View Full Version : Knots

11-20-2006, 08:16 PM
Up until yesterday I had used a blood knot for the tippet-to-leader connection. Yesterday I had to add tippet twice....6x, in the rain, with numb hands, and low light. After hearing me complaining Redc4man pointed out how much easier it is to use a surgeon's knot.

So I was wondering. What knots do the rest of you use? I use an improved clinch knot for tippet-to-fly, a surgeon's knot for leader-to-tippet, and a nail knot for leader-to-fly line.

appalachian angler
11-20-2006, 09:01 PM
I like the surgeons knot for tippet to leader. I use an improved clinch knot for tippet to fly and this knot that Lefty Kreh showed me (which seems stronger) but I don't know the name of it. The biggest thing with knots that I have learned is to wet them well and secure them with a nice consistent pull. Lefty preaches that a knot will fail if or when it slips. I only seem to have bad luck with these knots when they are tied in haste. Always make fresh tippet knots if you are re-using a leader too!


11-21-2006, 12:27 AM
I like the double surgeon as well for tippet to leader (sometimes I triple it when using 'carbon), and the ol standby improved clinch knot for the tippet to fly...

11-21-2006, 12:52 AM
Double surgeon's knot for anything you'll catch in the smokies, however, if your whiling large streamers above your head I'd stick with the blood knot. The double surgeon makes fishing a little more plesent mainly because it takes less time fumbling with your line in your hands instead of lying it on the water ;) ;). The orvis knot seems to work pretty darn good for tippet to fly though and there's another knot out there I have yet to tie, a turtle knot. Anyone ever use it? I hear it works exceptionally well with the smallest of flies 18 and up and is great for presentation! There was a whole article written about this knot in one of the many magazines floating around this house, it's about time to dig it out and start using it!

Gerry Romer
11-21-2006, 01:02 AM
I use the Orvis knot for fly to tippet -- I've found it to be much stronger than the clinch knot. Orvis also has a variation on the double surgeon's loop for tippet to leader that also seems to be just a bit stronger than the double surgeon's loop. For leader to fly line I use a loop-to-loop connection.

Gerry Romer

11-21-2006, 09:13 AM
I use mostly furled leaders now and use a trilene knot to attach the tippet. When I use tapered leaders, I use a nested uni knot for the tippet connection.


11-21-2006, 10:07 AM
tippett/leader to fly--clinch; tippett to leader-blood knot; leader to fly line- albright (sometimes a nail knot).

11-21-2006, 12:00 PM
After 40yrs. I,ve found the Orvis loop knots work best for me . Just loop the two lines together seperating the big loop and making 3 turns and pulling down snuggly. Works great on tippet to fly. The secret being the knot doesn't get tighter and tighter ! That my 2 cents. slickrock!

11-21-2006, 12:46 PM
Line to leader = Loop
Leader to tippet = double surgeon
tippet to fly = improved clinch

Worked fine for me for a dozen years as long as I don't screw it up.

11-21-2006, 12:57 PM
for fly to tippet, i've recently changed from improved clinch to palomar. it's much stronger, and faster and easier to tie. the weak link now seems to be the double surgeon's knot in the tippet.

11-23-2006, 10:52 PM
Palomar is a great knot, but sending the line not once, but twice through a small hook is nearly impossible. I like it for sizes 10 and larger, but on 16 and higher, I'm not sure it is even possible. Once you get to those sizes, I am lucky to get the line through the eye once.

11-24-2006, 01:03 AM
I use a basic clinch not for tippet to fly, mainly because that's the knot my dad taught me back when I first was catching crappie on a snoopy rod. my dad and I also used to walk up to a creek, cut down a cane and use it to catch bluegill.... good times. but the simple clinch knot has held strong and almost never fails me. I did see bob clouser tie an awesome knot that I can't remember the name of. this is going to be hard to explain, but basically after the knot was tightened down, it left a loop in the end. picture an open noose, but the noose cant slide down and tighten. the fly hangs on this loop and has freedom to move around the loop. like a key hanging on a key ring. on the water, this allows the fly to bounce and move around independently of the line. he said he always used this knot for larger flies like a stimulator. not suprisingly, he also uses this for his "clouser minnow". it allows the minnow to move more freely and lifelike. maybe everyone knows about this, but it really blew my mind when I saw it. does anyone know the name of this, as I'd like to learn to tie it.

11-24-2006, 12:01 PM
YaBB Newbiies...

That loop knot by Bob Clouser is called a "non-slip loop knot." *It is considered by most fishing "experts" to be the strongest tippet to fly knot. *When I say experts, for one... think of Lefty Kreh, et al (good friend of Bob Clouser). *Some years ago, Lefty co-authored a book on knots that included the non-slip loop knot. *I've been using it for years and have had no break-off problems. *It also allows the fly to swing, and/or jig around better than on an "improved clinch knot."

If you go to Google search engine and type in, "fishing knots 101," you should get a hit on "Knots 101" by Lefty Kreh. *Download for instructions on how to tie this excellent knot.

Be forwarned... while this is a great tippet to fly knot, it can be frustrating to tie with fine tippet material from 5X to 7X. *With heavier tippets, it's much easier. *Like all knots, it requires practice and you should practice it at home. *

Someone mentioned Lefty saying tighten up the knots fully so they do not slip. *That's great advice. *Sometimes, however, a "device" is needed to assist with this. *I mostly use hemostats for this. *Clamp the stats on the hookbend to hold the fly, wet the knot section, then steadily pull until the knot is snugged up securely. *

Also, use the hemostats to hold your smallest flies, size-16 and smaller for easier control during the knot tying process.

One word of advice about wetting the knot. *Most fishermen use saliva to wet their knots. *I did it for years, but no more flies in my mouth. *After tying the knot, but before tightening, I stick the fly and knot in the water with the hemostats, then snug up the knot. *WHY DO THIS?? *

If the waters you are fishing have beavers or geese, you run the risk of an intestinal parasitic infection. *Beavers carry Giardia and geese carry Cryptosporidium. *Both micro-organisms form oocysts that cannot be seen, are nearly impervious to being destroyed by the digestive system, but will cause a severe intestinal parasitic infection (amoebic dysentary) that will put you in the hospital for a period of days, perhaps longer. *There's plenty of water in the river to wet the knot... don't make yourself get sick.

For the leader to flyline, I use a "whipped loop" knot. *Again, this is a Lefty Kreh design and I trust it far more than a nail knot. *It also stays flexible and can be wound through the tip-top and other guides when landing a fish on a long leader. *This loop will transition back and forth, if needed through the guides with little chance of hanging up.

For the leader to tippet, from size 3X down, I use the Orvis knot. *The Orvis knot is basically a figure-8 knot followed by a double Surgeon's Knot. *It's considered to be stronger than the Surgeons knot and is great for joining together two lines of dissimilar sizes. *I often attach 6X tippet to 4X tippet when fishing midges or small caddisflies using the Orvis knot.

For all knots, if they are new to you... practice them at home first and practice them often. *Sometimes in failing light, you can complete the tying of a knot when you can barely see what's happening because you've practiced enough and sorta do it by "feel." *Experience.

Tie one on... go fishing... have fun!!

Byron Begley
11-25-2006, 08:02 PM
I use a nail knot for leader to fly line. I tie about 6" of mono or fluorocarbon to my fly line then "blood knot" the leader to it. For big game I use a double nail knot. It is basically two nail knots and if one fails maybe the other will hold. I use a blood knot to build leaders or tie tippet to leader. I know it's a pain but it is a pretty knot. I also like the "non slip loop" for the fly. But, you have to keep an eye on the knot and re-tie as needed. The friction of the fly rubbing on the mono will eventually wear through the tippet. Fluorocarbon is better because it is more like "ripstop nylon". By the way, Bob Clouser visits this board. I've received 4 photos from him for the Picture Board in the last week or so.

Now you won't believe this. Paula and I were at Lefty's house a few years ago. In his basement he has a workbench and on the wall behind it are huge spools of mono with the pound test of each one clearly displayed. He works on knots down there all the time. He can pull any size mono and practice or invent knots. He's an expert on knots and everything else about fly fishing.