How To Tie Fishing Knots: 3 of The Best

Team Cast & Conquer

man tying a lure to his fishing line.
man tying a lure to his fishing line.

There are certain things you must know when fishing, and how to tie fishing knots is one of those things. I know how it feels to lose a fish because my fishing knot wasn't as secure as it should've been. Here are three of the best fishing knots you can learn to decrease your chances of missing out on a lunker on your next fishing adventure.

Palomar Knot

The Palomar knot is a popular and versatile fishing knot that is easy to tie and provides excellent strength. It's commonly used to attach hooks, lures, or swivels to fishing line. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to tie the Palomar knot, when to use it, and its advantages and disadvantages:

Diagram courtesy: TheNatureInsider.com

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Pass the Line Through the Eye: Thread the end of your fishing line through the eye of the hook, lure, or swivel. Make sure you have a few inches of line to work with.

2. Create a Loop: Double back the tag end (the end of the line you just threaded through the eye) to form a small loop.

3. Tie an Overhand Knot: With the loop created in the previous step, tie a simple overhand knot. To do this, pass the tag end back through the loop.

4. Thread the Loop Through the Eye: Carefully pass the loop you just created over the hook, lure, or swivel, so it goes through the eye once more.

5. Moisten and Tighten: Before pulling the knot tight, moisten it with a bit of saliva or water. This lubrication helps reduce friction and prevents the knot from weakening. Pull both ends of the line slowly to tighten the knot. Make sure it cinches down snugly without any crossing or overlapping of the lines.

6. Trim the Excess: Trim the tag end of the line as close to the knot as possible without cutting into the knot itself.

When to Use The Palomar Knot:

1. Fishing with braided or monofilament lines: It works well with both types of fishing lines, providing a secure connection.

2. Using small to medium-sized hooks, lures, or swivels: It's versatile and can be used for a wide range of fishing tackle.

3. Needing a strong and reliable knot: The Palomar knot is known for its knot strength, making it a good choice when targeting larger or hard-fighting fish.

Advantages:

1. High Knot Strength: The Palomar knot is known for its excellent knot strength, which means it can handle the stress of catching large and powerful fish.

2. Simple to Tie: It's relatively easy to tie, even for beginners, making it a popular choice among anglers.

3. Minimal Slippage: This knot rarely slips when tied correctly, ensuring that your bait or lure remains securely attached.

4. Versatile: It can be used with a variety of fishing lines and tackle.

Disadvantages:

1. Waste of Line: Because you need to double back the tag end to create a loop, it can be less efficient with limited line, especially when retying frequently.

2. Not Ideal for Some Knotless Eye Hooks: On hooks with very small or closed eyes, the Palomar knot may not fit through easily.

3. Knot Bulk: The knot can be relatively bulky, which may affect the way some lures or baits swim or sink.

The Palomar knot is a strong and reliable choice for attaching hooks, lures, or swivels to your fishing line. Its simplicity, versatility, and high knot strength make it a favorite among anglers (myself included), but it may not be the most efficient knot when dealing with limited line or very small eye hooks.

Improved Clinch Knot

The Improved Clinch Knot is a popular fishing knot used to secure a hook, lure, or swivel to the fishing line. It's known for its reliability and simplicity. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to tie the Improved Clinch Knot, along with when to use it and its advantages and disadvantages:

Diagram courtesy: TheNatureInsider.com

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Thread the Line: Pass the tag end (the loose end) of your fishing line through the eye of the hook or lure.

2. Wrap Around: Take the tag end and wrap it around the standing line (the part of the line that's not the tag end) 5 to 7 times. The number of wraps can vary depending on the diameter of your line and the size of the hook or lure.

3. Thread Through the Loop: After making the wraps, insert the tag end through the small loop that has formed just above the eye of the hook.

4. Tighten the Knot: Wet the knot with some saliva or water to reduce friction and pull the tag end slowly, while simultaneously holding the standing line. Make sure the wraps are snug and don't overlap. The knot should slide smoothly and seat itself against the hook eye.

5. Trim the Excess: Trim the tag end close to the knot, leaving a small tag to prevent slippage.

When to Use The Improved Clinch Knot:

1. General Fishing: The Improved Clinch Knot is versatile and suitable for a wide range of fishing applications, including freshwater and saltwater fishing.

2. Smaller Hooks and Lures: It works well with smaller hooks and lures but may not be the best choice for heavy-duty applications.

Advantages:

1. Reliability: When tied correctly, the Improved Clinch Knot is strong and reliable, ensuring that your hook or lure stays securely attached to your fishing line.

2. Simplicity: It's easy to learn and tie, making it a great knot for beginners.

3. Versatility: This knot can be used with monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines.

Disadvantages:

1. Not Suitable for Heavy Loads: While it's strong for general fishing, the Improved Clinch Knot may not be the best choice for heavy-duty applications or when targeting large, powerful fish.

2. Knot Slippage: If not tied correctly or if the wraps overlap, it can lead to knot slippage, potentially causing you to lose your catch.

3. Weakening with Repeated Use: Like most knots, the Improved Clinch Knot can weaken over time, especially if it's repeatedly subjected to stress and strain.

The Improved Clinch Knot is a reliable and versatile knot for general fishing purposes. It's easy to tie and works well with smaller hooks and lures. However, for heavy-duty fishing or larger game fish, you might want to consider other knots that offer higher strength and security. Always practice tying knots until you're confident in your ability to tie them correctly.

Blood Knot

A Blood Knot is a popular fishing knot used to join two pieces of fishing line of similar or different diameters together. It's a strong and reliable knot commonly used by anglers for creating leaders, attaching hooks, or connecting two lines of different strengths. Here's a step-by-step guide on tying a blood knot, when to use it, and its advantages and disadvantages:

Diagram courtesy: TheNatureInsider.com

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Overlap: Take the two lines you want to join and overlap them for about 6 inches (15 cm). The two lines should cross each other, forming an "X."

2. Wrap One Line: Take one end of the top line and wrap it around the bottom line 4-6 times. Make sure the wraps are neat and close together.

3. Thread Through: After wrapping, pass the end of the first line through the loop created between the wraps and the two lines. This will create a small loop on one side.

4. Wrap the Other Line: Now, take the end of the bottom line and wrap it around the top line in the opposite direction (if you wrapped clockwise with the first line, wrap counterclockwise with the second line) 4-6 times. Again, make sure the wraps are neat and close together.

5. Thread Through Again: Pass the end of the second line through the same loop as before, but from the opposite side. This will create a small loop on the other side.

6. Moisten and Tighten: Moisten the knot with some saliva or water to reduce friction, then carefully pull both ends of the lines to tighten the knot. Make sure the wraps are snug and evenly tightened.

7. Trim Excess: Trim the tag ends of both lines as close to the knot as possible without cutting the knot itself.

When to Use a Blood Knot:

Leader Construction: The blood knot is commonly used in fly fishing to join sections of leader material together. It creates a smooth and strong connection that doesn't catch on the guides of a fly rod.

Joining Lines: It's useful for connecting two lines of different diameters or materials, like joining monofilament to fluorocarbon or braided line to a mono leader.

Tying Hooks and Lures: Anglers often use the blood knot to attach hooks, lures, or other terminal tackle to their line.

Advantages of the Blood Knot:

Strength: The blood knot is strong and reliable when tied correctly, making it suitable for various fishing applications.

Low Profile: It creates a slim, low-profile connection, which reduces the likelihood of catching on obstacles or affecting lure action.

Smooth Transition: It provides a smooth transition between lines, making it less likely to spook fish in clear water.

Disadvantages of the Blood Knot:

Difficulty: For beginners, the blood knot can be challenging to tie correctly, especially with lighter lines. It requires practice to master.

Reduced Line Strength: While the knot itself is strong, it can slightly weaken the lines being joined, especially if not tied perfectly.

Time-Consuming: Tying a blood knot can be time-consuming, which might not be ideal in situations where quick changes are needed.

The Blood Knot is a versatile and strong fishing knot used to join lines of similar or different diameters. While it has advantages such as strength and a low profile, it can be challenging to tie correctly, and it takes time to master. Understanding when and how to use it is essential for successful fishing.

I typically only use the Palomar Knot due to its strength and minimal slippage. The Blood Knot takes time to learn, but it's a quality knot when joining lines, especially when combining mono with braided. With a little practice, you'll master these three fishing knots in no time. Best of luck on your fishing adventures.

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