Four Knots You Need To Know

Poorly tied knots are the main reason why many big fish gain their freedom before reaching the net. Master these four simple knots, and you’ll be prepared when you finally encounter Mr. Big.

The Dropper Loop:

This knot forms a loop at a right angle to the main line. It’s an excellent way to attach a dropper fly in front of a swimming plug. It’s also perfect for attaching teasers above a jig, and can also be used to attached pre-tied bottomfish leaders above your sinker using a loop-to-loop connection.
dropper loop step 1 dropper loop step 2 dropper loop step 3
dropper loop step 4

Attach droppers using a loop-to-loop connection

Video How-To

How-To Make and Use a Dropper Loop Jig Learn how-to make a dropper loop jig and easily tie consistent dropper loops.

Snelling a Hook

This is the best way to attach an angle-eyed-hook to a leader. The knot is extremely strong, and always pulls the hook straight, resulting in better hook-ups.
snell hook step 1

Pass your line through the eye and make a loop.

snell hook step 2

Pass the tag end through the loop.

snell hoop step 3

Make 5 or 6 turns, then pull the main- line to tighten.

snell hook step 4

Trim the tag end.

Improved Clinch Knot:

This tried-and-true knot is a favorite with many fishermen. It’s ideal for tying your line directly to a lure, swivel or straight-shank hook. If there is just one knot to master, this is it.
clinch knot step 1

Make five to seven wraps.

clinch knot step 2 clinch knot step 3

clinch knot step 4

Cinch the knot tight and trim the tag end.

The Double-Uni Knot

This knot, also known as the uni-to-uni knot, is ideal for attaching two lines of varying thickness, such as attaching a fluorocarbon leader directly to braided line.
double uni step 1

Braid main line (top/black) Fluoro leader (bottom/white)

double uni step 2

2 Make 4 to 6 wraps.

double uni step 3

3 Tighten neatly without twisting the line.

double uni step 4

4 Repeat the first three steps, wrapping the braided line around the fluoro 8 to 10 times.

double uni step 5

5 Slowly pull the two knots together.

double uni step 6

6 Trim the tag ends.

Illustrations by Peter Owen, from his book The Pocket Guide to Fishing Knots, courtesy Burford Books.

  1. Tom C

    Is it just me or is the first drawing in the dropper loop incorrect? Also, palomar!!!

    Reply
      • Pete

        Yes. I use Palomar almost exclusively when fishing braid. between that and the uni/double uni I don’t need any other knots when surfcasting.

        Reply
      • Elliot Lewis

        The only problem I have with the Palomar is that you have to loop it around your tackle to close it out. Sometimes, I prefer the clinch so that I don’t have to loop around the tackle and get caught on hooks. Also, I have not really gotten comfortable with any knot to join lines. It is hit or miss with me on the blood knot, but I have to say I have never had much luck joining lines and I avoid it. Any suggestions?

        Reply
    • Skip

      What is the difference between a uni knot and a blood knot? Are they one in the same?

      Reply
    • chris alisi

      I use the uniknot for all my terminal tackle it is the easiest to tie and strong you can even tieit when your hands are freezing

      Reply
  2. Steve A

    If you’re using braid you need to learn the FG knot for attaching a mono or floro leader.

    Reply
  3. Bob R

    Great examples and very helpful. It would be even better if you made a printable version of the diagrams.

    Reply
  4. Joe Pesca

    Plus one for FG knot! Been fishing Maine inshore and offshore, and Buzzards Bay for 30 years, I’ve tried nearly every knot imaginable. IMHO these are the best knots (for strength, ease of fashioning and least likely to catch up on guides) : FG for Braid to mono/fluorocarbon leader ; Bimini twist/Bristol for mono to fluorocarbon leader (100% knot, main line is the weakest link here, I’ve landed numerous Albies on 4 and 6 lb mono using this arrangement, I tie this in one minute now, any time, anywhere) ; terminal connections are 3 turn Uni for over 12 lb, 4 turn under 12 lb test (a time tested tip I got from talking with Larry Dahlberg a few years ago). The other listed knots are worthy as well, but these that I’ve learned to tie and use for main line to leader to tackle are the best.

    Reply
  5. Bill Hoffman

    Right now is the best time of the year to practice knot tying.
    It is too cold for me to be outside fishing. And I am bored sitting inside.
    What better way to use this time to improve knot tying and get a head start on the spring fishing season.
    Good luck everybody.

    Reply
    • Don

      The best is Palomar. Its one knot……..one……overhand…….knot!
      100% strength. In back in the water before you get your 3rd turn on it. Lol

      Reply

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