TEXAS GUNS by Steve LaMascus
November 25, 2016
TEXAS BOATING by Lenny Rudow
November 25, 2016

Fly Knots to Know

I admit, I forget a lot of stuff. I’m getting older, there’s a lot of useless junk rolling around in my head (like the fact that Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras)

I have no idea why I know that. There are times when I get all jumbled and spout off moronic facts from my past such as the time I almost failed English my freshman year of college because I couldn’t write a coherent sentence.


Sometimes I ramble on about nothing such as right now when I’ve forgotten the whole purpose of this article. So, I forget a lot of stuff and sometimes it takes my kids to remind me of this.

For example, The Boy decided he wanted to start fly fishing which reminded me of some stuff I used to know when fly fishing. If you’ve ever done any fly fishing you know that although catching a fish on a fly rod is difficult, actually getting your gear to a state where you can start fishing is almost impossible.

Why? Because there are 8,471 knots that have to be tied between your reel and the fly. Seriously. You have to connect the backing to the reel, the fly line to the backing, the leader to the fly line, the tippet to the leader, the fly to the tippet (the knee bone connected to the thigh bone—admit it you were singing it in your head).

It’s a good idea to know how to tie all of these knots but I’m going to focus on just two of them. One because you can use it for just about any kind of fishing you do. The other, because you can use it to impress the ladies at the bait shop.

The first knot we’re going to look at is the arbor knot. This is used to tie the main line to the arbor (line hold section) of your reel whether or not it is a fly, spinning, or bait casting reel. Now, keep in mind the intent of this knot is to simply attach the line to the reel, not hold a fish if it takes all of your line. If you lose enough line to see your arbor knot there is a good chance you’re not getting any of it back anyway.

Start the arbor knot by running the tag end of the line around the spool (arbor) of the reel. Now tie an overhand knot with the tag end of the line going around the main line. Tie one more overhand knot in the tag end of the line without going around the main line.

To tighten the knots, start pulling the main line away from the reel. Be sure not to let the second overhand knot you tied in the end of the tag line slip through the first one before it gets tight. After both knots are cinched down clip off the excess tag end and finish spooling on the new line.

The second knot we’ll look at is the nail knot, which originally used a nail to tie, but now you use a small tube (you would think we’d rename it but we don’t). If you’re fly fishing, this is used to connect your leader to your fly line. 

Start the nail knot with your fly line and leader lying parallel to each other with the tag end of the fly line on the right and the tag end of the leader on the left. Place a small tube in line with the fly line and leader. Hold the leader, fly line, and tube together with about ten inches of the tag end of the leader hanging out.

Working left to right, wrap the tag end of the leader around the fly line, tube, and leader about 8 times. Then take the tag end of the leader and run it through the tube from right to left. Remove the tube, pulling it left. Pull the tag end of the leader to cinch it down around your fly line. Trim the excess tag ends of the leader and fly line. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to put a small drop of glue on the knot to make sure it stays tied.

So there you have it. There is one knot that you will use multiple times on every reel—along with one that you will probably never use in your lifetime, but you can use it to impress your friends.


Email Greg Berlocher at [email protected]

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