There are a lot of different types of fishing knots. Some are used for attaching terminal tackle, some are used for splicing lines together, and some can be used for both.
Making sense of these knots is critical as there will be a knot somewhere between the reel and the fish. So if your knot fails, you lose a fish and your lure.
In this article, we’ll cover the most common fishing knots. It’s important to note there are tons of other knots some of which will work just as well as the ones listed below.
Many fishermen swear by the use of the Palomar Knot, myself included. I use this knot almost exclusively for attaching hooks and lures to the end of the fishing line.
When tied properly, this knot achieves close to full strength of the fishing line.
In particular, this knot works especially well with braided fishing line, however, it works well with fluoro and mono fishing line as well. With a little bit of practice, the Palomar Knot is so easy to do that you can tie it in the dark.
In short, this knot is simple but strong and effective.
Some of the other names you will hear it called include:
- The Duncan Knot
- Homer Rhode Loop
- Jansik Special
- Trilene Knot
- Duncan Special
- Offshore Swivel Knot
The uni knot comes in handy when you want to tie two separate fishing lines together, and you don’t want to use a swivel for it. You could choose to tie this knot either with monofilament line. If you choose to do it with braided line, just leave several extra layers to simplify it for yourself.
Some of the names you will hear this knot called include:
- The Grinner Knot
- The Duncan Loop Knot
This is another strong contender for the best knot for attaching terminal tackle to your line.
This knot is very straightforward to tie. This knot is a bit more difficult if you try to tie with braided line.
Some fishermen dislike it because of how it isn’t a particular strong knot. Granted, you can find other knots that are stronger, but the Uni knot gets the job done under most circumstances.
Double Uni Knot
As a new fisherman, you probably wouldn’t start with the Double Uni Knot as you’re probably not splicing line together or creating leaders.
In short, you are tying a uni knot from one piece of line around a second piece of line. Then you tie the a uni knot in the second piece of line around the original line. The result is two uni knots, hence the name double uni.
When the knot is tied correctly, you have two uni knots pushing up against each other preventing the line from sliding.
You don’t have any other names that this one goes by, other than the Double Grinner.
If you were to look at the advantages of this, one of the advantages is that you don’t have to worry that this knot will slip or break. In addition, it is also simple to tie, and you can tie it quickly.
In terms of disadvantages, you have to beware of tying monofilament to braid. The problem is that it stretches the monofilament line. You probably don’t want this choice for monofilament to braid because it doesn’t offer a lot of strength.
The Snell Knot
In the past, fishermen loved the Snell Knot when hooks didn’t come with an eye where you could pass the line through it. This knot works especially well if you were to use it for fly fishing.
You might also use it to connect the main line to a hook. Sometimes, you will also hear fishermen call it the hitch knot.
With the Snell Knot, the main source of strength is attachment to the shank of the hook, rather than the eye of the hook.
The advantage is the fact that you can control the position of the hook when you go to use it. If you’re working in frog grass or grass, this gives you a huge advantage with maneuvering.
The biggest disadvantage is how the Snell Knot covers up one-fourth of your hook. Also, you have to make sure that you tie the Snell Knot correctly, or it will be a weak knot when it comes to the use of it. If done improperly, you can wind up losing your fish.
The Clinch Knot is hands down one of the most popular fisherman’s knots.
This knot can secure the hook, line or swivel, and it has occasionally been used to fasten a leader to a fly.
You can also tie this knot with relatively few problems, and you can use it for everything whether fishing freshwater or saltwater. This knot has become so widely used that you will sometimes hear it called the fisherman’s knot.
With this knot, you have a wide level of applicability. You can use it for almost everything, which is one of the reasons that it became so popular.
In particular, this knot works the best when you want to secure the hook, line, or the swivel. The advantage of this knot is that you can tie it easily. Another advantage is that it is reliable as a knot.
You don’t want to use this knot for heavier line, however, because it doesn’t work as well. Anything over 30-pound test is probably too much. You should also always moisten the knot before you tie it tight. That’s because it helps to tighten the knot and lowers the friction as it gets tied tightly.
Improved Clinch Knot
As the name implies, this is the improved version of the Clinch Knot. One of the key differences between this knot and the regular version is that you will take the tag, and you will wrap it around the standing line between four and seven times.
Like with the regular version, you want to moisten the knot before pulling it tight. As it is with the other version, you tie this knot as a way of keeping the hook, line and swivel in check. Most commonly, you see this knot used as a way of fastening the leader to your fly.
In terms of advantages, one of the key advantages comes from how you can attach a small diameter tippet to the heavy wire hook. With the final tuck that you make toward the end of this knot, it improves the chances that you will hang onto a particularly aggressive fish.
Your biggest problem with this knot comes when you plan to use heavier-pound line. Anything with mono over 30-pound test doesn’t work well with this line.
It’s true that the Surgeon’s Knot first started as a surgical knot. Fishermen also like to use this because of how easy it is to tie it.
At a time where the light conditions are low, you can still see the knot. It is two overhand knots that have the whole leader pulled through the knot each time. In particular, you can use this knot as a way of joining the lines from two different types of materials.
This type of knot has a lot of strength behind it. Sometimes, you will also hear people call this the ligature knot.
The biggest advantage of this knot comes from how easy it is to learn. You don’t have to put a lot of time and practice into learning this one. The other advantage is that this knot is particularly useful when you want to join two lines from moderately unequal size.
The biggest disadvantage comes from how bulky it looks after you have tied it. That can tip the fish off to the fact that something is not right. With the bulkiness, it also puts the line at a slight angle.
If you were to look at the greatest strength of the J Knot, it would most likely come from the fact that it’s one of the strongest knots for leaders. This line doesn’t put as much stress on the line as some of the other knots.
This knot ranks as stronger than a lot of the other knots. For the best use, you might use the J Knot to join a leader to the main line. It gives you one of the strongest connections possible. This is a loop knot, and it doesn’t have any alternate names.
If you were to look at the advantages of the J Knot, the biggest advantage comes from the strength of this knot. This is one that offers a lot of power in your arsenal.
However, the biggest disadvantage comes from the fact that it isn’t the easiest knot when it comes to tying it. You will have to practice this knot a few times before you will get the most from it.
Surgeon’s End Loop
The power of the Surgeon’s End Loop comes from its simplicity. You have an easy knot to tie that doesn’t take a lot of time.
This knot doesn’t have any alternative nicknames.
Fishermen prefer this over some of the other knots because they don’t have to struggle as much to do it. You can tie it more quickly and easier than some of the others. When loops are made, it’s to attach a sinker, leader or a terminal tackle. T
he big advantage of this one is that you can even tie it while in the dark. This is a good one if you want to join two different mono lines together.
You have to be aware, however, that this isn’t a durable knot when tying a light line.
An Arbor knot is when attaching a new fishing line to the spool of a fishing reel. The knot allows a bit of slip around the knot to allow you to tighten it around the spool. Once the knot is tightened, you can start to reel the new line in.
There are no alternate names for the Arbor Knot.
In terms of the advantages that you get from this knot, it’s really second to none when putting a new line on a reel.
If you have monofilament or fluorocarbon lines, this will work especially well. If you are adding braided line to a reel, you’ll want to start with a mono or fluoro starter line then splice the braided line on once the line is “sticking” to the reel.