3 Best Fishing Knots for (almost) Everything
See how long it takes to master these three simple knots—and then do them blindfolded.
by PJ Delhomme
There are more knots in the world than you have time to tie. That’s why we spoke with a handful of fishing guides to narrow your options to just three. Master these, and you’ll be well on your way to earning your fishing merit badge.
Palomar Knot: Attach line to hook
This is knot number one. It’s strong, reliable, and simple. Some fishermen might prefer an improved clinch knot, but the Palomar is quick and easy.
Surgeon’s Loop: When you need a loop
Use this when you want a loop-to-loop connection, which allows you to disconnect the lines easily. In fly-fishing, it’s useful when attaching a fly line to a tapered leader. With a slight variation in what is essentially a double overhand knot, the surgeon’s loop can also be used to attach a hook or lure. This lets the lure move more freely in the the current.
Surgeon’s Knot: Attach two lines
A surgeon’s knot connects two lines, especially those of different diameters. When fly fishing, it’s especially handy when building a tapered leader. Some anglers prefer a blood knot, which is more streamlined, but it’s not easy to tie with old eyes and sausage fingers.
Did we miss a knot? Of course, we did. If you want to learn more knots (like the venerable improved clinch knot), head on over to “Six Fishing Knots All Anglers Should Know.” If three knots are just too many knots to remember, you can always use the uni-knot system. Read about that one-stop knot here.
More articles in our Be An Expert on the Water series!