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The Albright Knot
  |  First Published: October 2014



The albright knot (aka, more correctly, the albright bend) is a knot used to connect lines of different diameters such as heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders to either braided or nylon mainlines. A bend is a knot used to join two separate pieces of line (or rope) together.

The albright is arguably the best knot to be used when the leader is of fairly heavy breaking strain and in my opinion the stiffer the leader line then the better the albright is than the alternatives. With lighter leaders, other knots such as the double uni and the slim beauty are often preferred. It’s likely that we will review these knots for lighter leader in a future edition.

The albright is relatively smooth and passes through guides most of the time, but if the tag end of the leader is too proud of the join then it will catch and this can cause the knot to explode or unravel. A lot of anglers carefully taper the tag end of the leader by cutting it at an angle so that there is a ramp at this end of the knot. Using glue or goo can also help you build this ramp. Obviously this isn’t a procedure that is suited to constant retying situations.

Even when tied carefully the glueless Albright is not without fault, especially if it bashes through the guides when casting and also when it gets wet for the first or second time it can slip. My theory is that the bashing (through the guides) disturbs the ‘bind’ as I call it, or the wraps of the lighter line and this allows the knot to move and then slip. A word of warning, if you fish often enough your albright will slip one day; be it laziness or a rushed technique, it happens especially in your early days of tying the knot or when you change brands or diameter of either leader or main line. A good example of a change that can trick you up is changing from mono leader to fluorocarbon leader.

A handy hint is not to use the Albright when heavy-duty casting is involved. It is at its best used for trolling and bottom bashing.

Another handy hint is to trim the knot then glue it. Some will glue the knot, let the glue set, then trim the knot’s tag ends after the glue is dry - each to their own.

When tying, to reduce slippage, it is important to wrap the loops of lighter line neatly and firmly around the loop of larger diameter leader line. The more wraps that you use the greater the surface area in the connection and the more friction that will hold the bend together. Another way to increase the surface area is to tie a double in the main line and then wrap this double around the leader. This double option is particularly popular when connecting braided mainline to mono or fluorocarbon leader. Many anglers, including myself, when I have time, glue the knot and coat the knot with a rubber based goo that sets (which you taper by rolling between your fingers) to make it even smoother and more secure. Coating the knot and tapering a ramp from the braid to the leader, as well as cutting a ramp in the tag end when trimming the knot, helps the knot pass through guides and rollers even more smoothly.

There are many variations of the albright knot; often they are referred to as either the improved albright, modified albright or locked albright. Some prefer the standard albright with either a glue or flexible leader goo, others prefer a modified albright. In this edition we will tie a standard albright (the one to use glue on). Next edition we will look at some of the variations.

Step One

Make a fold in the leader, use both hands to fold the leader over at the end, pinch the loop for a moment to close it up and then hold the folded loop in the leader with your left hand. Take the mainline (doubled main line) in your right hand. I like to have tension in the mainline, to achieve this I take the mainline from the rod tip and have the line from the rod tip to the knot in tension (rather than hanging loose) with a little bend in the rod. This gives you firmness for the knot that you are tying and helps with the neatness of the knot’s bind. Lay the double under and along the leader. Complete this step by pinching the mainline to the leader with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. A handy hint is to learn to tie this knot with both hand orientations; otherwise you will only ever be able to tie this knot with the rod on one side of you.

Step Two

Now wrap the mainline firmly away from the tag end of the leader and bind the mainline towards the fold in the leader. Snug each wrap up against the previous bind as you go. When using light braid you may execute around two-dozen wraps.

Step Three

In the standard albright the tag end of the mainline is passed though the leader fold so that the tag end exits the fold on the same side that the main line enters the fold.

Alternative Step Three

Many anglers suggest that this makes the bulb in the fold sit too proud of the mainline and causes it to catch on guides, weed etc. If you wish to reduce this and at the same time locking the knot off within itself, then try passing the mainline’s tag end under the main line and out to the opposite side of the fold as seen in the diagram.

This variation was developed by my father Steve Bain in the late 70s and is known as the Steve Bain albright. This variation is easily achieved by pinching the bind with the thumb and index finger of the left hand to hold all of the wraps in place, then push the mainline towards the knot and a little loop will form in the mainline at the start of the bind, now pass the tag end of the mainline through the free loop.

Finish

Moisten the lines in the join (using spittle from your mouth is a common option). Then pull all 3 ends carefully and slowly to snug the knot down. The 3 ends are: the leader, the main line and the tag end of the mainline. I like to hold the tag end of the mainline loosely in my teeth in order to keep it out of the way when snugging the knot down. Ensure that you keep all of the mainline wraps to one side of the fold, a fingernail (thumbnail) can help here. Sometimes you will find it advantageous to keep a little tension on this tag end as well. Always remember to test all knots before fishing.

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