There is no question that the Bimini twist is a great way to assure your line will deliver 100 percent knot strength. But the large loop made when you tie in standard style with the loop around your knees or feet is not always necessary. There are times when a little loop (inches to less than a foot long) is better—and easier to tie. That big loop is ideal for offshore big game fishing, but it’s not needed if fly fishing or light-tackle spinning or casting where you are using a short leader or a “bite” leader.
Making a tiny loop Bimini can aid in fly fishing by allowing the loop to be used for interconnecting loops to mini leadheads and looped shock leaders. It also allows fast connections without tippet waste. And the small-loop Bimini is all you need for light-tackle spinning applications, where you’ll need only a foot or so to connect to your shock leader. Of course, you can always tie a standard Bimini for the latter use and then cut off the end of the loop to the length you need before tying your double-line knot. But tying a smaller Bimini to start with is often easier in confined quarters or in rough water.
The problem with tying mini-loop Biminis is finding some way to form the knot using something smaller than the traditional foot or knee. The simple solution is to use any small item to form and hold the loop. Some possibilities while fishing include the ends of boat rails, the end of a boat cleat, even a fishing partner’s finger. But as the loop gets smaller, it gets tough to find a way to “stretch” it to cause the reverse pressure that makes the middle stages of the knot roll back over itself.
Basically any Bimini involves doubling the line, making 20 turns of the loop to twist the doubled line 20 times, then holding the loop open under pressure while pulling the twist tight and rolling the tag end of the line over the twist to double this part of the knot. It is finished with a couple of half hitches and a final uni-knot or clinch knot fastening.
The difficulty in the mini Bimini is in keeping the loop small while pulling the twisted portion tight before rolling the line on that twist to secure it. Using an easily made tool, a Bimini loop as small as 1 to 2 inches is possible.
There are two easy-to-make tools that will work to hold the smaller loops. Most basic is the home workbench version. To make this, cut two, 2-inch lengths of 1⁄ 4-inch wood dowel, and glue them into matching holes drilled into a block of 1X2 inch shelving or scrap wood about 3⁄ 4 inches apart. This 3⁄ 4-inch distance allows you to slide an index finger inside the loop, so that you can put pressure on the knot while making the roll-over. This makes a short, snug knot that’s more dependable than the longer, loosely wrapped knots you get otherwise when you tie a short loop.
The field version of this is a length of 1⁄ 4-inch brass or steel rod, bent in half, the two sides parallel and the ends formed into parallel hooks about an inch apart (see photo). Again, this separation allows grabbing the loop with an index finger. You can secure this to a cord loop for fastening on a belt or part of the boat console, so it’s always handy when you need it. The cord is tied to any available solid object when you’re ready to make a knot.
In using the field tool, make sure that it rests against something solid, such as the top of the console, even though it is fastened at one end. This will prevent the tool from turning and undoing the twist.
Just how long you want the Bimini loop depends upon your use of it. The smallest loop possible might be best for fly-fishing connections. In spinning or casting, the length of the double line is less a concern—but shorter is usually better for ease of casting. If fishing with IGFA records in mind, then the length of the double line and the knot counts as part of the knot and leader. (Check IGFA rules for details.) For this, short Biminis are important, perhaps even necessary for proper connections.
Practice a bit with your new tools and you’ll soon be making Biminis in a few seconds. The extra effort is well worth it, when you hook a trophy fish and need all the strength your line and knots can deliver.