won't provide maximum strength. These are all very recent discussions. That is, they're newer than Mr. Wilson's book to the extent that's important as an indication that perhaps conventional wisdom has changed.

I don't have a copy of his book. Does he have research to support his conclusions on the appropriate number of twists? Does he rate the strength of the knot as compared to others with more or less twists?

01-17-2006, 10:06 AM
Sean have you tried slipping a section of 80# dacron over the backing before turning your bimini? This should take care of the line-cutting problem.

Don't know if you have seen the First Light tuna video but they have a good demonstration on making this connection and others.

I have never had a 30 turn bimini slip or break (30# dacron). In fact I had a whipped loop fail before the bimini broke one time....

01-17-2006, 10:16 AM
I've never had a Bimini in dacron slip or break, either. But then GSP and dacron have substantially different knot properties, and are not really comparable materials. For example, most experts, including Lefty, recommend only 20 turns in the Bimini for dacron. Just about everyone agrees that 20 turns won't even prevent slippage in GSP. Unlike dacron GSP is not capable of holding a 100 percent knot, either. Not that it really matters, and I wasn’t trying to start any arguments or hijack the thread. Was just curious to hear other opinions related to the number of turns necessary for the Bimini in GSP.

01-17-2006, 10:36 AM
I have used a 30 turn GSP bimini with a doubled surgeons loop for bones and it worked fine :biggrin:

The knot tying issues are well documented for GSP. Frankly I can't stand the stuff and would rather purchase the appropriate gear...

01-17-2006, 11:07 AM
Bonefish? :hihi: I thought we were talking about things you couldn't catch on a 6 wt.? :D

Most of the guys I know who use GSP ARE using appropriate gear. They're not stretching the capacity of smaller reels that weren't designed for heavy saltwater use; they're adding capacity to what are already large saltwater reels. This is generally in the context of large bluewater species or beach fishing for large specimens of inshore species. To each his or her own, I guess.

01-17-2006, 01:00 PM
i used uni to uni (at least 8 turns each) on 30 lb gsp when lurefishing, got faulhooked more than once and pulled out the lure , or not, but it never broke on the uniknots, it did however on the uniknot to the cross-lock,

i even use uniknot to tie backing to flyline, i pull the knot into the coating, then using the tag knot one more above it on the flyline, works for me (note, i dont knot the flyline)