Major League Fishing pro Timmy Horton, a Mercury Pro Team angler, uses a classic fishing knot to connect a fluorocarbon leader to braided line. Known as the blood knot, this braid-to-leader connection is simple to tie, plenty strong and slim enough to pass through his rod’s line guides.
Horton relies on braid and a fluorocarbon leader in multiple bass-fishing situations, but most commonly when fishing finesse presentations with spinning tackle or when using baitcasting tackle to flip and pitch around aquatic vegetation and other shallow cover.
In either situation, using braided line is beneficial because it’s strong, sensitive and has little stretch, while the low visibility of the fluorocarbon adds a degree of stealth to the presentation. Using a leader also allows Horton to easily adjust line size to match the scenario.
Horton’s go-to setup for finesse bass fishing with spinning tackle is 10- to 15-pound-test braided line with a 6- to 8-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. When flipping and pitching, he uses 50- to 65-pound-test braid with a 20- to 25-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. The blood knot is tied the same way for either application.
The steps to tie the knot are below. You can also watch Horton demonstrate how to tie it in the base of this article.
How to Tie the Blood Knot
1. Hold the braid in your right hand and the fluorocarbon in your left. Then overlap the tag ends of the two lines by about 6 inches.
2. Use the thumb and index finger of your right hand to hold the lines together in the middle where they overlap. The tag end of the braid should be “pointing” left, and the tag end of the fluorocarbon should be pointing right.
3. Use your left hand to wrap the tag end of the braided line around the fluorocarbon seven times, working away from your right fingertips. You can wrap the tag end over or under the line. Either works, but keep track of which direction you wrap.
4. With the fingers on your right hand still pinching the lines together, there should be a small opening between your fingertips and the first wrap. Run the tag end of the braided line back through this gap.
5. Pull the tag end snug slightly, but don’t try to cinch anything yet.
6. Now switch and hold the partial knot together with your left hand. Repeat the procedure by wrapping the tag end of the fluorocarbon around the braid seven times. Your wrap direction should be the opposite as before. If, when you wrapped the braid, the tag end was coming toward you when it passed over the line, wrap the fluorocarbon so it’s going away from you when it passes over the line.
7. Run the tag end of the fluorocarbon through the same gap as before, but in the opposite direction as the tag end of the braid. The two tag ends should point away from one another.
8. Lubricate the knot. Then pull the standing lines to cinch it tight. You might need to pull slightly on the tag ends before you fully cinch the knot to get a clean finish. The wraps should draw up evenly against one another and result in a snug, compact knot.
9. Snip off the tag ends close to the knot to finish it off.
A Good Knot for Many Applications
The blood knot works great for connecting braid to fluorocarbon when bass fishing, but it also has applications for other line and leader types and many other species. You can experiment with the number of wraps you use – more for lighter line, fewer for heavier line – to adjust for your preferred fishing tactics.
The finished knot should be strong enough that the leader itself will fail before the knot. Just be sure to always lubricate the knot before tightening it. And if anything slips or doesn’t draw down properly, cut the lines and start over so you don’t risk losing your personal best fish to a faulty connection.