Knots ahoy -A Guide to Knots

Seven most useful knots around for the fly fisher

With a good couple of months left before open water in these parts, it's time to go through the gear and replace that broken down and worn out tackle with shiny new stuff -ready for the new season. The knots ahoy guide

contains seven step-by-step instructions for the most common and useful knots that we use - from setting up a reel with backing to attaching flies to the tippet -handy!

01. Backing line to fly reel


The Arbor Knot

The simple Arbor Knot is often used as the basic connection for attaching the backing line to the fly reel (arbor). The knot itself is a variation of a noose knot, made up of two separate overhand knots. The first overhand knot is tied to the end of the line and when the Arbor Knot is tightened, this first knot effectively forces the second knot to pull tight against the arbor.

01. Pass the tag end of the backing around the reel spool twice and tie an overhand knot at the end. Secure with a drop of super glue and let it dry.

Tie another overhand knot around the backing line and pull to tighten.

03. Trim the tag close to the knot then pull on the backing line and draw knot tight against the arbor.

04. Spool backing on to the reel tightly.

02. The fly line to backing


The Nail Knot

The Nail Knot is a great knot when used to join two lines of different diameters together e.g. backing to fly line or making a monofilament loop to a fly line. It was originally named so because of a nail used as a guide when threading the line (should probably be called Straw Knot these days).

01. Take approx. a 5cm lenght of a regular straw and place the backing and fly line on top. Make sure you have enough line spare to form the knot.

Hold all three between your fingers and wind the backing line around at least 5 times (going from left to right). Pass the tag end back through the straw.

03. Now holding the wrap between your fingers, carefully remove the straw. Start tightening the knot by pulling the tag end (left) and the lines (right) slowly.

04. Pull the knot tight and trim tag ends a short as possible. Secure knot with a drop of super glue (optional).

03. Looping a leader


The Perfection Loop

A small and neat knot for making a loop for your leader if using one that is not pre looped. It's commonly used for a loop to loop connection to join a Perfection Loop in the end of a fly line to a Perfection Loop in a leader.

01. Form the first loop on the line. Form a second smaller loop by bringing the line around and to the back of the first loop. The tag end should now be to the right side of the loop.

Bring the tag end over (between the loops) and hold where they overlap each other. Now bring the second loop through the first.

03. Pull the knot tighter making sure the tag end does not slip out.

04. Lubricate knot with saliva (it'll help remove friction) before tightening the knot. Trim tag as close as possible.

04. Adding tippet to leader


The Surgeon's Knot

A very easy and fast knot to tie, the Surgeon's Knot is commonly used to attach the tippet(s) to a tapered leader.

01. Lay the length of tippet on top of the leader and form a loose loop around your middle and index fingers.

Hold at the intersection. Bring the end of the leader and the rest of the tippet through the loop together a few times.

03. Lubricate knot with saliva and tighten by pulling all 4 ends.

04. Trim the upper tag of the tippet (and lower tag of the leader if needed) closely.

05. Dry fly to tippet


The Clinch Knot

The Clinch Knot is one of the most used fishing knots for us. Another fast and easy knot to tie, it's usually used to fasten a dry fly or a straight hook eye streamer on to the tippet.

01. Pass the tippet through the eye of the fly hook. Hold the fly and wrap the tippet around itself 5-7 times.

Pass the tag end through the loop and hold together with the fly.

03. To tighten the knot, pull the standing end of the tippet while holding the tag and fly together. Lubricate with saliva before tightening (again, helps to remove friction).

04. Trim tag as close as possible.

06. Wet fly to tippet


The Duncan Loop

Probably the most common loop to attach a wet fly to tippet. It creates a sliding loop that can be adjusted to taste, as well as letting wet flies move or swim in the water more naturally than with a Clinch Knot.

01. Pass the tag end of the tippet through the eye of the fly and hold lines together.

02. Form a loop and wrap the tag end around the loop and tippet 5 times.

03. Hold at desired distance from the fly (affecting the loop size) and pull tag end to tighten knot.

04. Lubricate with saliva. Tighten knot and trim tag closely.

07. Salmon fly to tippet


Mörrum Guiding Knot

A knot nicely suited for up or down eye salmon flies on heavy tippets. The guiding knot and tippet will be parallel to the hook shank and thus helping the fly swim correctly through the water when under pull.

01. Pass the tag end of the tippet through the eye, around the hook shank and bring back out through the hook eye again.

Form a loop and wrap the tag end at least 3 times around the loop and tippet itself.

03. First tighten the loop by pulling on the tag end. Then work the knot down to the hook eye and tighten by pulling on the standing end of the tippet. Don't forget to lubricate knot before tightening.

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