How to Learn Fly Fishing Knots

How to Learn Fly Fishing Knots
Fishing knots are the weakest point in your line and poorly tied knots often result in lost fish. However, by tying a proper knot, you can retain more than 90 percent of the line's strength, according to There are dozens of fly fishing knots for various situations, including: the improved clinch, nail, non-slip, perfection loop, arbor, turtle, and surgeon. Resources are available to help you learn how to tie a proper knot.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Get a pocket guide to fly fishing knots. The Pocket Guide to Fly Fishing Knots by Stan Bradshaw is an ideal resource. The advantage of a pocket guide is that you can bring it fishing with you and learn on the fly (no pun intended). The book's small size and plastic waterproof pages makes it easy to take along with you. Moreover, all of the knots are accompanied by easy-to-understand diagrams and tabbed pages will allow you to index for quick referencing. However, the Fly Fishing Information Center recommends that you learn some basic knots before heading out. This can cut down on frustration and allow you to spend more time fishing.
Step 2
Peruse the Internet for step-by-step instructions. At, you can find videos of how to tie various knots. In addition, the site offers general knot-tying tips, such as: always lubricate your line before attempting to tie a knot. The advantage of learning to tie a knot from the Internet is that it's free, quick, and easy. However, if you forget how to tie a particular knot or want to find out how to tie a knot while you're out fishing, the Internet will not be of any use.
Step 3
Take a fly fishing class. Classes are surprisingly abundant throughout the United States. Many of them are taught by certified instructors. For example, Davidson River Outfitters in North Carolina is a school designed by the Fly Fishing Masters national champion Kevin Howell, and offers classes taught by certified instructors. In addition to being able to teach you all there is to know about tying fly fishing knots, these instructors often have access to private lakes and the best gear in the world. In addition, the National Fly Fishing in Schools Program is a nationwide effort to introduce fly fishing to students grades 6 to 12. These schools work with state fish and wildlife agencies to teach students more than just fly fishing, such as conservation and leadership skills.

Article Written By Thomas King

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.

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