How to tie a basic fly fishing knot

Tying a Basic Fly Fishing Knot

October 07, 2019

Tying a Basic Fly Fishing Knot

 One of the crucial skills for any Fly Fisherman is being able to tie a fly fishing knot. There are many knots for fly fishing and being knowledge able on these will result in having a successful day of fishing where you don’t lose your fish. Tying a fly fishing knot may seem intimidating but once you have mastered a few it can be quite enjoyable. In this blog we will go over a few fly fish knots you should know.



The Arbor Knot is a simple knot to tie, you use this knot for connecting your reel to your backing. Using backing is always a good idea, you can fish without it but the backing allows you to form large coils on the reel which will result in a reduction in line memory and allows for quicker winding up of your line.

Start off by first passing the line around the reel arbor. Then proceed to tie the tag end tag end in an overhand knot around the running line. Then, an overhand knot is tied in the tag end. When tightened, the overhand knot in the tag end jams against the overhand knot tied around the running line.

Arbor Knot


One of the more reliable knots the Albright knot is used for joining line of unequal
diameters or different materials. The Albright knot is often used by fly fishermen to
attach the fly line to leader material. This is a great line for tying Dacron backing to fly line. This is a very easy knot to tie and is a must have for any angler.

  • To begin you first make a loop in one line and run about ten to twelve inches of the other line through that loop.
  • Proceed to hold the lines with you thumb and index finger. From here you will wrap one line back over itself and both strands of the loop.
  • Make approximately a dozen tight turns. Feed the tag end back through the loop and exit the loop the same side as it entered. Note that you can wrap front to back or back to front, the end result will be the same. Just make sure the lines exit on the same side of the loop.
  • Pull the loose line  to tighten and clip tag end close to the knot.

Albright Special



The Nail Knot has proven to be a popular knot to join the fly line to a leader. As the
name suggests the using a nail to tie this know it common but, using any small tube will work. Start off by laying the nail or tube against the end of the fly line. Place the butt section end of a leader against the line and tube. Leave approximately 12 inches of tag end to tie the knot. Make multiple closer wraps, working left to right, back around the leader, line and tube or nail. Pass the tag end through the tube or the spaces made by the nail and remove the tube.
Pull tag end to snug up the coils, then tag end and leader to seat the knot firmly onto the fly line. Trim tag end close to the knot.

Nail Knot



This is one of the best knots to tie knots lines of equal or unequal diameters. Also quite useful to tie lines of different materials. By simply using two overhand knots with the entire leader pulled through the knot each time. When properly tied, the Surgeon’s Knot is almost impossible to unravel. It must be tightened by pulling on all four strands to properly seat the knot.

 Lay the line and leader on top of one another overlapping each other by several
 Form a simple loop
 Pass both the tag end and the entire leader through the loop 2 times.
 Moisten knot and pull all 4 ends tight.

Here is a great Instructional video from Take me Fishing



Finally our last knot to go over is The Improved Clinch Knot. This is used for tying
terminal tackle to monofilament line. The improved version is also quick and easy to tie and reliable. It can be difficult to tie in lines testing greater than 25 pounds breaking strength. It is not recommended for braided line.

Here is a great Instructional video from Take me Fishing




How to Tie Fishing Knots (n.d.) Fishing Knots- Arbor Knots Are The Reel Deal. Retrieved from




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