This visit to the NEFFP was to test out a new knot that I’d just learnt to tie – the FG knot, using the method as shown in the following video:
FG Knot method
I’d seen this method before but had shied away from learning it. Despite it being a very slick knot and having experience of using it at Rompin (tied by the boat crew) I was still reticent. It is, essentially, a braid whip around a straight strand of mono leader. I was always a little sceptical of it, worried that it might fail despite having no problems with the crew-tied version on big sailfish). I guess it was a lack of confidence combined with my satisfaction with the double uni knot mono leader to braid connection that has served me so well over the past decade. Still, I liked the low profile slickness of this knot and I know from various sources that it is, when tied correctly, extremely strong (hell, it’s used by people popping for giant GT’s – if that isn’t proof of it’s strength then what is …..). I also fish regularly with Malaysian anglers and it’s their go to leader knot. Finally, I was shown it by Scott Bremner the previous trip to Rompin. I decided to learn to tie it and then head out to the Natural Exotic to test it on Amazon Catfish – pulling them out on heavy drag from the concrete structures.
After learning the technique and tying 6 or 7 test knots, I then went to my catfish gear and tied 50lb leader to reels spooled with 20 and 30lb braid for bait fishing. I also tied a 40lb leader to a 20lb braided main-line on a reel intended for spinning lures. The tying seemed to go well – each knot getting better as I became accustomed to the technique.
Once at the pond, I started rigging up – and cast the first two baits out. Then I turned my attention to the lure spinning outfit. As I pulled the leader off the reel the FG knot failed and the leader pulled out. “Damn, I must have not finished this knot off properly” I thought! But it certainly put a doubt in my mind. It didn’t help as we started getting a succession of strikes and kept losing each fish – each time the terminal tackle came in minus the hook, either being bitten off by ?garfish or cut on the concrete legs of the restaurant structure. But each time I worried that the FG knot had failed. It actually never failed, but after a while the locking half-hitches had loosened and slipped on both knots ….. arrrggg. I retied one FG knot on the 20lb braid set-up and really pulled it hard after the first two locking half-hitches (see the linked video), and then finished the knot off with further hitches.
Suddenly, our luck began to change. We took a hit on the newly tied leader kit and Siôn brought in the first fish of the day – a small Asian Redtail Catfish, out first fish after almost two hours of fishing! Not a big fish but the first test of the knot:
Asian Redtail Catfish (fish no.1)
We quickly followed this up with a much sterner test. Siôn fought a brace of good sized Amazon Redtails, both fish around the 10kg mark, with the FG knot remaining locked and strong:
Another good size Amazon Redtail
Siôn was soon in action again, with another good-sized Amazon catfish:
Siôn putting the pressure on another Amazon (fish no.4)
Finally, as our session drew to a close, I managed to get my hands on the rod and got to put a lot of strain on the FG Knot. We were fishing hard against the restaurant structure and that required heavy pressure to prise the fish away from the concrete legs, a short but intense struggle:
FG Knot getting a field-test …!!
Once again a c.10kg Amazon Redtail (fish no.5)
Shortly after, Siôn was hooked-up again and landed his 5th fish of the day, another Amazon Redtail. The average fish size is definitely increasing here, with Amazon catfish typically in the 7-10kg size and a decent number of fish pushing up into the 15kg bracket:
Siôn with fish no.6
As darkness engulfed us, there was time for one last gasp fish as we started to pack up the gear at the end of the 4 hour session. This time I took on the fish, the first on the 30lb set-up. Unfortunately not on the FG Knot – after the previous knot’s partially unravelling, I’d retied the leader with a trusted double uni knot ….. which never fails me …!
Fighting the last fish in the darkness
Last fish of the session (fish no.7)
I was pleased with the way the session had gone. Despite some early problems, I’d managed to tie and test a good FG Knot. It was also the knot that I’d re-tied in the field, so I was definitely improving my technique. All that remains now is to use this knot for the ultimate test – my final sailfish trip of the season in mid-October. Watch this space …..!