10 Great Fly Fishing Knots for Your Fly Fishing Repertoire | Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

in Fly Fishing Insider Podcast Blog

Fly fishing demands not only skill but also a deep understanding of the tools and techniques involved. One of the most crucial aspects of fly fishing is knot tying. Mastering various knots ensures a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. Although knots are not often tested to maximum strengths and loads, when they do,  it counts. Don’t lose a trophy catch because of laziness in acquiring an easily accessible skill. Here, I will delve into 10 essential knots for fly fishing, providing detailed descriptions, Common Strength Ratings, intended uses, and my examples for each.

Here are 5 tips to start with:

  1. Always lubricate your line(s) before drawing a knot tight. Not doing so will allow the drawn knot to generate too much heat and damage the integrity of the line(s)
  2. Avoid marrying sizes that have a difference of more than two x strength factors.  For example, 3x to 5x is okay but 3x to 6x is more than two x-factors and is asking for a failure.
  3. Know how to join lines that are more than two x strength factors apart from a specified knot like a Yukatan or a Double Uni knot. 
  4. Practice tying and learn tricks to tying knots. They can improve your speed and time on the water. There are tips on my YouTube Channel. 
  5. Check your knot. Always attempt a strength test by drawing the knot tight and giving it a test pull. 

Clinch Knot

Common Strength Rating: 95%

Intended Use: Securing the fly to the tippet.

Description: The Clinch Knot is a fundamental knot in fly fishing, known for its robustness and simplicity. It involves threading the line through the eye of the fly, wrapping it around itself several times, lubricating, and then pulling the loop tight to the eye.

Example: Ideal for attaching small to medium-sized flies, this knot maintains a strong hold without adding excessive bulk.

Double Uni Knot

Common Strength Rating: 90%

Intended Use: Joining two lines of similar or different diameters.

Description: The Double Uni Knot is a versatile and reliable knot, popular for its ease of tying and effectiveness in joining off-sized lines. It involves overlapping the two lines, tying a Uni Knot in each line around the other line, and then pulling the lines tight.

Example: This knot is especially useful for adding a new line to a partially filled reel or for connecting a leader to your main line.

Yucatan Knot

Common Strength Rating: 95%

Intended Use: Attaching a thinner line to a thicker line, commonly used in saltwater fly fishing.

Description: The Yucatan Knot is strong and compact, ideal for connecting lines of different diameters. It involves doubling the thicker line, passing the thinner line through the loop, and wrapping it around both the loop and itself several times before pulling tight.

Example: This knot is perfect for attaching a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader to a braided main line.

Davy Knot

Common Strength Rating: 85%

Intended Use: Tying a fly to a tippet with a small, strong, and efficient knot.

Description: The Davy Knot is known for its simplicity and small size. To tie it, thread the line through the eye of the fly, form a simple overhand knot, and then pass the tag end back through the loop formed.

Example: Ideal for situations where you need to change flies frequently, as it is easy to tie and untie with minimal line waste.

Slim Beauty Knot

Common Strength Rating: 93%

Intended Use: Connecting a heavy leader to a lighter main line, common with bite leaders.

Description: The Slim Beauty Knot is highly regarded for its strength and slim profile, making it suitable for passing through rod guides. It is tied by creating a double overhand knot in the heavier leader, threading the main line through this knot, and wrapping it around both itself and the leader several times before securing.

Example: This knot is a favorite among saltwater anglers for tying a shock tippet to a class tippet in tarpon fishing.

Perfection Loop

Common Strength Rating: 90%

Intended Use: Creating a small and strong loop at the end of the leader for loop-to-loop connections with little friction.

Description: The Perfection Loop is favored for its neat, small loop. It involves forming a loop in the line, making another loop in front of the first, wrapping the tag end between the two, and drawing the second loop through the first but over the tag and drawing tight.

Example: This loop is essential for anglers who use loop-to-loop connections for attaching the leader to the fly line or for creating a loop at the end of a leader system.

Blood Knot

Common Strength Rating: 85%

Intended Use: Joining two pieces of fishing line of similar thickness.

Description: The Blood Knot, while a bit more complex, is excellent for creating a smooth and strong connection. It involves overlapping two lines, wrapping each around the other multiple times, and then bringing the ends back through the formed loops.

Example: Used for constructing or repairing a tapered leader, this knot ensures a smooth line for accurate casting and lower wind knot potential.

Double and Triple Surgeon’s Knot

Common Strength Rating: 90%

Intended Use: Joining two fishing lines of similar but different diameters.

Description: The Surgeon’s Knot is simple and quick to tie, making it ideal in situations where time is of the essence. It's made by laying the lines over each other, tying an overhand knot, and then repeating the overhand 2 or 3 times in the process before lubricating and drawing tight.

Example: Perfect for adding a tippet to a leader or extending a line, this knot is a go-to for fly fishing. Great for leaving tags for additional fly attachment.

Rapala or Loop Knot

Common Strength Rating: 88%

Intended Use: Creating a loop at the end of the line for more natural fly movement.

Description: The Loop Knot allows the fly to move freely and realistically in the water. This knot involves creating an overhand, passing the tag end of the line through the eye of the fly, and then back through the same direction as the former overhand, wrapping the main line 3-4 times and passing back through the overhand the same direction as the mainline, lubricating and drawing tight.

Example: Ideal for streamers, dry flies, and nymphs, this knot allows the fly to retain movement and action in or on the water, attracting more fish.

Nail Knot

Common Strength Rating: 80%

Intended Use: Attaching the fly line to the leader.

Description: The Nail Knot requires a small tube or a nail for tying. The line is laid alongside the nail, and the leader is then wrapped around both several times before being passed back through the formed loops.

Example: This knot is essential for a seamless connection between the leader and the fly line, ensuring a smooth energy transfer during casting and minimal disruption from the connection while entering and exiting the rod guides.

Each of these knots serves a specific purpose in the art of fly fishing. Mastery of these knots not only improves the efficiency and enjoyment of your fly fishing experience but also increases the likelihood of a successful catch. Remember, the strength of your line is only as good as the weakest knot, so practice and perfect these knots to ensure the best possible outcome when you're fishing.

If you like this you'll like the article "OSSCP Fly Selection Formula for Success" 

Get all the dry flies you need with Fly Crate

Download the Fly Fishing for Beginners eBook


***Do you want to get deals on equipment, fly fishing trips, and lots of information? Become a member of the Loyalty Club on the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast. 

 Christian Bacasa, Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast

By Christian Bacasa
Host of the Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
Fly Fishing Insider Podcast Official Website
Instagram Fly Fishing Insider Podcast
Instagram Dupeafish

Watch on YouTube