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An Introduction and guide to Fishing Knots

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

man fishing on a boat with a rod and reel with a fish on a hook
man fishing on a boat

Tying the perfect knot is a vital skill for catching fish. Fishing can be almost impossible without understanding how to tie specific knots. There are a plethora of knots available. Selecting the correct type of knot can be challenging at times. Developing a better understanding of different knots, their purposes, and refining them will give you a massive advantage on the water.

Selecting the Correct Knot

The wide range of knots available makes it challenging to select one. Some knots are preferred when saltwater fishing, and some are better when fly fishing. Within this article, we will cover knots that can be used in almost all scenarios. Variations of knots can be more difficult to tie than others. Therefore, selecting an easier beginners knot may be more suitable.


Depending on the purpose of the knot, its appearance can drastically change. Fishing knots are not meant to be untied as the line used when fishing is relatively cheap. They are specifically designed for reliability and having a compact size. Their small size means they can be tricky to work with. My recommendation is to tie practice knots on cheap line multiple times before actually using them. Practice is crucial.


There is a wide range of benefits associated with purchasing a knot tying tool. Knot tying tools are generally low priced. They are usually a tiny multi-tool with various purposes such as a nipper, pin and line wrap.

● Having specific tools will help to tighten your knot so it cannot break. Having a secured knot means it will not give way if a larger fish takes your bait/lure.

● Having a knot tying tool allows the angler to tie knots more efficiently. Tools will assist in stabilising the line. This makes it easier to tie.

● Generally, knot tying tolls are incredibly lightweight and compact. Usually, anglers attach them to their coat using a clip or extendable line for quick access.

● The final benefit of a knot tying tool is that it is compatible with all forms of fishing.


Nippers are used for cutting line. They look incredibly similar to nail clippers. Many fishing multi-tools contain them. Cutting the line with nippers stops abrasion and chips on your teeth. Being able to cut excess line will help make the knot more flush and easier to work with.

Learning how to tie a nail knot with the Knot Tool can be challenging and rewarding.

Using the multi-tool to tie a nail knot:

● Put the leader on the tool with 6.5 inches of tag end facing forward.

● Hold it under your thumb between the metal tips.

● Wrap it around the tool 4 to 5 times, working towards your thumb placement.

● Push the end of the line through these loops.

● Hold everything in place.

● Give the line a sharp pull.

● The knot will move of the tool and tighten knot onto the line.

● Trim excess material.

Beginner-Friendly Knot Types

There is a large number of knots available for use. It is beneficial to know multiple, Although starting simple and learning basics can be a foundation for future success in advanced knots. There are three primary beginners knots: the clinch knot, the arbour knot and the surgeon's knot.

How is the clinch knot tied:

● Feed the line through the eye of the hook.

● Double back and place the lines together.

● Put your left index finger on the inside and twist it eight times.

● Pull the tag end back through the opening.

● Wet the lines and pull them until tight.

The clench is not an extremely versatile knot. It can be tied very fast and is viewed as reliable. It is used for securing a lure to a line

How is the arbour knot tied:

● Place the line around the spool with the tag end. Tie an overhand knot around the standing area of the tag end line.

● Then tie a second overhand knot an inch from the previous.

● Pull the standing line to pull the first overhand knot onto the spool and allow the second one to tighten on the first.

● Trim excess material.

The line to Line knots:

There is a decent amount of line to line knots. There are many reasons to tie two lines together. Many fly fishers use a mono line and tippet on the end of their floating line. These different types of line are more complex for the fish to see. Meaning they will be less spooked. The reason they are tied on in smaller amounts is that they cost more than the standard line.

How are the surgeons knot tied:

● Place the lines on top of each other, overlapping by a decent amount.

● Bend them and create a primary loop.

● Pull both the tag en and leader through the loop twice.

● You can do this twice to make an advanced version (triple surgeon knot)

● Wet the knot and pull it tight.

More advanced knots are Berkeley braid knots, san Diego jam knots, snell knot (traditional) etc.


Lubricating a knot will allow the line to turn over itself. If a knot is not lubricated, it may become weaker over time. A lack of lubrication will increase the abrasion when the knot is tightened or placed under pressure.

It is recommended any excess material is trimmed when preparing a knot. This is to prevent the leftover material from spooking fish. Leaving a small snippet of the line is recommended. The small amount of line helps prevent the knot from coming loose. If it is not fully tightened and the knot is suddenly put under pressure, the excess rope will tighten it.


Overall, creating a portfolio of knots can significantly help improve your angling abilities. Understanding the purpose of each knot will help you in any angling scenario. Selecting the correct knot tool can be helpful to help tie under stressful procedures when efficiency is critical. Understanding why lubricate, tighten and trim can help any angler hook more fish. Finally, when knot tying, practice makes perfect.

A variety of different high-end fishing lines can be found within the store. Prices vary from line to line.

By Daniel ONeill

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