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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.


11 Comments on How to tie basic fly-fishing knots

  1. you can get a fly rod at walmart for 20 bucks

  2. yoshicomand // March 24, 2008 at 5:47 pm // Reply

    thanks for the help, i really needed some basic knowledge before i went out to catch a big peacock bass

  3. how loung should your leader be

  4. do you need tippet?

  5. where can I git a cheap fly rod

  6. Thanks this really helps me out; I had forgotten all the necessary knots and was worried about having a hard time finding them, but not any more.

  7. paintballer 22 // November 18, 2007 at 7:09 pm // Reply

    Thanks I could never tie a knot!But I always flyfish

  8. little eagle // October 15, 2007 at 7:18 pm // Reply


  9. nice but I’d like to see annimated how to tie knots to down load so I can teach it to my den

  10. awsomb

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