Fly Fishing - I Know Knot What I Do


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When it comes to fly fishing, tying a knot is not the most glamorous of subjects. Without a knot, however, you’ll not be snatching the Muskie of your dreams.

Fly Fishing Knots

First thing first, we need to get the lingo down since we wont be using illustrations in this article. Three basic terms will cover practically any aspect of the knot tying process. “Tag end" refers to the last ten inches of so of line you are holding in your hand, to wit, the pointy part you will be pushing through and wrapping around things. “Standing end" refers to the rest of the line. Yes, very complicated and difficult to understand. “Wrap" refers to the action wherein you move the tag end of the line one full revolution around the standing end. The wrap can also be called a turn, but you have the general idea.

As with practically anything in fly fishing, there are an infinite number of variations to knots. Mysterious variations include the Steroidius Double Flip [good for catching professional athlete fish], the Marigold Hammer [good for catching the neighbor’s plants while practicing in your back yard] and the Wifeous Annoyous [a complex knot that gets you in trouble with the wife since you’re supposed to be painting the garage], but you probably start with the “Aarrgg, Dammit…" knot common to beginners.

Fisherman’s Knot

Other than tying your shoes, the easiest knot to learn is the fisherman’s knot. Get your hook in one hand and tag end in the other. And a one and a two…

1. As you proceed, keep everything slack. We will be passing the tag end through loops we create. DO NOT tighten anything until told to!

2. Pull the tag end through the eye of the hook.

3. Bend the tag end back to the standing end and wrap four or five times. Make sure you do not tighten the wrap. [You should now have a closed loop through the hook. ]

4. Take your tag end and push it through the loop formed by the wrap. Do not push it through the hook eye, just the bigger loop of line.

5. You will have just created another loop and should pass the tag end through again.

6. Slowly pull on the hook and stag end until the knot is tight. Watch those fingers.

Congratulations! If you’ve tied the perfect knot, it is time to hit local fishing spot. If you’ve made a mess of it, try again. Either way, you get to avoid painting the garage.

Rick Chapo is with - makers of diary and writing journals for fly fishing. Visit to read more articles about fly fishing and the great outdoors .


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