6 Essential Fishing Knots for Beginners

Have you recently started fishing for fun, but want to up your knot game before your next fishing trip? With so many different types of fishing knots to pick from, it can be hard for a beginner even to know where to start.

If you’re ready to learn the top 6 fishing line knots that all beginners need to know —you’ve come to the right place. Our step-by-step guide includes a helpful tutorial for tying each one of the following knots:

With a little practice and patience, you’ll know how to tie a fishing knot like a pro in no time!

The Arbor Fishing Knot

The first of the fishing line knots you’ll want to know how to do is an Arbor Knot. You can use the Arbor Knot to secure your fishing line to the spool of whatever fishing reel you prefer, whether it be a spinning reel, fly reel, or baitcasting reel. With an Arbor Knot, you’ll have something secure enough to pull if the rod and reel go overboard and you have to tug them up with the line. 

To tie the Arbor Knot, start by wrapping the line around the spool’s arbor. Use the line’s tag end as you wrap. Next, tie a  basic overhand knot around the portion that is standing, using the tag end.

Now, tie another overhand knot on the tag end, making sure that it is one or two inches away from the other overhand knot.

Tug at the standing portion of the line and glide the first overhaul knot towards the spool until both knots are tight against one another. Finish by tightening and trimming the tag end as needed.

The Clinch Knot

If you’re just learning how to tie a fishing hook, the Clinch Knot could be your go-to favorite. To tie this kind of knot, start by feeding your line into the fly, lure, or hook eye. Take the line and move it double back parallel to your standing line, then pinch both lines with your right hand forefinger and thumb.

Put your left hand index finger and insert it into the loop before twisting the line seven times beneath the hook. You can switch hands as needed if your right hand is not your dominant hand.

Now, insert the tag end into the opening at the back of the hook or fly, before wetting the lines and securing the knot tightly.

The Double Uni Knot

The Double Uni Knot is one of the best fishing knots for both fresh and saltwater fishing if you need to connect lines with the same or different strengths. 

Begin by intersecting the ends of the lines you wish to join together. Grab the end of the left line, double back, and make several wraps around the lines and into the resulting loops.

Tighten the tag end. Next, do the same thing with the line end on the left, making several wraps until you have two knots of equal size. 

Tug the standing lines to move the two knots against each other and tighten. Snip off the hanging ends near the knots.

The Improved Clinch Knot

If you need to tie terminal tackle to a monofilament line, the Improved Clinch Knot is a must-know for how to tie a fishing knot. The updated version of the standard Clinch Knot takes no time to tie and is very sturdy. You probably won’t want to use the knot to tie in lines with breaking strengths exceeding 25 pounds, or for a braided line though. 

To tie the Improved Clinch Knot, begin by inserting the end of the line into the hook eye. Double the line back with five turns or more, wrapping it around the standing line.

Take the line end and insert it into the loop that was formed at the back of the eye before bringing it back through the large loop.

 Moisten the knot and tighten the tag end, so the coils are taut. Tighten the knot again at the eye and snip the tag end.

The Palomar Fishing Knot

The Palomar Knot is one of the most widely favored fishing line knots because it is easy to make and holds tight when tied properly. To begin, take your line and double 6 inches of it before inserting the end of your loop into the hook eye.

If you are working with a particularly small hook eye, you may want to insert the line through the hook eye once first before doubling back to insert the line into the eye a second time from the other side. Just make sure you have around 6 inches of double line remaining outside of the eye of the hook. 

Tie a slack overhand knot, leaving the hook dangling from the end. 

Secure the overhand knot between your forefinger and thumb, then glide the loop over the hook before inserting it above the hook eye. Tug the tag end and standing line until the knot is tight, then snip the tag end.

The Surgeon’s Knot

The last of the fishing knots all beginner anglers need to know is the Surgeon’s Knot. It is a quick and easy knot to tie, and works well to connect lines of either the same or different diameters. 

If you’re knot tying in conditions with low levels of light, cold hands, or when you have little time because a hot bite is within your grasp, the Surgeon’s Knot could be your go-to.

Begin by resting the leader and line on top of each other so that they overlap several inches. Make a basic loop, then insert the leader and tag end into the loop twice.

If you like, you can insert the leader and tag end into the loop again to make what is known as the Triple Surgeon’s Knot. Finally, wet the knot and tighten all four ends. 

FAQs About Essential Fishing Knots for Beginners

What knot should I use to tie a line onto a swivel?

The Uni Knot is the best knot to use to tie a line onto a swivel.

How can I securely attach two different lines together?

The Blood Knot can be used to securely attach two different lines together.

What is the strongest knot to use when connecting monofilament and braid fishing lines?

Double Uni Knot is the strongest knot to use when connecting monofilament and braid fishing lines.

Can I use an improved clinch knot for tying fluorocarbon leader material to my main line?

Yes, you can use an improved clinch knot for tying fluorocarbon leader material to your main line with good results in most cases.

How do I tie an Albright Knot to secure a leader loop in place on my mainline?

To tie an Albright Knot you need to first double over one end of the main line and bring it back through a loop before repeating this step with the other end of the leader loop and then cinching both loops tight around each other using multiple wraps with each side before finishing off by passing both ends back through their respective loops and tightening down firmly on either side until secure.

About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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