5 Top Fishing Knots Every Angler Should Know How To Tie

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The world of knot tying is one that can be frightening for anglers to enter. Staring at someone on the bank of a lake or river and witnessing them get fully rigged in a few minutes is intimidating. For many, it seems as if the knowledge of what knots to use and when leaves us exactly when we need the information most. 

Trial and error are how most anglers perfect knots. Losing fish or precious tackle will quickly force anglers to learn what knots to tie and how to do them perfectly! There are five knots that every fisherman or woman should know how to tie! 

In this article I will cover:

  • How to Tie the Uni Knot
  • How to Tie the Fisherman’s Knot
  • How to Tie the Palomar Knot
  • How to Tie the Surgeon Knot
  • How to Tie the Snell Knot

What is a Uni Knot and How to Tie It? 

The Uni Knot – Also known as a grinner knot

If you’re anything like most people, you forget your left hand from your right hand when it comes to tying knots. Thankfully, the Uni Knot is quite easy to tie and extremely useful in a variety of situations. The Uni knot is also known as a Grinner Knot.

It can work on any sort of monofilament to terminal tackle connection. If you’re using a barrel swivel, the Uni Knot is a perfect knot to use. It can also work for attaching hooks, lures, and nearly everything in between.

Here are step-by-step directions on how to do it: 

  • Start by placing the line through the eye of the hook and pulling the tag end parallel to the “standing” line or the line that’s attached to the spool of your reel. You’ll want a 10 to 12-inch tag. Hold them tightly together. 
  • Next, take the top of the tag end of the line and pull it down near the eye of the hook, swivel, etc. It should form a small loop and be doubled up near the terminal tackle you’re attaching. 
  • Take the several inches you have left of the tag end in your hand. Place the tag end through the loop, around the “standing” line, and the part of your tag end that’s folded into the loop. Run the tag end of the line through the loop four to six times. 
  • Once you have done this, pull on both sides of the knot to make it tight. 
  • After it’s tight, you can grab the terminal tackle and the standing end of your line and pull. The knot should slide down and fit snugly up against your terminal tackle! 

What is a Fisherman’s Knot and How to Tie It? 

The Fishermans Knot – every angler should know this knot

The fisherman’s knot is one of the first knots most anglers learn. It’s also known as the Improved Clinch knot. This is one of those knots that every angler should learn how to tie! Plus, it’s one of the easiest knots to teach children. 

This is a great knot to attach hooks, flies, and lures to your line. 

Here is a step-by-step process on how to tie it: 

  • Start by running the tag end of your line through the eye of your hook. Make sure your tag is around 8-10 inches long. 
  • Take the tag end of your line and wrap it around the standing end five to seven times. It may help to lick the line before you do this. It’ll allow it to be maneuvered much easier. 
  • Next, take what is left of your tag end and put it through the loop that’s next to the eye of your hook. 
  • By doing this, you have formed a second loop that includes all of the wraps you made. 
  • Take the tag end of the line in one hand and the hook in the other and pull. You should see the wraps you made slide down the standing end of your line and stack nicely on the top of your hook. 

Once you have this, trim the end of your tag end and you’ll be good to go. It’s an extremely strong knot. If you know you need more resistance, you may have to do 10 or so wraps. 

What is a Palomar Knot and How to Tie It? 

The Palomar Knot – the strongest knot for fishing

You’ll find many anglers willing to argue that the Palomar knot is the best knot for fishing. It’s extremely strong, but if it’s not tied properly it can easily fail. If you find yourself fishing a Ned Rig with a braided line, the Palomar knot is perfect for you. That’s not the only situation where this knot will excel. 

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to tie the Palomar Knot: 

  • Like every other knot, start by threading your standing line through the eye of the hook. You’ll need about a 12 to 14-inch tag end. 
  • Next, you’ll actually thread the line back through the hook eye. Take about six inches of your tag end and put it back through the eye of the hook. You’ll want about six inches of line on both sides of the eye. 
  • Do your best to not pinch the line! It will create an unnecessary crease in the line that can be hard to work with. Also, do your best to not twist the line as you pass it back through the eye of the hook. 
  • With your line passed correctly through the eye of the hook, you should have about six inches of double line on each side of the eye. 
  • Now that it’s done properly, make an overhand knot. Cross the looped line over the tag line and the standing line. 
  • Take the looped line underneath the tag and standing line and make a slight pull to form a loose knot. Your hook should be at the bottom of the loose knot. 
  • Hold the loose overhand knot with your thumb and pointer finger and place the hook through the looped end of the line. 
  • Once the hook is through the looped line, hold onto it with one hand. Hold the standing line and looped line with your other hand and gently pull.

Always remember, that wetting your line and knots when tying all fishing knots will reduce friction, and create a solid and strong connection! 

What is a Surgeon Knot and How to Tie It? 

The Surgeons knot – a very strong and simple knot to tie

The Palomar knot is a bit challenging, so let’s follow it up with the Surgeon’s knot. This knot is strong and quite simple. If you’re looking to attach a leader to your line, then this is the knot for you. It’s easier than the blood knot and the J Knot. 

Again, if you’re attaching two lines together, this is the knot for you.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to tie this knot:

  • Start by placing your leader and line side by side overlapping by 5 or 6 inches. This will give you plenty of line to work with as you begin connecting. 
  • Use both lines and form a loop and tie an overhand knot. Do so by passing the longer end of the leader and the tag end of your standing line through the loop. 
  • Repeat that exact same step again
  • Wet the lines with your saliva and pull tightly. This will bring both of the knots together and create an extremely strong connection. 
  • You are going to be left with two tag ends!
  • If you’re fishing some sort of dropper rig, leave it on one of the tag ends available to attach a hook. If you aren’t go ahead and trim the tag ends so they don’t get hung up in vegetation.

What is a Snell Knot and How to Tie It? 

The Snell Knot – a great knot for tying hooks to line

If you’re specifically tying your hook to the line, then go ahead and use the Snell knot. It’s hard to find a knot that better connects your hook to your fishing line. It’s not very invasive and quite easy to tie once you get the hang of it. 

It’s a common knot to use if you’re using live bait in saltwater. Also, if you’re Texas rigging into vegetation, then snelling the hook is the best option for you. It can be tied with mono, braid, and even fluorocarbon lines. 

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to Snell a hook: 

  • Run the tag end of your line through the eye of your hook. Make sure you have 4 to 6 inches of tag end to work with. 
  • Make a small loop with the tag end of your line and hold on to that with the hand that’s holding the hook. 
  • Take the rest of the tag end of your line and wrap it around the shank of your hook. Wrapping it around the shank of the hook will keep your loop in place. If possible, wrap your tag end around the shank of your hook five to seven times. 
  • Place the rest of your tag through the loop you created. 
  • Once you have placed it through the loop you have created, pull tightly on the tag and the eye of the hook. This will cinch things very closely together. 
  • Go ahead and snip the tag end of the line so no line is sticking out! 

This is a unique knot in the sense that quite a bit of your line is on the shank of your hook. Therefore, you don’t want any tag ends sticking out because they’ll likely distract the fish. 


The five knots common knots covered in this article are the main ones, there are many more.

Fishing knots are essential to know. You never know when you’re going to run into a situation that requires the knowledge of tying a variety of different knots!

To master Knot tying you must keep practicing. Take a rope or extra fishing line and give these knots a try. Prior practice and knowledge are going to make your time on the water that much more productive!

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, you can find out more about monofilament line, fluorocarbon line, and braided line in my detailed fishing line articles.

Daniel Mooers