Demo: "10 pound" Fireline connected to 30lb mono breaking at over 20lb.

While fishing the mullet run and seeing two guys get spooled by tarpon, I had a crisis of confidence in my "light" setup. Now, this is a good rod and great reel with 300+ yards of braid, but it's only 10lb braid. I don't target tarpon with it, but you never know.

So, I ended up testing a lot of knots and found that the Bimini / Yucatan combination gives you well above rated strength in my range of 10-30lb braids (Fireline, Power Pro, Jerry Brown - they all perform similarly). 30lb braid is practically unbreakable with this setup, so you might want to use a leader that you can break if required (mono thankfully tends to break just above rated strength). I once lost 150 yards of 30lb Fireline when I snagged the bottom of Government Cut using 80lb leader and couldn't break the line before a freighter's prop did the job for me. Even paddling 5 knots and suddenly closing the bail while holding the spool just stopped me in my tracks.

Here's a demo I made with 10lb Fireline and a sack of lead:


  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    There is still a multitude of fishermen who do not understand the transfer of energy when using a rod. A certified spring scale would be a better tool than a sack of lead, but individual sacks/strings of lead that have also been certified (I used to take my lead weights to the post office) is very useful as well. I may be a newbie with kayaks, but here, I'm afraid I know what I am talking about.

    I have posted much of this on various fishing ( General and Fly Fishing) but we used to routinely catch the average Keys tarpon (60-80 lbs.) on 15 lb. line (or fly tippet) from a dead boat......and release them in 7-8 minutes. One of my buddies hooked a tarpon in the 100 lb. class (+/-) and it took him 11 minutes until I leadered it for him.

    So that's the first thing. Many of you have no idea as to how much pressure you are putting on a fish at any one time. (hook the spring scale up to your outfit and see for yourself) The second thing is that an angler is at a disadvantage when fishing from a kayak and using heavier line. These boats are so easy to tow around, that one can simply reel himself up to the fish, and in a very short time. Usually a fish like a tarpon is still pretty green, and much care must be taken, so as not to hurt oneself. Personally, I would never target a big tarpon from a kayak. 50 lbs. would be my desired cutoff point. At that size, I would be using 8-10 lb. line and the pressure that I could put on the fish would not lend itself to being towed by the boat as much or as fast. This means that I would have a chance to actually tire the fish out before I had to handle it. Again, this is a much smaller fish.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • mapachemapache Posts: 262 Officer
    I've seen people fight medium-sized tarpon for well over an hour and still lose them due to drags set too light.

    I haven't caught a tarpon on 10lb braid, but from the beach I've landed and released 36" jack crevalle (12-14lb) in 2-3 minutes, so I'm not surprised it can be done, and quickly. A few days ago I came across a newbie fighting such a jack. He said he had been at it for an hour, but with his drag set at 1lb he was making no headway (reeling while the spool was spinning). As a credit to him, he let me tighten his drag and took instruction on how to pump and reel, and then at least took the mortally exhausted fish home to eat.

    BTW, I have no use for Post Office precision, but 20 of these ingots move my gym scale 20lb. Anyway, precision obviously isn't the point - most people would be well served to just grab some cans from the cupboard to get a rough idea of the actual tensions they are using.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,341 Moderator
    I think its an interesting experiment [regardless of accuracy] and I always keep breaking point stats in mind when I buy line. Sport Fishing magazine did a comparison of breaking points in different line classes for different brands a few years ago, no sure if Florida Sportsman did the same. If anyone has a link for the article, post it up.

    I started fishing up here (Florida) with 15# braid when I was fishing from shore and took that gear offshore with me when I got into kayak fishing. Its sufficient for the most part, but I lost too many kingfish that summer, so I slowly increased my line rating up to 40# which I now find to be overkill. Permit Rat is right, you don't need to go overboard on line strength since it doesn't take much for the fish to tow you around on the kayak.

    I enjoy a challenge, but when I fish, I like to keep my catch so I err slightly on the side of line strength, especially if you have to reel in that kingfish or tuna fast before the man in gray comes to collect his taxes.
    Offshore line of choice: Spyderwire ultracast 30#
    Inshore line of choice: Ande clear mono 12#

    Its a personal preference.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • FLATS BROKEFLATS BROKE Posts: 2,060 Captain
    Offshore- Live bait reels - spool 20lb mono- Leader-30lb FC.
    - Jigging reels - spool 40lb braid - Leader- 30lb-60lb FC.
  • jivariejivarie Posts: 127 Officer
    Offshore- Live bait reels - spool 20lb mono- Leader-30lb FC.
    - Jigging reels - spool 40lb braid - Leader- 30lb-60lb FC.

    Exactly. 20lb mono, and a reel with capacity gets it done. 40lb braid is plenty for jigging as well. For my light tackle stuff, I'm using 20lb super slick power pro to mono or flouro leaders. It will get the job done on just about anything except the biggest of fish. - Help the kayakfishing community grow!
  • mapachemapache Posts: 262 Officer
    jcanracer, how did you lose those kingfish, to sharks? I've lost a couple of fish to sharks, but where I fish (the ledge off Miami), there don't seem to be as many as over the wrecks up north.

    Has anyone else tested their knots and drag setting with weights or a scale? I'm curious about what others would find.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,341 Moderator
    Mapache, line and leader failure. I've only been sharked/wahoo'd once in Pompano. But I've seen the sharks up close and personal on the ledge in Dania.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • Poseidon10/31Poseidon10/31 Posts: 936 Officer
    I've always wondered what the actual breaking point of the line I use is. I've always gone by the "max drag at 1/3 of line test". I'f I'm jigging near a wreck with a reel that has 14lb max drag, I'm not gonna use 8 lb line... Depending on the situation, it may call for heavier line, such as snook fishing near structure. Sure, you can catch a tarpon on 2 lb test in the middle of the bay. I'm not privileged enough to have 14 different setups for different occasions, rather I have a few that are more versatile. Mike, I'm gonna have to do a few tests of my own to see what my knots and lines can actually hold. For curiosity sake.
  • mapachemapache Posts: 262 Officer
    Mike, I'm gonna have to do a few tests of my own to see what my knots and lines can actually hold. For curiosity sake.

    That would make a good Team Googan video.
  • mapachemapache Posts: 262 Officer
    BTW, my main point is that it's important to consider real-world breaking strengths with the knots you actually use, since these can vary from 50% to 300% of rating solely due to knot choice and execution. I bet my 10lb Fireline with a Bimini and Yucatan could out-test some guys' 20lb or maybe even 30lb braids with lesser knots (Poseidon's 30lb w/ albright not included).
  • GitchaPullGitchaPull Posts: 345 Officer
    This was a good experiment but there are a lot of variables in real life situations. Small nicks and abrasions in graphtie eyes will break down braid or mono when a tarpon is rippin it through by the second. There is no way to know unless under microscope and who the Hell is doing that? I use to use 6ft of 60lb flouro for tarpon and now use 8ft after many lessons learned having a 150lber tail whip the braid. % of boated fish has gone up and the little bit of extra give is well, forgiving. Good thread with some good input.
  • GitchaPullGitchaPull Posts: 345 Officer
    Also, a slim beauty is a wonderful knot for 40,50 lb braid to 60-80 flouro for tarpon. Its become my go to and casts through guides with a little more forgiveness. I switched from the sebile this year and like the beauty better.
  • uno--masuno--mas Posts: 346 Officer
    i love discussions over breaking strength and knots and how great each set up is compared to all the others.
    having held 7 IGFA line class records myself, i have at least an ounce of knowledge in the matter as well. and before my favorite fans blow up, half of those records were from paddle craft--not from power boats.
    someone described a handful of fish caught with a specific technique that has less to do with tarpon fishing from shore (as was the original observation), and from a kayak than is necessary. while light tippet and line-class can achieve quick results with some of the lazy bridge tarpon from a dead craft, its not really relevant, other than 'it can be done'. i do appreciate the mantra of using light tackle on big fish--with proper technique, achieving great results. indeed. i am an ardent believer in 'you can land the biggest fish on the lightest tackle--with the proper techniques' . and with adaptation of some techniques, you can do it from a kayak as well. its a different ball game, to say the least, but those of us (yourself evidently included), who have experience prior to climbing into a plastic boat, seem to be well ahead of the curve.
    im not sure when using the post office as a standard of measurement went out of style, but for under 20 bucks and search of ebay or amazon, one can purchase a scale certifiable to NIST standards pretty easily, and for $13 you can have the IGFA certify your spring scale as well. the other point you are so deeply correct on is, the fact that dead-weight comparison of one's drag, in the garage is a poor indicator of what is actually going on at the terminal end of your tackle. further still, if we are using mono, testing of lines with some relief off the spool is a good choice. on many an occasion i have spent more time prepping a reel, rod, line and leader set up for a record, than it took to land the actual fish.
    i only use Ande monofilaments and fluoros. with more world records than all other lines combined, you'd be hard pressed to convince me any other way. but also, they will test at their stated breaking strength. thats just my .02.
    i always chuckle when i hear a commercial stating one line is the 'strongest 20# line on the market' if it breaks at 25 pounds, then its misrepresented and will fail an IGFA test. so what? if i wanted 25 lb test, that's what i'd have bought. i want all my line to break where it says it will. this is of course with dead weight, and without regard to knots or leaders. (to be precise for those who do not tie multiple knots, anything beyond the actual line on the reel, is 'leader'. this includes double line, class line, tippet, leader--either fluro or wire)
    another thing that sort of gives me the willies is when people proudly state they tie a (insert knot of choice), to make a double line in their BRAID. it amazes me that so many have no idea what a double line is actually intended to do. without a long description, a double line acts as a bungie cord in your leader set up. braid does not stretch, so there is no advantage to doubling it. it has no purpose whatsoever. if you think of a pulley set up, with rope running from one pulley to another, like your deer cleaning gambrel, it's basically 4:1 advantage. it 'sort of' works like that when stretching a double line.
    a double line is an absolute must when using light monofilament. i have seen manufacturer tests that indicate a properly tied double line will actually increase breaking strength by up to 5 times that of the lines breaking strength. its all because of the shock absorption of the double line. i have experienced this first hand. i landed and recorded a fish on 6lb test. there was a signification knick in the line (obviously above the leader/double line). the line subsequently broke at 1 lb when tested. the double line saved the line, and saved the fish.
    if you like to tie a double line in your braid--go for it. but please understand, it has no real value in the big picture.

    what about that double line knot? i can tie a bimini with one hand in 80lb in a 4ft sea. well, not really. lol. but i have found from a couple of decades of loving monofilament, the bimini--no matter how carefully tied, in line less that about 40# will overheat the line and knot and actually drop your breaking strength. if you love your bimini on light line, keep at it. no worries. but, i have found that a spider hitch is faster, easier and actually does not heat up those lighter lines. i use it with 100% confidence. its also a good choice for those wanting to experiment with double lines. its hard to tie a a 'very good' bimini without tons of quality practice. conversely, its hard to screw up a spider hitch.
    for leader or class-line, i use a secret twist on the albright. the yucatan is a neat knot, but i have no experience with it. the albright does everything i need so i don't change.
    but, mono is not all i use. my jigging rods have 80lb braid. why 80? why not. it works for me and does what i need it to. i use 10lb braid on my rods dedicated to tournament red fishing. coupled with 20lb fluro, its perfect for 90% of that type of fishing.
    for big trout--on the flats, i like lite mono. either 10 or 8. by some of the previous posts thinking, i am over classed? i dunno. my results are pretty good so far. again, a 20lb fluro leader is pretty standard, along with a double line tied with the albright/spider hitch combo.
    someone mentioned having trouble with keeping kingfish on the line? i'll tell you my top-secret SKA pro tour set up that we used for years. 16 lb test mono main line, double line, 6' of 50# fluro tied straight to a spro swivel on the leader. but, we typically used #6 trebles. tiny hook. one reason we didn't need large mono. drags set at about 2-3 lbs. the head shakes would pull a hook long before a line would break, so the light drag kept that from happening. the fluro is for tail whips. i still use the same set up from the kayak when potpourri trolling, with the exception of a larger main line--only because i don't have room for a dozen rods in the kayak. some rods have to pull double or triple duty.

    all in all, knots, double lines, complicated leaders may not interest every angler out there. and even those who are intrigued, perhaps only some form of those leaders are really necessary. but, if you are not capitalizing on the technical aspect of leaders and knots, you might find that the 10% who catch 90% are the ones who are.
    don't just get wrapped up in 'breaking strength' its really only a piece of the picture.

    Cathedra Mea, Regulae Meae.
  • GitchaPullGitchaPull Posts: 345 Officer
    Thanks drew, I now have a migrane.
  • mapachemapache Posts: 262 Officer
    Drew - Great post.

    Allow me to defend the Bimini in braid: it's the strongest way to create a loop, which is useful for the Yucatan and braid-to-braid connections (loop-to-loop). For braid-to-mono, the Yucatan outperforms the Albright in my tests, and for braid-to-braid, the Bimini loop-to-loop is far stronger than the uni-uni or (god forbid) blood knot. The only other braid-to-braid connection that is in the same ballpark is a true splice (either a Chinese cuff with hollow core, or painstakingly weaving one solid braid through another with a sewing needle).

    I agree that stretch is key for fighting fish, so most setups are well-served by a long mono leader or topshot.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,341 Moderator
    Great tips Drew, thanks.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Wow....where to begin. First, and not really that important here, is that bridge tarpon are not "lazy" fish as opposed to tarpon found elsewhere. IMO, ALL tarpon are lazy, at least until they are hooked. I derive that assessment from my 15 years as a light tackle and flats guide in the Keys. That said, in the (possibly tens of?) thousands of presentations to tarpon that I and my clients have made during that time, I have never fished tarpon that are near a bridge, so maybe I should shut up here. Tarpon are notorious for not going out of their way to eat a bait, lure or fly.

    Secondly, I fail to understand why casting to, hooking, fighting and landing a tarpon from a staked out or anchored skiff, could not be compared to fishing from shore. If anything, the shore angler has the slight advantage. At least he has lateral mobility, which may help in preventing him from being spooled.

    On the Bimini versus the spider hitch, I sort of agree with uno mas. If properly tied, the spider hitch is more than adequate. However if NOT properly tied, the spider hitch is a miserable knot, at least in mono and I take this from my own experience. Thank God I test all my knots before I attempt to fish them. Capt. Robert Trosset is a perfect example of one who has perfected the spider hitch. He and his clients have had hundreds of world records and R.T. uses the spider hitch, almost exclusively. I on the other hand, never practiced the knot that much, opting for the Bimini twist. I tied a lot of them and I tied them fast, often in less than a minute. I have never had a failure, due to a Bimini twist, and I have made some pretty sloppy ones in haste on rare occasions.

    A double line gives another advantage that has so far been overlooked. That is, that when you tie a double line to a heavier leader, you are effectively tying that heavy leader to a diameter that is essentially double. For example, if you were to tie single strand 10 lb. mono to a 30 lb. mono leader, using a surgeon's knot, it might be possible to tighten that 30 lb. double overhand, such that it crimped the 10 lb. and weakened the line. Double 10 lb. has the strength of 20 lb. and almost the same diameter. Much harder to fatally crimp the line, since the two strands sort of support each other, inside and around the knot. Same thing holds true if trying to tie directly to the hook with no leader. The added diameter and strength of a double line will make for a more positive connection. Some anglers and guides who target bonefish and permit, will tie their hook to the double line and not use a leader.

    Re the post office, I only went once, and that was to build strings of egg sinkers that weighed exactly 2, 4, and 6 lbs. respectively. Mostly I used the weights to help me choose appropriate rods for those line classes. In these light lines, the margin for error is greatly diminished. For heavier lines, I think a spring scale is more than sufficient, or...use mapache's known weights.
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