Get It Together: Three Must-Know Knots

How to choose the right splice.

The Blood, Albright, and uni-to-uni splice are arguably the three most common knots for joining one piece of line to another. But splice points are quick to fail during a fish fight if improperly tied. Technique is often not the issue; rather, anglers don’t choose the right splice for the kinds of lines they’re trying to join. Learn when to put each into play, and you’ll put more fish in the net.

Albright Knot

An extremely secure connection for splicing lines of different diameters—or with different coatings—the Albright works best when the thinner line is being connected to a thicker line that allows for some "bite." For example, thinner, harder mono leader material will bite into softer fly line when an Albright is cinched down. Likewise, thin, slick braid or coated wire leader will bite into softer, thicker mono. The trick to a secure Albright, however, is keeping the coils tight as you form it, and cinching it down very hard until all the wraps lock firmly. An Albright that isn't properly cinched will fail in a flash.

Blood Knot

Best for connecting two pieces of line of similar diameters, the Blood is most commonly used in flyfishing to attach a length of tippet to the end of a leader, or to build a tapered leader. It's the strongest when tied with monofilament or fluorocarbon, as it relies on friction within the knot to keep it from slipping. If it's used to connect slick braid to slick braid, or braid to monofilament, it's more likely to slip under strain. A Blood knot can splice mono or fluoro up to 50-pound-test.

Uni-to-Uni Splice

This is actually a jam knot, meaning two separate knots are created and jammed together. This connection works best with heavier monofilament and fluorocarbon. While it’s strongest when used with lines of similar diameter, it will securely splice lines varying in diameter by a pound-test or three. Braid does not work well with a uni splice, as its skinny profile and slick coating tend to cause the knots to overtighten and slip through instead of jamming. The uni splice maintains its strength under strain when tied with 15- to 80-pound-test, but it tends to fail with lighter lines, especially if jolted suddenly.

Photograph by Travis Rathbone