A beginners guide to jigging - PART 4
Making ConnectionsJOSH MORRISON - DECEMBER 2009
Articles & Reviews
The aggressive nature of jigging, combined with battling big fish using fairly high drag pressures, demands knots that stands up to this harsh punishment.
The mainline to leaders knot also needs to be slim enough to go through your rod’s guides easily as you wind it in and then free-spool back out again.
The most suitable knot for this type of connection in the jigging world currently is the PR knot, as it ticks all the boxes.
To tie this knot you need a specialist tool called a PR Bobbin and Holder, which is sold as a set in all good tackle stores.
You’ll also need a pair of braid-scissors and a cigarette lighter (preferably a butane jet flame rather than a typical lighter, as the flame can wave around in the wind and harm your knot if you’re not careful).
Note: If using heavier braid – PE5 or above – you should use the little stainless insert pin that comes with the bobbin, as this assists the bobbin in spinning around your leader when using heavier line.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to tie this knot.
Mainline to leader connection
1) Take your mainline, insert it into the bobbin holder, and pull through about 75cm of line (photo #1).
2) Tape or rubber-band the end of your mainline to the bobbin to stop it from slipping around the bobbin while spinning (photo #2).
3) Wrap the mainline around the bobbin 10-12 times. (photo #3).
4) Hold the bobbin and wrap the mainline around one of the bobbin arms five times before putting the bobbin back in the holder and inserting the steel pin if using PE5 or heavier (photo #4).
5) Take your leader material and lay it beside the mainline, passing the bobbin holder by approximately 15-20cm (photo #5).
6) Gripping the mainline and leader together, wrap the two around your index and middle finger to get a tight grip on the two. This should leave the bobbin holder a couple of centimetres away from your thumb and index finger (photo #6).
7) Now, with the opposite hand, wrap the leader around your index and middle finger about 20cm away from the first hand and hold vertical, pulling the leader material tight between your two hands (photo #7).
8) Still holding the leader vertical, gently spin the bobbin around the leader with a few open spirals until the bobbin holder touches the leader and comes up a bit tighter (photo #8).
9) Now, holding everything horizontal and your hands still pulling the leader material tight, begin to spin the bobbin around the leader material for approximately 4cm – if using mono leader – or approximately 6cm if using fluorocarbon leader. The reason behind the length difference is that mono is softer and therefore the braid grips it better than the much harder fluoro. For peace of mind, I like to tie the joins slightly longer with fluoro leaders.
Some people tie this knot much longer – as long as nearly 30cm, which in my opinion is a waste of braid, time and energy, as I don’t believe it adds any extra strength. I have landed sharks to 200kg-plus using these short PR knots and have never had one slip even as much as 1mm, so I personally have all the confidence in the world in them (photo #9).
10) Now bring your left-hand position up close to the knot and use your nail or thumb to force the bobbin to start spinning back over itself, and continue to spin tight spirals all the way back to the start of the knot, which should be where your loose spirals started
(photos #10a and 10b).
11) When you have completed your tight spirals, pinch the end of the knot and leader together while undoing the bobbin and bobbin holder, and remove the braid tag end. At this point in the knot, it is critical to keep tension between your left hand – which should be holding the knot – and the mainline, which runs back to your reel or rod tip
12) Now, with your braid tag end, tie alternating half-hitches (one up, then one down etc) up the leader’s tag end for approximately four each way, or a total of eight. The finished half-hitches will be around 5mm long. Next, trim the leader tag-end approximately 5mm away from your half-hitches. Using your lighter, very carefully heat the tag-end to create a ball or mushroom shape on the end and continue to tie alternating half hitches right up to the base of the balled tag end, remembering to pull each one up nice and tight (photo #12).
13) Continue to tie alternating half-hitches up your main line for approximately 5mm, remembering to keep them all pulled up nice and tight (photo #13).
14) To finish the knot off, you need to take your tag-end and create a loop by crossing it back over your mainline (photo #14).
15) Next, wrap your tag-end through the loop and around your mainline back down towards your knot around six times
16) Take the loop itself and wrap it back over your six wraps, which will bury the tag-end
17) Now pull the tag-end through slowly and the six wraps will pull down and create a small ramp-like end. Pull up tight, trim the tag-end and you’re done!
(Refer to photo #17).
I have also put together a video clip demonstrating how to tie this knot while on a boat. Every demonstration I have seen has only ever been filmed sitting at a table or on a couch (ideal conditions), so I decided to show the easiest way to tie the knot while on a boat, which you’ll no doubt have to do at some time or another.
The following web address should take you straight to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbhvZi0fiM4. Alternatively, you can search ‘PR Knot’ and it will come up in the search selection. My YouTube name is HookedUpProductions1.
Leader to terminal tackle connection
The two options available when tying your leader to the business end are via a solid ring or good quality crane/ball-bearing swivel. Let’s look at the solid-ring option first.
Solid rings are available in either oblong or round shapes, and some will also come with appropriate split-rings. Tying a knot directly to the solid ring does have a flaw – and you will find this out the hard way if you don’t believe me. If tied directly to the ring, the bottom part of the knot (which loops around the ring) is exposed to chafing while jigging, and also during fights with fish. Just think about what happens when the line is super-tight and a big fish shakes its head: the jig (attached to the split-ring) gets violently shaken around, and as it’s under great tension, it’s easy for a split-ring edge to nick the exposed underside of your knot, causing the leader material to tear and break. Refer to photo # 18.
However, there are ways around this if you still wish to use solid rings:
• Try a thimble or loop protector and crimp.
• Use a thimble and a Uni knot together.
• Make sure they’re high-quality split-rings without sharp edges, such as Owner Hyper Wire
• You can use about a 2.5cm-long piece of knot-protection sleeve or supple plastic tubing to provide some abrasion resistance
• Kilwell has a couple of variants to the solid ring that eliminate this problem. The first is via two solid rings welded together, with a split-ring off one end, preventing the split-ring from touching your knot tied to the top ring. They also do a solid ring incorporating a small plastic grommet that you can tie around, protecting the knot from any split-ring damage
(photo #19a & 19b).
The other option for your leader to terminal tackle connection is to use a good quality crane or ball bearing swivel.
I prefer this method of connection, as it’s simple, quick and easy, and you never have to worry about your knot being busted by split-ring damage. I use Japanese-made 5/0 NT crane swivels, which are rated to 540kg, along with Owner Hyper Wire split-rings in size #10.
Simply tie your preferred knot (I use a Uni knot) to one end of the swivel and attach the split-ring to the other end. Your jig is slipped onto the split-ring and you can connect your assist hook to either the top or the bottom eye of the swivel, simply by putting the cord through and looping it back over the hook (photo #20).
One other thing to look for is damage to your assist cord. This can happen when using solid rings, or with swivels when looping your cord through the same eye that the split-ring is attached to, the repetitive jigging motion squashing the split-ring down on the Kevlar cord. This is easily fixed by looping your Kevlar cord to a separate solid ring, which then attaches to the split-ring. Or, when using swivels, you could just attach your cord to the top eye of the swivel (photos #21a and 21b).
Personally, I have never had one of my assist cords break this way, but I have heard of cases where it has, probably due to using poor quality split-rings, which not only squash down on the cord, but also wear it away at the same time.
Next month: we look at how to make your own assist hooks, and discuss the essential accessories for jig fishermen.
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