Tarpon are the strongest fish that live inshore, so an angler’s terminal tackle must be constructed to endure the initial shock of the bite and the potentially long-lasting battle.
From knots to the leaders, the equipment must be strong to keep a tarpon on the line, and one of the most-important knots is the line-to-line knot connecting the leader to the main line.
On the reel, line in the 25- to 30-pound class is sufficient, but the leader must be 60- to 100-pound test to survive the shock and abrasion. The last 6 feet of leader will constantly rub against the tarpon’s body, including the sharp gill plates and fins.
Line-to-line knots are much better than a swivel for connecting line to leader. More than a dozen line-to-line knots are commonly used, but the best provide 100-percent strength, including are the double surgeons, double uni, and the Albright knots. Anglers who regularly use leaders should become proficient at tying these knots to ensure there aren’t any weak links from the reel to their trophy opponent.
The double uni may be the easiest of the three to tie.
• Overlap the ends of two similar diameter lines for about 6 inches. Tie a loose uni knot, making six turns around the towlines and leaving the loop open.
• Feed the tag end through the open loop, and then pull it to form a snug tight knot around the line.
• Repeat those steps in the same order, to form a snug tight knot with the other line.
• Cinch up both knots by pulling the two standing lines in opposite directions to slide the knots together and trim ends.