The Definitive Guide
Whether you are an experienced or novice angler, arming yourself with knowledge of knots, and the ability to execute them is invaluable on the water.
Having the latest and greatest equipment can go some ways to helping, but getting experience and knowledge in vital fishing skills will ultimately be what decides your level of success as an angler.
As any experienced fisherman knows, there are dozens of types of fishing knots. Sometimes, what knot you use will be a matter of personal preference. Other times, it will hinge based on what your needs are as a fisherman and what style of fishing you’re doing.
This guide will walk you through what knots are available to you as a fisherman and what knots will work in specialized situations.
Types of Knots to Know
Though there are hundreds of knots available for you to learn, it is not necessary to learn them all. As a fisherman, there are a few key knots that all anglers should ensure they know, to become more well-rounded in their abilities.
These are some of the knots that we would recommend you learn:
- Palomar Knot
- Surgeon’s Knot
- Albright Knot
- Improved Clinch Knot
- Spider Hitch KnotHangman’s Knot
- Blood Knot
Each of these knots serves a similar but specific purpose when you are fishing. Knowing each of them will help you to adapt to almost any fishing situation. In addition, we’ll also give you some info on how to tie fishing knots.
The Palomar knot is one of the most adaptable, common fishing knots. Excellent for use with braided lines. When used in combination the Palomar knot and a braided line form one of the most durable duos in fishing.
The Palomar knot can be used with almost any style of fishing, but many anglers will choose to utilize it when fly fishing.
While many knots are used to attach lines to hooks or lures, the blood knot has another use. A blood knot is used to attach two lengths of line together. It is most common for an angler to use this knot when their line is broken or in fly fishing. Though it is most commonly used to repair a broken line that is the same width, it can be used to create a makeshift line if need be.
One reason why the blood knot is so popular under these conditions is that it is a relatively simple knot to learn. It is beginner-friendly and will prove an invaluable skill to know when you are out on the water and experience a broken line.
Improved Clinch Knot
One of the most versatile knots in the world of fishing is the improved clinch knot. This knot is well-known knots among experienced fishermen, mainly used to secure line to lures, hooks, and swivels.
Based upon the traditional clinch knot, this improved version is famous for durability and strength when reeling in your catch. If you are a fisherman that gets in frequent battles with large fish, this is definitely a knot that you’re going to want to master.
The surgeon’s knot serves a similar function to the blood knot in that it can be used to combine two pieces of fishing line. While the blood knot is suitable for two pieces of the same line, the surgeon’s knot is much more versatile, as it can be used to combine two pieces of different fishing line easily.
If you are a fisherman who uses leaders and you want to have a way to combine them conveniently, this is a knot you should know.
Spider Hitch Knot
If strength is important to you, the spider hitch knot is going to be a valuable knot to know. This knot is used to help improve the strength of a fisherman’s line through an intricate design and multi-point failure system.
The reason that this knot is so strong is that it forms a double line that wraps around your hook or lure. Since the strength of the line is doubled, if you frequently reel in large fish this knot will undoubtedly help prevent line breakage and failures.
The hangman’s knot is a very standard knot that many fishermen use as their all-in-one knot. The hangman’s knot can be used to snell a hook or attach your line to lures and hooks. It is known for its durability, simplicity, and strength.
If you value knowing how to tie a knot that will serve you strongly in multiple situations, you should take the time to learn this knot.
Tips to Follow
When you are tying fishing knots, there are some general guidelines that you should follow and tips that you’ll need to get the most out of your knots. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fisherman, these tips will help you become more well-rounded and gain the proficiency needed to apply this knowledge.
Choosing your knot may seem like a minor detail, but any experienced fisherman will tell you that knot selection is an important part of the process when preparing for an outing. There are countless different knots that will serve you well with most types of fishing. If you are a more specialized type of fisherman, however, you’ll want to carefully select the knot that gives you the best chance of reeling in your catch.
For example, saltwater fishermen who typically catch larger fish will want to choose a knot that places emphasis on strength and durability. These types of knots will be able to hold up under increased pressure. The weight of your typical catch will be a substantial consideration when choosing your knot.
The weight of the line will also play an important role in the type of knot as some knots are easier with lighter weight. Other knots will be necessary using braided line, for example.
Wet Your Line
When you are tying your knots, it’s a good idea to make the line moist before you begin. If you’re able to lubricate the line with saliva or water, it will be easier to tie. A wet line will slide easier through your loops, once you tie the knot, the drying will also help to strengthen integrity.
When you tie knots hundreds of times throughout your life, it will start to feel automatic. While it’s great to be able to tie your knots rapidly, you should slow down when it comes to one critical step.
When you are ready to pull the knot tight and finish it off, you should slow down and apply steady pressure instead of just yanking on it to finish. Tightening the knot quickly, with a lot of pressure, risks breaking the line and ruining the knot.
Applying steady pressure and slowing down at the end of your knot will save you time and frustration as you tie your knots ready for use.
Practice your Knots
When you are on the water, you will benefit greatly from knowing several different types of knots from memory. It will allow you to adapt quickly, and use the best knot for your current situation.
If you can practice your knots ahead of time, you can change your style of fishing on the fly. Additionally, you won’t have to waste time fumbling with your line and trying to remember how to tie your knots.
If you are working on being a more efficient, flexible fisherman, you should practice your knots ahead of time and make them routine so that you can call upon them when needed.
Test the Strength
Once your knot has been tied, it is good practice to test the strength and ensure that it has been tied correctly. This can be achieved by grabbing your hook or lure in one hand and your line in the other, giving the line a couple of hard tugs to verify that the knot is solid and prepared for use.
Knots by Fishing Style
If you fish with a specific style or for a particular species, you’re going to want to identify the knots that are going to serve your needs. If you want to know what knot is best for your preferred fishing style, read along and enjoy our breakdown of the best knots by fishing style.
Fly Fishing Knots
A good fly fishing knot is a knot that is reliable and generally easy to tie. There are many knots out there that would be suitable for fly fishing, but here are a few that come to mind:
- 100 Percent Arbor Knot
- Albright Special
- Arbor Knot
- Clinch Knot
- Davy Knot
- Improved Clinch Knot
- J Knot
- Kreh Loop
- Nail Knot
- Surgeon’s End Loop
When selecting a knot for fly fishing, you don’t have to be too picky. Generally what you are looking for is something reliable due to the stress you’ll be putting on the line with the repetitive casting. So, while you have a wide selection of knots that can be used for fly fishing, you should still use best practices when tying knots to ensure that they are secure.
Strongest Fishing Knots
If you fish primarily for very large fish, you can understand the struggle of losing fish to weak knots. It is always good to have some very strong knots in your back pocket, providing more of an edge during your next fishing trip.
The primary determinant of how strong a knot will be is how the knot is constructed. Anglers often forget that physics plays a large part in the strength of a knot, but examining these knots on a more detailed basis is crucial to understanding what it takes to win battles with bigger fish more consistently.
These knots are some of the strongest that you can get for line-to-hook combinations:
- Rapala Loop Knot
- Non-Slip Loop Knot
- Figure 8 Loop Knot
- Perfection Loop Knot
- Canoe Man Loop Knot
While it’s great to know a variety of knots to use for attaching your line to a hook, you’re also going to want to know knots for different situations. Possibly suffering a broken line with no replacement.
In this predicament, you want to have a knot in mind to combine two lines together to form a complete line. Knowing this skill can preserve your day on the water and make sure that you can get back to fishing as soon as possible.
Here are some of the strongest knots for combining two lines together:
- Turn Surgeon’s Knot
- SS Knot
- Double Uni Knot
- Albright Special
- Blood Knot
With these knots in hand, you can easily rectify one of the most frustrating occurrences in fishing—broken line.
When fishermen want to improve their performance on the water, many will think about their equipment, and how they can upgrade to newer gear with more functionality. What often gets neglected is the importance of knowledge and skills when it comes to success with fishing.
One skill that you can use to optimize and increase your own versatility and functionality as a fisherman is knot tying. Knowing a wide range of knots can enable you to more effectively catch different types of fish and use your equipment more efficiently.
When you are considering what knots to learn, you should take into account what type of fishing you do, what size of fish you are catching, and the level of skill you need to learn the knot. Whichever knots you decide to learn, be sure to use best knot-tying practices to achieve the results you want.