So you’ve gotten yourself some fishing gear—hooks, line, rod, reel, sinkers—the works. You’ve run up quite a bill, and you’re ready to land that prize catch. But before you get too excited about racking up those social media likes with a giant trevally, there’s a bit of art and science you should learn to make sure you don’t lose that catch, or your expensive gear: fishing knots.
Fishing knots are a set of knots used to tie fishing line to hooks, lures, and other kinds of terminal tackle. They can connect bait to the hook, join lines, or any one of a number of specific purposes. One thing to keep in mind is that there are literally dozens of knots out there (sometimes hundreds, depending on who you ask). There are also a bunch of knots that serve identical purposes. It can be overwhelming to try to learn each one, let alone remember which to use when you’re actually out fishing. But most anglers would agree that knowing at least a few key ones is essential to achieving better angling results.
What makes a good fishing knot?
A good fishing knot is strong, reliable, effective, easy to tie fast, and has multiple uses. Immediately, you’ll probably see how experienced anglers would lean towards different sets of favorites over the years. Some anglers would say one fishing knot is easier and faster to tie than another. Different anglers may define "reliable" and "effective" in different ways.
But if you’re just starting out, there are some crowd favorites you might want to learn.
Popular Fishing Knots
The Palomar Knot
Small yet powerful, the Palomar Knot is one of the most common fishing knots and a fairly easy one to learn. Just thread the hook eye twice, knot it, loop it over the hook or lure, wet the line, and pull until snug. The Palomar Knot is frequently used with braided lines, but it can also be used with other types of line, making it quite versatile.
Often used for connecting monofilament line to terminal tackle, the Uni Knot is known by several other names, including Hangman’s Knot, Duncan Loop Knot, or Grinner Knot. To do a Uni Knot, run the line through the hook's eye, double it back, turn the tag end six times around the double line, and through the loop. Then, moisten the line, pull on the tag end, and finally pass your line through the eye and then back in on itself.
Also known as the Kreh Loop after fishing legend Lefty Kreh, the non-slip loop consists of two loops, one on top of the other, that are connected by an overhand knot. The overhand knot should be tight enough so it does not slip through the loops but not too tight so as to make it too difficult to untie the knot later.
Helpful tips on fishing knots
Moisten before you tighten the knot. Many anglers often use saliva to do this, though some would opt for vegetable oil. The moisture lessens friction, which can cause the leader to weaken with the heat.
Knots slip if they aren’t tight enough. Pull tightly but carefully on the lines that go into the knot or come out of it.
Use gloves when working with monofilament line. Gloves will not only protect your hands from cuts, but also ensure tighter knots.
Practice! Work on those knots until you can do them automatically.
Check out some lines you can use for your fishing knots:
There are so many different kinds of fishing knots out there that it can be hard to figure out which ones you will need and should learn. But remember that no matter what you want to catch, where you fish, or what gear combo you have, a well-tied knot is a key part of your fishing success.
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