Tying Fishing Knots

Tying fishing knots follows general knot tying rules, but fishing knots must be tight and small so that the fishing knot will secure the bait or hook and will pass through the eyelets of the fishing rod.  Fishing knots have remained mostly unchanged over time. Occasionally a new knot is introduced but the knots mentioned on this page work well, are easy to tie and cover most common needs for fishing.  Fishing with nets and tying knots in fishing nets will not be covered in this series.  

Fishing knots must be strong but not bulky so that they can pass through the eyelets of the fishing pole and have minimum wind resistance. The knots highlighted on this page are among our favoritely used knots at PFT. 


Tying Fishing Knots - Primary Uses

Fishing knots must be strong but not bulky so that they can pass through the islets of the fishing pole and have minimum wind resistance. The knots highlighted on this page are considered to be the most common knots used in freshwater fishing. Each knot will have a separate page for that knot demonstrating through a series of pictures how to tie the knot as well as a description of the best use for each knot. The three primary uses for fishing knots are:

  1. To join fishing line to hooks or lures,
  2. To secure your line to your fishing reel
  3. To join two lines together.


10 Favorite Fishing Knots

When you first begin to fish you will want to master a handful of knots to cover the majority of circumstances you will face. These knots are the ones I use the most. There are many other "Fishing Knots" that you will want to experiment with, but learning these basic knots will allow you to get started and really enjoy your fishing outings. If you have a favorite knot not mentioned here please submit a comment and our staff will consider updating these pages.


Basic or Beginner Fishing Knots

The Overhand Knot is a basic knot that is used in a variety of other knots and circumstances. The Arbor Knot is designed to attach your line to the arbor of your reel, causing the knot to actually clamp down onto the arbor and resist slipping. Line changing is common, and the Arbor Knot is an essential knot to master.

Tying Hook and Lure Knots

The Clinch Knot, Improved Clinch Knot, , Rapala Knot and the Palomar Knot are all knots useful for securing your line to a hook or a lure. Each offers slightly different benefits for different applications. These knots you will want to master and be able to tie with your eyes shut. OK, maybe not shut, but fast enough that your friends will say: "Wow, you sure can tie those knots fast!"

Fly Fishing Knots

Tying fishing knots for fly fishing is more tedious but with practice can be mastered. Typically, knots used in fly fishing are required to be the smallest and smoothest of all the fishing knots. Some of that can be accomplished because line and tippit are generally smaller and therefore will make smaller knots. The biggest difference faced by fly anglers is the need to tie fly line to leaders, and leaders to tippit. This means that there 2 knots that must be strong and smooth to resist catching on the eyes of the fly rod, and minimize air resistance. Common knots used in fly fishing are: Clinch Knot , Nail Knot , Albright Knot , and Blood Knot .

Nail Knot Nail Knot


Tying Knots With Loops

Perfection Loop Perfection Loop There are several ways to tie fishing knots so that you end up with a loop. This can be helpful for tying on a lure or hook, adding a second small trailer lure or hook, or for use with a rope to be used with your boat. The three knots that I typically use in these situations are the Rapala Knot, the surgeons knot and the Perfection Loop.

Practice Tying Fishing Knots

When you first begin tying fishing knots you may feel a bit clumsy and not natural.  This is normal, but keep at it.  Often when spending a night out on a fishing trip, we will practice knots we expect to use the next day.  With time, you will learn to tie many of these knots with ease.  One of the things we at PFT have found helpful for those knots we don't use every day is a smart phone application - called Knot Guide v5.2.

Knot Guide for Apple
Knot Guide for Google