You cannot have a successful fishing outing without learning how to tie basic fishing knots. They come in handy in a variety of fishing applications. And even if you have preassembled fishing gear, you will need to tie a knot when you break your line or when you need to change your hook.
Although these knots are primarily fishing knots, they are also helpful in a variety of other applications. Most of the knots included here are your typical fishing knots for beginners. However, that does not mean that seasoned fishers will not find them valuable.
The choice of knots is based on feedback, contributions, and advice from several expert fishing contributors and enthusiasts. Besides, we chose models that are popular, simple, and easy to tie.
Fishing Knot Characteristics
Ideally, fishing knots are primarily excellent for monofilament or braided fishing lines. They will often run through the eyes or rings of a fishing rod, a fishing hook, or a rig.
Many basic and fly fishing knots use multiple and tightly wound wraps and are ideal for fishing for trout and other fish species. The turns help to make your knot reliable or dependable. Notably, the structures of all knots change under load. When on a load, the outer wraps tighten and go deeper into the knot while the turns loosen and become outer wraps.
Top 10 Basic Fishing Knots You Should Know How to Tie
We describe some of the knots you should know of if you intend to try out fishing. Apart from the description, we will outline their uses, advantages, and how to tie them. Some of the knots you should know how to tie include;
a. Double Uni Knot
Every fishing beginner should be conversant with the Double Uni Knot. It is a versatile knot that you will find valuable for both fresh and saltwater fishing. Besides, its versatility is also evident in the types of fishing lines it can join. You can use it for joining lines with strengths as well as joining lines of different strengths.
According to Roland Martin, a bass fishing legend, the Double Uni Knot is your ultimate solution for connecting a braided line to a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader. Although the Blood Knot can serve a similar purpose, the Double Uni is more dependable and easier to tie.
Certainly, tying a braided line to a fluorocarbon or mono leader is a complicated undertaking. When you decide to do so, make about eight wraps with the braided line, which is often considerably slippery. On the other hand, you will need to make five or more turns with the fluorocarbon or monofilament line.
- Put the ends of your lines together and ensure they overlap. With the end of the line from the left, double it back and make up to four wraps over both lines, then through the loop initially formed.
- Tighten the knot by pulling the tag end.
- Repeat the same procedure with the end of the line from the right and make a similar number of wraps. However, double the number of wraps if you are tying with a braided line.
- Since you now have two Uni Knots, pull the fixed lines towards the opposite directions to slide the knots together.
- Clip the ends as close to the knots as possible.
b. Palomar Knot
Another exciting inclusion to this list is the famous Palomar Knot. It is arguably the best fishing knot, according to most anglers. If you tie it properly, it is your indisputable 100% fishing knot. Passing the lure or loop of this knot should make all its parts cinch up together.
The Palomar Knot is your ultimate type of knot for braided lines. Besides, you will find it ideal when fishing the famous Ned Rig with any form of ElaZtech bait. Such baits are pretty durable, making it unnecessary to retie your knot from time to time. And as you would expect, the Palomar Knot can reliably handle that level of abuse.
- Double 6 inches of your line and pass the end of the resultant loop through the eye of your hook. However, you may not need to double your line if you are using a small hook. In this case, pass the end of the line through your hook’s eye, double back, and pass it through the eye again.
- Either way, ensure that you leave about six inches of the doubled or single line out of the hook’s eye.
- With your hook hanging from below your line, loosely tie an overhand knot.
- Hold the overhand knot between your thumb and forefinger and pass the loop over the hook.
- Pulling both the tag end and the standing line, tighten the knot on the eye of the hook.
- Clip the tag end.
c. Surgeon’s Knot
While many beginners invariably fret about trying out the Surgeon’s Knot, it is one of the most straightforward knots to tie. The knot comes in handy for connecting lines of unequal and equal diameters. Moreover, you can also use this knot to join fishing lines of different materials.
Apart from that, the Surgeon’s Knot comes with various other advantages. You can work it out with cold hands or under low lighting conditions. It is also faster to tie than most competing options. Yet, you will find it equally efficient and reliable with nearly 100%-line strength.
You can even get a stronger knot with the Triple Surgeon’s Knot, which you can make by doing a total of 3 wraps of your loop over the overhand knot. The tripled knot is stronger but bulkier.
- Take your line and leader and lay them on top of each other. Ensure that they overlap each other by about 5 inches.
- Use both lines to form a simple loop.
- Conveniently pass the entire leader, and the tag end through the loop twice.
- If you want to tie the Triple Surgeon’s Knot, you can pass the tag end and the leader for the third time. However, this is optional.
- Moisten the knot and pull the four ends to tighten.
d. Improved Clinch Knot
The Improved Clinch Knot is the improved version of the old Clinch Knot. It is a time-tested knot you will find the ideal for tying terminal tackles to monofilament lines. The Improved Clinch is now more popular than its original version due to its versatility, reliability, speed, and ease of making. However, it is not your ideal fishing knot for braided lines.
- Thread the end of your line through the eye of the hook. Double it back and make at least five wraps around the standing line.
- Bring the end of the threaded line through the large loop after passing it through the first loop next to the hook’s eye.
- Wet the knot and tighten the coils by pulling the tag end.
- Slide the coils tight against the hook’s eye and clip the tag end as close as possible.
e. Arbor Knot
It is difficult to talk about fishing knots for beginners without mentioning the Arbor Knot. It is suitable for connecting a fishing line to any fishing reel. So, you can use it with a spinning reel, fly reel, or baitcasting reel. As the name suggests, this knot begins at the arbor of your spool.
Although the Arbor Knot is one of the most reliable knots for joining your line to your reel, its goal is not to hold when a fish takes the entire line to the end of your spool. Instead, the objective of using this knot is to have something reliable to hold on to and pull when you lose your rod. You can also use the 100% Arbor Knot for more security and reliability.
- Take the tag end of your line and wrap it around the arbor of your fishing reel spool.
- Use the tag end to tie a simple overhand knot around your line’s standing part.
- On the tag end, tie another overhand knot about two inches from the first overhand knot.
- Slide the first overhand knot towards the spool by pulling the tag end. The second knot will jam against the first one as you slide it.
- Trim the tag end appropriately.
f. Surgeon’s End Loop
While this can be confusing, the Surgeon’s Knot is different from the Surgeon’s End Loop. Both are pretty popular and applicable in a variety of functions. More specifically, the Surgeon’s End Loop is famous for its unbeatable strength and simplicity. Tying this knot is a breeze as it involves two overhand knots tied using a doubled line.
It is the type of knot you want to use for attaching premade leaders to your line using an interlock of the two loops. Interestingly, you can also tie the Triple Surgeon’s End Loop by adding another pass through the first overhand.
- Conveniently double the end of your line.
- Use the doubled line to tie an overhand knot loosely.
- Pass the end of your loop through the knot one more time.
- If you want the more robust Triple Surgeon’s End Loop, you can pass the end of your loop through the knot an extra time. However, this is optional.
- Tighten the knot by holding both the tag end and the standing line and pulling the loop.
- Clip the tag end as close as possible.
g. Bimini Twist Knot
The Bimini Twist Knot should have probably come first in this listicle. It is one of the essential fishing knots a beginner should know how to tie. But despite its remarkable simplicity, the Bimini Twist is a 100% knot with 100%-line strength.
The Bimini forms a double line with a loop at the tail end of the twists. It is at the loop that you can attach the leader using a loop-to-loop connection. Occasionally, you can use an offshore swivel knot to tie directly to the Bimini.
- Double your line into a big loop. Hold the end of the loop and make 20 twists with your folded line.
- Slip the open end of the loop over a knee and keep consistent pressure on each end of the loop.
- Lower the hand holding the tag end to allow the tag end to slip back past the first two twists.
- Open the angle of your loop and allow the tag end to roll over the row of twists way back to the end of the twists.
- Once the line is rolled down way back to the end of the twists, make an overhand knot on the nearest side of the loop. The overhand serves as a locking mechanism for everything.
- Make sure that you maintain tension on each line.
- Now, secure the knot appropriately by making about 5 inches around both lines of the loop. It would be best if you did this by working the end of your loop towards the knot. If there are any half hitches, tighten them against the base of your knot.
- Clip any excess tag end to nearly ¼-inch.
The fishing world has more than 60 fishing knots. We have only focused on the most popular knots you may need to use in your day-to-day fishing expedition. While all the knots in this article are highly reliable, the applicability varies from one knot to another. Most of these are ideal for beginners, fly fishing, and saltwater fishing.
Notably, fishing knots fall into a variety of categories. There are line-to-line knots, terminal tackle connections, and loop knots. Also, various knots will not fall into any of the major categories.
The key to getting everything right with these knots is choosing the right type of knot and tying it correctly. Once done with the tying process, do not tighten knots without lubricating them. Saliva or water is preferable for moistening knots before you tighten them. So, always moisten your knots and pull them as tight as possible before trimming the tag ends close.
With these, we now believe that you now have a few knots you can hack on your next fishing trip. Good luck.
Anthony has been an angler for the past 15 years. His experience makes him an invaluable asset to FISHING GEN and writes on fishing expeditions as well as fishing gear.