Learning To Tie Fly Fishing Knots

Learning to tie a variety of fly fishing knots is a critical skill. Many knots are as much a part of an experienced angler's skill set as casting and playing. Some knots are for tying the fly line to the reel's arbor. Other knots are used to tie the leader to the fly. Some fly fishing knots are used to connect lines of similar diameters while others connect lines with different diameters. There's a specific purpose for each type of knot. The greater number of knots you master, the more flexible and able an angler you'll become. In this article, we'll provide you with a brief summary of the most popular fly knots.

Popular Knots

One of the most discouraging things that can happen after you've made the perfect cast, positioned your fly well and have gotten a fish to take is for one of your knots to break. Plenty of anglers can tell tales of watching a perfect catch get away right before landing it because of a poorly-chosen or poorly-tied knot. Indeed, fly fishing knots can be an angler's weakest link. Fortunately, you only have to master a few. Here are some of the most widely-used...

Arbor Knot - This knot is used to secure the backing line to the reel's arbor. It's tied overhand twice for increased stability.

Blood Knot - When you need to connect 2 fly lines with similar diameters, you can use the Blood Knot. It's an intricate knot that's best used for lines that are 10wt or more.

Dropper Loop - This is a creative knot that typically ties in the middle of a leader. It's designed to provide an extra loop through which you can secure another fly.

Perfection Loop - Also called the Loop To Loop Knot, it's useful when you need to connect 2 lines together that are both looped on the ends.

Surgeon's Knot - Drawing its name from the surgical process of putting pressure on sutures, this knot is commonly-used by anglers to join 2 lines together. Many anglers prefer this knot to connect a tippet to a leader.

Albright Knot - This is the knot used to connect 2 fly lines of different diameters. The knot is strong and is used by experienced fly fishermen to tie their fly line to the backing line near the reel.

A Few Quick Tips

Knowing which fly fishing knots to tie for a given set of circumstances is important. But, it's just as important to tie them properly. Even veteran anglers have lost their prey due to knots that were poorly-tied. There are 3 things you can do to help ensure your fly knots are secure.

First, moisten the knots before you tighten them. Either use your saliva or water. It'll help your knots slip into place more easily and prevent heat from weakening the line. Second, after you've tied your knot, pull on it. You'd be surprised how many anglers neglect to actually test their knots only to discover too late that they were poorly-tied. Third, trim the excess line from your knots. But, make sure you don't damage the knot in the process.

Better Knots For Better Angling

Will your fly fishing knots make you a better angler? Arguably, yes. Mastering the other skills such as casting, line control and playing are important. But, if any of your knots break, those skills will quickly become irrelevant. Learning to tie knots properly is a critical part of becoming a capable fly angler. Though there are hundreds of knots you can learn, focus on conquering the ones described above. Once you master those, you may even want to design your own knots.