Tie a fly fishing knot

Edited by Maria

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Instructions on How to Tie a Fly Fishing Knot

Fly fishing knots need not be complicated, but they can certainly seem so to a novice.

The basic connecting knots become simple with practice and understanding. This how-to outlines how to tie some of the basic fly fishing knots. The knots go in order from reel to fly.

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How to tie an Arbor Knot

The Arbor knot connects the backing, which is the first section of filament, to the center of the reel, or reel arbor.

  1. 1
    First, pass the filament around the arbor.
    Izaya25 k1.png
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  2. 2
    Pull the end of the line, which is now around the arbor, under the first line and tie an overhand knot.
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  3. 3
    To tie an overhand knot, pull the end of the line underneath the lead-in line.
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  4. 4
    Then bring the end around the lead-in line and across the top of itself.
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  5. 5
    Finally, pass the end of the line under the earlier loop.
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  6. 6
    Bring the end up through the loop, back above itself, and tighten by pulling it through.
    Izaya25 k2.png
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  7. 7
    Tie a second overhand knot with the end line around itself.
    Izaya25 k3.png
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  8. 8
    The first knot needs to be tightened against the arbor.
    You'll pull the first line away from the knot to tighten it around the arbor.
    Izaya25 k41.png
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How to tie an Albright Knot

The Albright Knot is a strong, durable knot which connects the fly line to the backing.

  1. 1
    Place both ends of each line next to each other.
    Izaya25 a1.png
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  2. 2
    Loop the thicker backing line under and around the fly line.
    Izaya25 a2.png
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  3. 3
    Pull the end to rest along itself.
    Izaya25 a23.png
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  4. 4
    Pass the thinner fly line under both the end and the leading line of the backing line.
    Izaya25 a234.png
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  5. 5
    Wrap the fly line over then under itself and both parts of the backing line.
    Izaya25 a3.png
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  6. 6
    Perform this loop 10 times, each time looping the thin line towards itself.
    Izaya25 a4.png
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  7. 7
    Push the fly line through the loop created by the backing line and pull the end to tighten.
    Izaya25 a5.png
    Izaya25 a6.png
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  8. 8
    Clip the ends of both lines near.
    Izaya25 a7.png
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How to tie a Nail Knot

The Nail knot is attaches the fly line to the leader line. This knot was originally completed with a nail, but a straw is much more convenient.

  1. 1
    Arrange the fly line and the leader line next to each other.
    Izaya25 nk.png
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  2. 2
    Pull the leader line over, the fly line, and then under.
    Then pull the leader line at a 90 degree downward.
    Izaya25 n2.png
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  3. 3
    Place a straw along the fly line and on top of the downward facing leader line.
    Izaya25 n3.png
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  4. 4
    Pass the leader line up and then under the fly line and the straw.
    Izaya25 n4.png
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  5. 5
    Make six complete loops up and under the line and straw.
    Izaya25 n5.png
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  6. 6
    On the final loop, pass the line over then under the lines and through the straw.
    Izaya25 n6.png
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  7. 7
    Pull the leader line to tighten the know, the straw should slide right out of the loops.
    Izaya25 n7.png
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  8. 8
    Tighten the lines and clip the ends.
    Izaya25 n8.png
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How to tie a Surgeons Knot

A Surgeon's knot attaches the tippet to the leader line.

  1. 1
    The leader and the tippet are placed side-by-side.
    This knot is created with both lines at the same time.
    Izaya25 s11.png
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  2. 2
    Loop both lines up then under and through each other to create one large loop.
    Izaya25 s2.png
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  3. 3
    Repeat this loop twice.
    This is essentially an overhand knot with more loops.
    Izaya25 s3.png
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  4. 4
    Pull the ends and lines to tighten.
    Izaya25 s4.png
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  5. 5
    Clip the excess line from each end.
    Izaya25 s5t.png
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How to tie an Improved Clinch Knot

Finally, an Improved Clinch Knot is tied in order to connect the eyelet of the fly lure with the tippet line.

  1. 1
    Pass the tippet through the eyelet of the hook, and then over itself to form a loose loop.
    Izaya25 i1.png
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  2. 2
    Wrap the end up and around the line five times.
    Izaya25 i2.png
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  3. 3
    Pull the end down and pass it through the initial loop close to the eyelet.
    Izaya25 i3.png
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  4. 4
    Pass the end under the downward loop that was just created.
    Izaya25 i4.png
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  5. 5
    Tighten the line by pulling the end and clip the excess.
    Izaya25 i5.png
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Moisten the line before starting. Wetting the lines before tying creates a tighter knot.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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