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How to tie basic fly-fishing knots

Fly fishermen depend on knots and must know how to tie several different knots properly. A badly or improperly tied knot will result in lost fish and great frustration for the angler.

Click on the knots to find out how to tie them.



Use the Turtle knot (or Turle knot) to make a straight connection between the fly and the leader.


1. Pass the end of the leader through the fly’s (or hook’s) eye from the front, as shown, and slide the fly up the leader so that it will be out of the way.

2. Make a loop with a slipknot in the end of the leader.

3. Pull the loop over and around the fly, bringing the free end around twice, like a double overhand knot, and tighten.

4. Pull the leader and wrap the loop around the back of the hook’s eye as shown, tighten, and trim the end.


A double surgeon’s loop can be used to add a tippet to the leader. For loop-to-loop connections, the double surgeon’s loop is the easiest knot to use because it is easy to tie.



Use the nail knot to tie fly line to the backing or to attach a leader to a line. This knot works well for tying together monofilament of different diameters. If you don’t have a nail handy, use a substitute such as a thin tube.


1. Hold the nail along the fly line and backing between your thumb and forefinger.

2. Lay a loop of line along the nail and, with the free end, wind the monofilament around the nail, loop, and leader about six times. Pull on both sides of the line to tighten, making a smooth knot.

3. Hold the “coils” carefully between your thumb and forefinger, remove the nail, and tighten the knot all the way.


Use a backing knot to attach the backing to the spool.


28 Comments on How to tie basic fly-fishing knots

  1. fish hammer // March 29, 2015 at 8:44 pm // Reply


  2. fish hammer // March 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm // Reply

    this is great for someone that is just beginingto start flyfishing

  3. As an old Eagle Scout and father of three Eagle Scouts I enjoy reading Boys’ Life. Keep up the good work!

  4. ..................... // August 10, 2013 at 4:33 am // Reply


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