Best Fishing Knots For Any Situation

There are a couple of things you must take care of before casting your rod. You should have a fishing line, rod, hooks, lures, sinkers, and knots. That’s right; knowing how to tie a knot is a must-have ability for any angler.

Fishing knots are different from conventional knots. They must be strong enough to land the fish and to resist moderate abuse. 

However, knots aren’t 100% effective. Any angler who tells you that is either lying or is not a real angler. 

Before starting, we will review some words from the fishing jargon that we will use throughout this guide:

  1. Tag end: It refers to the end of the line.
  2. Standing line: It is the rest of the line. 
  3. Turn: Sometimes called wrap; is when you grab the tag end and make a circle around the standing line. 
  4. Eye: Is the circle at the top of the hook. It is the point that connects the hook with your line. Not all hooks have eyes. 
  5. Shank: Think of it as the hook’s spine. 
  6. The gap: Is the distance between the pointy end of the hook and its shank.
  7. The point: Is where the fish get hooked. 
  8. The bend: Is the curve that separates the point from the hook’s shank.
  9. Terminal connection: It is the last knot that you make to your line. 
  10. Leader: This is a piece of line that you connect between your hook/lure and the rest of the line. 

Identifying Good and Bad Knots. 

For explaining this, let us quote the following: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” With that in mind, let us tell you that knots are the weakest links on your line.

Therefore, take all the time you need to make sure that the knot is well constructed. But keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect fishing knot.  

With this idea, we will refer to any well-executed knot as a good knot. Here you have some tips that will help you to differentiate good from bad knots. 

Bad Knots:

Poorly-executed knots will have a lot of red flags around them. The ability to them is a crucial skill for anglers. 

 Bad knots have: 

  • Curly tags: This commonly happens when the knot isn’t tight enough. 
  • Loose loops: All loops should be as tight as physically possible to allow a better distribution of the tension. 
  • Overlapped loops: Reduces the knot surface, thus, reduces the tension distribution.

Additionally, poorly-executed knots slip under prolonged strains. That is why you should always check them before casting!

Good Knots:

Once you know how a bad one looks, well-executed knots are easy to recognize. Why? Well, they have neither curly tags nor loose loops. A good knot doesn’t slip under moderate tension and every section of the knot is as tight as it can be.

So, these knots don’t break? Yes, they do! The art of tying a good knot ends as soon as you cast the rod. From this point, the knot endurance depends on the fight that lays ahead. 

To increase your chances of a successful catch, you should get to know your gear. Learn which hook, line, and knot combinations are the best for your situation. Sometimes you have to use different knots on the same fishing line.

Quick advice! Don’t be picky with the line when tying knots. Or do you prefer losing the catch of a lifetime over a couple of inches?

Learning this is not easy. But the strategy is what makes fishing a beautiful hobby! 

Knots Types.

There is a wide range of fishing knots. Each one has its pros and cons. But most fishing knots fall within one of these categories:

  1. Slip loop knots:  Do you remember the lasso that cowboys use to catch cows or horses, those knots that close as the cowboy pulls the rope? Well, all knots working under this system are known as slip loop knots.
  2. Non-slip loop knots: All knots that, after tightening them, leave a loose loop, are known as non-slip loop knots. 

There is a knot for every kind of situation. When fishing, you will need to use several knots to secure your line. For example, you will use a knot to attach the fishing line to the reel. To fix hooks, lures and other tackle, and to join two fishing lines. 

In that line of thought, we will divide this guide into two sections: knots for terminal connections, and knots for joining two fishing lines. 

Knots for Terminal Connections.

You will use these knots to tie hooks, lures, and other tackle to your line. Here we bring you a selection of some of the best and easiest knots for this purpose. 

Fisherman’s Knot.

Improved Clinch Knot is the real name for this knot. However, as any angler knows how to tie it, people start to call it the Fisherman’s Knot.

This is one of the easiest, yet reliable knots you will ever find. It can withstand some tension and is quick to it, making it perfect for beginners. So, it makes sense to start this guide with this one, as it is the starting point of any angler. 

Tying the Knot. 

The process is relatively easy, as you will see. Just be careful when handling the hook!

  1. Pass the tag end through the hook’s eye, just as is done with a needle. 
  2. Pull enough line; 8-10 inches is enough to tie the knot.
  3. Start wrapping the tag end around the standing line. 5 or 7 turns will be enough. Some anglers do it holding the tag end and standing line and twisting the hook. 
  4. Grab the tag end and pass it through the wrap closest to the hook’s eye. By doing this, you will form a big loop containing the other 5 or 7 loops.
  5. Now, holding the tag end, pass it around the inside of the big loop. As if you were making a simple knot. 
  6. Lubricate the area with water. Then, pull both the tag end and the standing line until the wraps are tight.   
  7. Cut the excess of the tag line. 

That’s all; now you know how to tie the Improved Clinch Knot or Fisherman’s Knot! 

Fisherman’s Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

This knot will be helpful for most of your adventures. But like everything, the Fisherman’s Knot has its pros and cons. Here you have them: 

 Pros:

  • Quick and easy to tie.
  • You can use it to fix a small tippet to a heavy wireline. 
  • Reliable. 
  • You can use this knot for fly fishing too. 

 Cons:

  • Loops could overlap during the pulling, weakening the knot.
  • As heavy lines don’t easily bend, tying this knot on such lines could be difficult. Thus, use this knot on lines below the 30 pounds breaking strength point. 
  • Not suitable for braided lines.

Palomar Knot. 

The Palomar Knot is very common among anglers. And, like the Fisherman’s Knot, the tying process is easy. 

Anglers mostly use this knot on braided lines. Therefore, this knot has a little edge over the Fisherman’s Knot as it works with most lines. 

Braided plus Palomar knot is a powerful combination, as it offers strength and durability. 

Tying the Knot.

The tying process of this knot is pretty straightforward. You must :

  1. Double your line. Just grab the tag end and fold it towards the standing line. 
  2. Push the doubled line through the eye of your hook. The point must be pointing to the opposite side from where the line is coming. Pass enough of the line, like 4-6 inches. 
  3. Make a loose overhand knot.
  4. Grab the rest of the loop and pass it through the bend. Keep pulling until the loop passes to the other side of the hook. 
  5. Lubricate the area. 
  6. Pull the standing line until the knot is tight. To avoid getting pierced by the hook, grab it by the gap with your fingers. 

Make sure that the final knot is on the eye, and not on the shank. Otherwise, it will limit the hook mobility. Also, it will be easier for a fish to bite through the knot. 

You can alternatively tie this knot with the pointy end looking at the incoming line. In other words, in the opposite direction described in step 2. The only difference is that the final knot will be on the other side of the eye.

There is another version of this classic knot. To try it, you just need to wrap the line around the overhand knot you made at step 3. Then, continue with the remaining steps. The extra loop enhances the knot strength and endurance.

Palomar Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

Tying a Palomar Knot is a must-know skill. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this knot.

 Pros:

  • Suitable for braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon lines.
  • Reliable.
  • Retains almost all the line breaking strength.
  • You can use it to bound two lines. 
  • The Double Palomar Knot is an excellent choice for thin lines. The additional loop adds an extra security layer to the knot.

 Cons:

  • The bigger the hook is, the more line has to pass through the eye. It will take some practice to get it right in one try. 
  • It could be difficult to thread the hook if the eye isn’t big enough.
  • Using this knot on a heavy line requires a lot of pulling in the final step. Use a set of clippers to secure the hook!

Turle Knot.

Fly fishing anglers are the ones who use this knot the most. You can tie the fly regardless of where the eye is pointing. 

This knot is over 200 years. The fact that people still use it is evidence of how reliable this knot is. Most anglers agree that this is one of the best knots for fly fishing.

The mobility of the fly is key in fly fishing. Otherwise, you won’t be able to attract a fish. Thus, finding a knot that doesn’t restrict the fly movement is essential.  

Tying the Knot.

It takes practice to master how to tie this knot. It is harder than the other two we mentioned before.  

  1. Grab the tag end and pass it through the eye.
  2. Make a big loop, leaving some line to make another smaller loop. 
  3. Make a smaller loop. Then wrap the end around itself, with two turns is enough. 
  4. Hold the bigger loop, and pull the tag end. The resulting knot is similar to an adjustable knot.
  5. Grab the big loop and pass it to the other side of the hook. Lubricate the area with water.
  6. While holding the fly or hook by the gap, pull the standing line. Make sure that the knot stays on the eye.
  7. If needed, cut or burn the excess of line. 

There are two variations of this knot: The Double Turle Knot, and the Improved Turle Knot. The principle of these variations is the same, a double knot. 

In the case of the Double Turle Knot, you just have to make a double loop in step 2. Hence, you will need to pass more line in step 1.

In contrast, for the Improved Turle Knot, you must make two smaller loops in step 3. Just like a double overhand knot. 

Turle Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

As we previously said, this knot is ideal for fly fishing. However, you can also use it for spinning fishing. Here you have a summary of the pros and cons of this knot.

 Pros:

  • Strong.
  • You can use it on both thin and thick lines. 
  • As the final knot is on the eye, the fly can move freely. 

 Cons: 

  • Suitable for hard leaders only.
  • Don’t use this knot if the eye and the leader are not similar in size. 

Rapala Knot. 

In contrast with the other knots, we reviewed before. The Rapala knot is a non-slip loop knot. It is useful for a wide range of fishing applications. For example, you can use it to fix a lure or a fly to the line. 

You can use it with any fishing line. But according to the company that invented it. The knot works better when combined with a monofilament line. 

Tying the Knot.

The process is similar to the Improved Clinch Knot. It has a few extra steps. The process goes as follows:

  1. Make a big loop with the line.
  2. Pass the tag end through the eye. Then, pass it through the loop made in step 1. You will have two loops after this step. One of them close to the lure/hook, and the other above the first. 
  3. While holding the tag end, wrap it around the standing line. 
  4. Grab the tag end and pass it through the second loop. This loop will contain the wraps made in step 3. 
  5. Now, pass the tag end through the loop formed in step 4. 
  6. Pull both the tag end and the standing line to secure the lure/hook. 

Rapala Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

The Rapala Knot is not as strong as the other knots. As the loop securing the lure is loose, all the tension concentrates on one point only. Thus, it is more likely to break.

 Pros:

  • It does not restrict the movement of the lure.
  • Easy to tie.
  • Suitable for most lures.
  • Great knot for long lines.

 Cons: 

  • Not as strong as slip loop knots.
  • Not suitable for braided lines. 

Jansik Special Knot. 

The Jansik Special Knot is quite easy to tie. And, it can withstand a lot of tension. As happens with the Fisherman’s Knot, knowing how to tie the Jansik Special is a must-have skill. 

You can use it to fix hooks and lures to a line. Just bear in mind that it works better on light monofilament or fluorocarbon lines. 

When correctly executed, this knot can hold up to 20 pounds of weight. 

Tying the Knot.

The tying process goes as follows:

  1. Grab the hook with pliers. Then, pass the tag end through the eye; 6 inches of the line is enough to tie the knot. 
  2. Grab the tag line and pass it again through the eye. 
  3. Repeat step 2. At this point, you should have two loops. Both of them must be of the same length. 
  4. Grab the tag line. Now, make circles around the standing line and the two loops. Make three of these circles
  5. With the hook still grabbed, pull the standing line and the tag end. How? Well, use your teeth to grab the tag end. Then, take the standing line with your free hand. 

Some versions add a third loop before step 4. If you want to give it a try, you just need to repeat step 2, three times. 

Jansik Special Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

The Jansik Special is also known as Centauri Knot. It is reliable and fast to tie. So, you should try to master it before your next fishing ship. You will not regret it.

 Pros: 

  • Fast tying and reliable. 
  • It can withstand up to 20 pounds of weight. 
  • Abuse-proof

 Cons:

  • Pulling three sides at the same could be hard for some people. 
  • Not suitable for small-eye hooks or lures.
  • Using this knot with heavy lines often requires adding a split ring. 

Hangman’s Knot.

The Hangman’s Knot is one of the most versatile knots you will ever learn. For instance, you can use this knot to attach your line to the reel. As a terminal connection, to fix a hook or lure. And, to fix two lines. 

Uni Knot, Duncan loop, and Grinner Knot are the many names that this knot has. It doesn’t matter how you call it. This knot is a must-have ability for both beginners and seasoned anglers. 

The tying process is quite similar to that of the Fisherman’s Knot. With the advantage that you can use it on braided lines!

Tying the Knot.

Here we show the process of tying this slip knot

  1. Pass the tag line through the eye of the lure or hook.
  2. Take the tag and make a loose overhand knot around it and the standing line. Make sure that the tag points up.
  3. Hold the hook or lure by the eye. Then, start making circles with the rest of the tag end from top to bottom. Make 5 of 6 of these circles.
  4. Lubricate the area with water and pull the tag. 
  5. Now, adjust the loop by pushing down the standing part. 

Remember to pass enough line through the eye. Otherwise, you won’t be able to complete the knot. More circles mean more line.

Hangman’s Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

The Uni Knot is among the best and most reliable fishing knots. With a little practice, you will be doing this knot in just a couple of minutes.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cost of the Uni Knot:

 Pros:

  • Versatile.
  • Easy to tie.
  • Works on many lines, such as monofilament, braided, heavy monofilament, and fluorocarbon lines. 
  • You can slide the loop open by pulling the knot. It will be useful if you notice that the line tangles during the tying. 

 Cons: 

  • Not suitable for nanofil lines. 
  • Not as strong as the Palomar Knot. 

Snell Knot. 

All the knots we have reviewed so far are only suitable for eyed hooks. So, what happens when you have an eyeless, or blind hook? Don’t worry; we have your back!

You can use a Snell Knot to tie a blind hook to your line. But you can also use it on an eyed hook. Braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon lines make a good duo with this knot. 

The main difference of this knot, when compared to the others, is that the final knot rests on the shank and not the eye.

Tying the Knot. 

Tying this knot is harder than the after-mentioned knots. However, it is like riding a bicycle; you will ever forget it.

For blind hooks:

  1. Grab the line and make a loop. But do not close it. Just leave the tag line touching the rest of the line.
  2. Put the loop against the shank.
  3. Now, grab the loop and start wrapping it around the hook and the line. Make 6 of these. 
  4. Lubricate the area. Then, grab the tag end and pull the standing line. 

The harder part of this process is to get a firm grasp on both the loop and the hook. So, we suggest grabbing the loop and hook combo at the top. It will be easier to make the wraps this way. 

For eyed hooks:

 The process changes a bit. But this doesn’t make the knot harder for eyed hooks.

  1. Pass the tag end through the eye. 
  2. Make a loop and pass the tag end through the eye. Put the rest of the tag end beneath the shank. 
  3. Grab both hook and loop by the eye. Then, wrap the loop around the hook. 
  4. Lubricate the area and pull the standing part.

Snell Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

As you can see, the knot takes more area. Hence, the tension is better distributed. Therefore, it can withstand more weight. 

We listed the Snell Knot pros and cons here:

Pros: 

  • Strong knot.
  • Unlikely to slip or come loose. 
  • You can use it on several different lines. 
  • Suitable for eyed and blind hooks.

 Cons: 

  • The knot could snap if the fish has sharp teeth.
  • Make the wraps while holding the hook and loop can be hard. 
  • The hook and the line should have a similar size.

San Diego Jam Knot.

Now that things are getting serious. The San Diego Jam Knot is more complicated than the others. However, learning how to tie it will be a great addition to your skillset.

Also known as Heiliger or Reverse Clinch Knot, this knot was a popular pick between tuna fishers. 

The San Diego Jam Knot is very sturdy. You can rely on it to catch some big fish. However, the tight grasp of the knot on the hook/lure prevents it from moving. 

Tying the Knot:

The tying process comprises a few steps. Still, the number of wraps, loops, and passes make the process a little tricky. 

  1. Grab the tag end and pass it through the eye. 
  2. Now, start wrapping the standing line, from top to bottom, with the tag. For thin lines, make 6 of these. Thicker fishing lines require fewer wraps. 
  3. Now, pass the tag between both sections of the line. Then, through the first turn.
  4. Add water to lubricate the area. Hold the hook by the eye and pull the tag.
  5. All that is left is to adjust the knot as close as possible to the eye. 

Beware of wrap overlapping as you pull the tag line. As a result, you will have a smaller knot. Thus, less tension distribution.

A common rule of thumb is eight wraps for a 10-pound line and three for a 40-pound line. 

San Diego Jam Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

This knot was born to catch big fishes. However, you can use it in almost all situations. Here you have a summary of the relevant points of this knot.

 Pros: 

  • You can use this knot in combination with braided, monofilament, fluorocarbon lines, and wire lines 
  • Strong and reliable. 
  • Suitable for deep-water fishing.
  • Good knot for trolling.
  • The hook and the line are aligned. So, you need less effort to retrieve the line. 

Cons:

  • Not suitable for fly fishing.
  • This knot reduces the movement of the hook or lure. Don’t use this knot if your strategy relies on movement to attach the fish.  

Davy Knot.

If you are a fly fishing enthusiast, you must learn to tie this knot! It will only take a couple of minutes to complete it once you grab a grasp of the technique.

You can also use this knot on a spinning rod. However, the performance is not as good as for fly fishing purposes. 

Tying the Knot

As we said, tying this knot is a pretty straightforward process. Here is how it is tied:

  1. Pass the tag end through the eye of the fly/hook; pass 4 inches.
  2. Make an overhand knot with the tag end.
  3. Pass the tag behind the loop and back inside.
  4. Pull the standing line while holding the rest of the tag. 

See, by following these 4 simple steps, you will be casting in no time! Which is great, nobody wants to go fishing and waste all the time fixing the hook to the line. 

There is another version of this old-school knot. All that is needed is to pass the tag behind the loop and inside again. In other words, repeat step 2 two times. 

Davy Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

We have summarized the Davy Knot pros and cons. Hopefully; this information will help you to decide if this is the best knot for your situation. 

 Pros:

  • As the knot is small, it will remain invisible to the fish.
  • Strong knot.
  • Fast tying, 
  • It doesn’t temper with the fly movement.
  • When properly tied, not much of the tag end sticks out of the knot. So, there is no need to trim the excess. 
  • No lubrication is needed, as the loop doesn’t create too much friction when tightened.

 Cons:

  • For fly fishing applications, this knot has an outstanding performance. But for spinning rods is a different story! 
  • Use this knot on small flies. 

As the breaking point is a relative feature, we choose not to put it on either list. It is up to you to decide whether or not the 30 pounds breaking strength is enough!

Orvis Knot. 

For closing this selection of terminal connection knots, we bring you the Orvis Knot. This knot is especially useful for fly fishing. Still, you can use it for your spinning rod. But don’t expect the same results!

The tying process is more troublesome than the Davy Knot. But believe us, the perks of having this knot among your skillset worth the trouble. 

Tying the Knot.

Like all fly fishing knots, the Orvis Knot is light, small, and very reliable. Just follow these steps to make it:

  1. Pass the tag end through the eye. 
  2. Now, pass the tan behind the standing line. By doing this, you will be making a loop.
  3. Now, pass the tag through the loop you just made. You should have made an eight by now.
  4. Grab the tag end and wrap it a couple of times around the eight’s upper part.
  5. Lubricate the area and check that the line is not tangled. Pull both the tag and standing line while holding the hook. 
  6. Adjust the knot close to the eye, and that’s all. 

Wrapping the upper half of the eight is the harder step, especially with thin lines. Such lines tend to bend. Thus, you must be extra careful to prevent the fishing line from getting tangled. 

Orvis Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

The fly fishing community widely uses this knot. But is this the ideal knot for your situation? Let’s see the pros and cons of the Orvis Knot to find out. 

 Pros:

  • The knot is small. Thus, it doesn’t affect the fly movement. 
  • Strong knot. 
  • You can use it in most lines. However, the knot is better on monofilament lines. 
  • Works on heavy lines.

 Cons:

  • Tying the knot on thin lines could be quite challenging.
  • The tying process is harder than that of the Davy Knot.
  • The performance on braided lines is not as good as with monofilament. 

That ends this review of the best terminal knots for fishing. Because we know that details might be a little fuzzy after the long guide, we will group the knots in sections according to the line, hook, and rod with which they work better. 

Knots for monofilament:

  • All knots in this guide are suitable for this line.

Knots for fluorocarbon:

  • Palomar Knot.
  • Jansik Special Knot.
  • Hangman’s Knot. 
  • Snell Knot.
  • San Diego Jam Knot.

Knots for Braided: 

  • Palomar Knot.
  • Hangman’s Knot. 
  • Snell Knot.
  • San Diego Jam Knot.

Knots for Fly Fishing: 

  • Fisherman’s Knot.
  • Turle Knot.
  • Davy Knot.
  • Orvis Knot. 

Knots for Blind Hooks.

  • Snell Knot.

Line-to-Line Knots.

After reading all about how knots are the weakest link in the chain, why would I want to add another weak link? Now, to answer this question, imagine that you are fighting a toothy predator. The fish is likely to bite through the plastic line. This means that after a heck of a fight, you will lose the fish. 

A leader made out of wire could prove to be useful in such situations. Here is where the line-to-line knot comes in handy. With such knots, you will be able to join two pieces of line together. Here we bring you a couple of them!

Double Uni Knot.

You can tie two lines of different strengths with this knot. For example, you can join a monofilament with a braided line.

If the knot is well-constructed, it is very unlike to come loose or slip. There is no way to undo the knot after you tighten it. 

Tying the Knot.

The process is pretty much the same as the Uni Knot from the “Knots for Terminal Connections” section. Just make two Uni Knots, one on each line. Here is the process:

  1. Overlap the two fishing lines.
  2. Make an overhand knot with either tag end.
  3. Now, wrap the tag end around both lines. A rule of thumb suggests 3 to 4 wraps for mono-to-mono.
  4. Hold the other line and pull the tag end until the knot is tight. 
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 with the other line.
  6. Trim any excess of tag and pull both lines in opposite directions. 

When bonding mono-to-braided, make five loops with the monofilament line. And, eight wraps with the braided line.

Double Uni Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

Because this knot doesn’t come loose or slips, it is an excellent option for landing big fishes. The Double Unit knot is a common choice 

 Pros:

  • Strong and quick to tie once you’ve learned it.
  • Simple.
  • Doesn’t slip.

 Cons:

  • Works better on mono-to-mono connections.

Surgeon’s Knot.

Here you have the last knot of this review. The Surgeon’s Knot works on lines of equal or different diameters. This gives the Surgeon’s Knot a little edge over the Double Uni Knot. 

Tying the Knot. 

The Surgeon’s Knot is quite easy to tie. Here is how it is done: 

  1. Overlap the two lines.
  2. Grab the tag end and leader and make an overhand knot. Then, start wrapping the knot with them. You must have four lines sticking out from the loop.
  3. Grab all the lines and pull.

Bear in mind that after step 3, the tag end of the main line and the rest of the leader must go together. And, the tang end of the leader goes with the rest of the standing line. 

Surgeon’s Knot Advantages and Disadvantages.

Both beginners and seasoned anglers should know how to tie this knot. It has many good features, as you will see in just a moment.

 Pros:

  • Simple and easy to tie.
  • You can join two lines of different diameters. 
  • Strong knot. 

 Cons:

  • Works better on mono-to-mono connections.
  • Not suitable for light lines.

Closing Thoughts.

That’s the end of this guide to the best fishing knots. We gather this information to help those greenhorns entering the angling world. But remember, the perfect knot doesn’t exist. You can only hope to make a knot good enough to be able to land a fish. So, practice is key!

The knots we presented here are the most common among anglers. And, most of them are easy to tie. Our suggestion is to choose a knot for any kind of approach and master it. For example, have a knot for fly fishing, for bonding two lines, etc. 

Let us know which knot is your favorite and why! 

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About me

Hi! I'm Steven!

I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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