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fishing knots

With many of us turning to new hobbies during the pandemic quarantine, fishing has emerged as an ideal way to pass time in isolation. The only barriers to entry are a few simple pieces of equipment — and the ability to tie a knot. Here’s our quick guide on how to tie fishing and fly-fishing knots that won’t let you down when you’re about to land a prize catch. Follow these simple steps.

Organize your Tackle

Get it on Tophatter for around $15

The mark of an expert angler is a neatly arranged tackle box with everything in its place. Tying knots can be fiddly and the process demands concentration. You want your set of hooks to be squared away for easy selection. Storing your tackle correctly will also prevent dirt and moisture from spreading rust. If you’ve ever tried to thread a rusty hook, you’ll know how difficult it can be.

Learn Your Lines

fishing knots - fishing line

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While it’s perfectly possible to use a single thread of fishing line from reel to hook, you’ll need to know how to tie lines to other lines of differing thicknesses, as well as lures and rigs. These are hard-working knots, especially in sea fishing, where they have to show some impressive strength during epic duels, and fly fishing, where each knot must allow loose, free movement from rod to lure.

Use a Tool

fishing knots - manual knotter

Get it on Tophatter for around $7

Here’s the last exit before we get to the intricate part, and the moment to acknowledge that not everyone has the dexterity or eyesight to tie knots. If you’re all fingers and thumbs, let a fly-fishing knot tyer do the job for you, or at least keep a lightweight manual knotter in your tackle for when it’s too cold or dark to tie knots manually. If your eyes aren’t up to squinting at fine, translucent fishing line, you might also find that a clip-on magnifying glass gives you the precision view you need to finish the job.

Go-to Knots for Fishing

Aim to perfect these essential knots for attaching lines, hooks and more. They will soon become second nature.

Palomar — strong and simple

  1. Form a loop (or “bight”) with the end of the line.
  2. Pass it through the eye of the hook.
  3. Complete an overhand knot on the standing end.
  4. Loop back over the hook itself and pull tight around the knot.

Hangman’s — the all-purpose knot

  1. Pass the line through the eye and make a loop with the tag end.
  2. Wrap the free end four or five times through the loop.
  3. Pull tight and draw back toward the hook.

Clinch — easy to learn

  1. Pass the line through the eye.
  2. Wrap it several times around the standing end.
  3. Thread the free end back through the loop and pull tight.

Arbor — line to spool

  1. Loop the line around the arbor.
  2. Tie an overhand knot and pull tight.
  3. Tie another overhand knot in the free end.
  4. Slide tight against the arbor.

Albright — tying lines together

  1. Form an elongated loop with the thicker line.
  2. Thread the thinner line through it.
  3. Wrap the thin line back over itself and the thicker loop.
  4. Pass through the remaining loop and pull tight.

Tie off and Trim

fishing knots - fishing line scissors

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Since fish will detect any loose pieces of line, make sure you trim away any excess with a pair of fishing scissors. If you need to loosen, repair or strip out a piece of tackle you’ve knotted, you’ll be glad to have an angler’s multitool to hand for running modifications.

fishing knots - multitool

Get it on Tophatter for around $23

Take pride in your fishing knots and they’ll reward you with trophy catches to show off to your rivals. You also might find that they come in useful in other scenarios beyond fishing.

Shop fishing gear:

  1. Fishing tackle box
  2. Set of fishing hooks
  3. Fishing line
  4. Sea fishing line (braided)
  5. Knot tyer
  6. Fishing line knotter
  7. Clip-on magnifying glass
  8. Fishing scissors
  9. Angler’s multitool

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

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