Knots for Fly-Fishers

Line to Line Connections
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There are hundreds of fly-fishing knots, hundreds more basic fishing knots. Tying a knot poorly or tying one ill-suited to the situation can mean a lost fish. And if you are a beginning fly-fisher, learning how to tie knots can be intimidating.

The bewildering array of fly-fishing knots has resulted from variations on a few basic knots as well as the need for different knots to adjust to different tackle setups. However, most fly-fishers do not need to learn dozens and dozens of knots. A few basic ones will see you through a lifetime of fishing pleasure. And if you follow Mark D. Williams' step-by-step instructions, you will find that tying line-to-line connections isn't so hard after all.

Surgeon's Knot

This is one of my favorite and most useful knots. The Surgeon's Knot is very strong, easy to tie and is the best knot for joining two lines (especially lines with unequal diameters like fly line and leader or leader and tippet). The knot is basically a double Overhand Knot.

Lay both pieces of line alongside each other, with eight to 10 inches of overlap (less is needed once you learn the knot).

Next, make an overhand loop with the two lines together as if they are one line.) You should have an open loop of one to two inches in diameter.

Grasp the tag end of the tippet and the end of the leader and pass through the loop twice. These are your double overhand knots. Make sure the ends of each line pass through the loop both times.

You should have two tag ends hanging out of the loop. Grasp the two standing lines with your left hand and the two tag ends with your right hand and pull slowly in opposite directions until the knot draws up. Make sure the knot is snug by pulling on each line separately. Trim the tag ends. If you don't trim the tag ends close enough to the coil, you'll end up snagging on the rod guides.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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