5 Fishing Knots every Fisherman Should Know

Knotting is one of the most indispensable skills a fisherman can acquire! Mastering how to tie the right knots could be the difference between successful fishing outings and hungry and frustrating evenings. Simply put, a knot functions as the critical link between your fishing lines, the hooks, and your prey. 

But deciding the best knots to master is a whole ‘nother beast. There are thousands of possible knots—each best suited for certain scenarios. The trick lies in researching the most important ones for your needs. If you’re into kayak fishing, your repertoire of knotting techniques should include knots that:

  • Are durable and have high tensile strength.

  • Easy to tie and not time-consuming.

  • Suitable for specific fishing needs.

Before you drown yourself in the overwhelming world of near-endless types of knots, here are 5 fishing knots that every fisherman should know. They tend to come up repeatedly and they’re quite handy. Trust us!

  1. Fisherman’s Knot – Improved Clinch Knot

If the name does not already offer a hint, the Fisherman’s knot (aka. the Improved Clinch Knot) is one of the most popular knots for anglers or paddling enthusiasts—and for good reason. It’s quite easy to tie, secure enough to hold strong fish, and it’s fishing applications are wide-reaching.

The Improved Clinch Knot is used to tie a line to a hook, connecting a monofilament line to a terminal, and securing the leader to the fly. Here’s how to tie a Fisherman’s Knot:

  • Thread the working end of the line through the hook’s eye.

  • Take the loose end and wrap it at least 5 times around the standing line.

  • Pass the loose end through the first loop (next to the eye), then through the bigger loop formed.

  • Tighten the knot by pulling on both ends.

But despite its versatility and applicability in fishing, the Fisherman’s Knot has its drawbacks. For examples, the knot is not recommended for heavy or braided lines.

  1. The Palomar Knot

The Palomar (pronounced PAHL-oh-mahr) Knot is widely regarded as one of the best ways to tie a fluorocarbon and monofilament line to a hook. Anglers rate the knot highly for its ability to retain the original strength of the line, its simplicity (i.e., can even be tied with wet hands in the dark), and the non-jamming release.

Here’s how to tie a Palomar Knot: 

  • Double the line into a loop and pass it through the hook’s eye.

  • Pass the loop behind the standing line and make an overhand knot loosely.

  • Thread the loop around the hook.

  • Tighten the knot by pulling the standing line.

PS: There are other variations such as the Improved Palomar Knot and the Double Palomar Knot.

  1. The Blood Knot

If you want to join two sections of a fishing line together, you’d be hard-pressed to find a technique that’s better than the Blood Knot. The knot is compact, versatile, strong, rarely breaks, pleasing to the eye, and it works great for lines with different diameters or material.

The Blood Knot is typically used as a decorative stopper knot, constructing leaders, fly fishing, and connecting the leader to the tippet. Here’s how to tie a Blood Knot:

  • Place two line together for a few inches and wrap one of them around the other 5 times.

  • Repeat step 1 by wrapping the second line around the first 5 times.

  • Pass both loose ends through the central loop formed.

  • Pull the standing parts and tag ends to tighten.

  1. Snelling a Hook

Looking to tie a leader or tippet to a baited hook—whether eyeless, eyed, offset, treble, or spade? If so, you’ll find that learning how to tie the Snell Knot is an indispensable skill. It’s quick, rarely slips, and distributes friction evenly—making one of the strongest line-to-hook connections. The Snell Knot works perfectly for fluorocarbon, monofilament, and braided lines.

The only drawback is its slightly complex learning curve. But here’s a simplified guide to tying the Snell Knot:

  • Create a loop by passing the rope through the hook’s eye twice – i.e., the loose end should hang alongside the hook.

  • Pass the loop around the standing part at least 5 times—forming tight coils.

  • Tighten by pulling the standing line (PS: You may have to hold the coils in place).

  1. Surgeon’s Loop Knot 

Unlike other knots in this list, the Surgeon’s Loop Knot looks and does something different. It forms a loop at the end of the line—giving the lure or hook some ‘wriggling space’. This comes in handy if you want lures such as spoons to move freely in the water for better baiting.

Here’s how to tie a Surgeon’s Loop Knot:

  • Make a double line by folding over the end.

  • Tie an overhand knot—threading the loop through the hole formed twice.

  • Tighten the knot and you’re done.

Please keep in mind that the knots highlighted above a merely the tip of the iceberg. While they are must-have skills for every fisherman, some situations may demand different knots. Long story short, don’t stop at these 5 fishing knots—research more.

Have a great fishing experience!

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