How to Tie Fly Fishing Knots?

Fly fishing is not your regular fishing. The casting techniques in it are entirely different, compared to casting in other forms of angling and casting. So, it was a given that the fly fishing knots would have a slightly different purpose and worth learning about for the beginners.

Here you are working with your own set of fishing equipment. You have the freedom to customize the whole set, and what you are tying with the knots is not just a lure. You have a long list of things to tie, which includes an artificial fly. Fly fishing could be challenging for a beginner.

But when you decide to learn, there is no stopping. So, commence your learning journey by practicing how to tie fly fishing knots. And we will reveal the whole process here.

Multiple Knots in Fly Fishing

Keep in mind that you will need to learn to tie quite a few knots. These few knots you will need to know to connect different parts of the fly fishing line. It starts with securing the fly reel with fly line backing. Then you have the fly line to tie with that backing. Next, you connect the fly line to the leader line and the leader line to the tippet, and at last, you tie the fly, the artificial lure to the tippet.

How to Tie Fly Fishing Knots
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And all that with different knots. It will seem thoroughly complicated, and hey, we already said fly fishing is a little harder. So, shed out all your apprehension, and let’s get into the multiple fly fishing knots.

Tying The Fly Reel and Fly Line Backing

Knot We Prefer – The Arbor Knot

To tie the reel and backing with arbor knot-

  • Wrap your fly line backing around the arbor of the reel.
  • Tie an overhand knot and keep that loose without pulling and tightening it around the arbor.
  • Hold the tag end and tie another overhand knot. This overhand knot has to be closer to the first overhand knot you tied. Perhaps 2-3 inches.
  • Now pull the tag end to tighten the first overhand knot and fix it around the reel’s arbor.
  • Pull it in a way that the second overhand knot gets fixed, and snug-fit to the first knot and work as a lock to that knot.

Tying The Backing and The Fly Line

Knot We Prefer – The Albright Knot

Follow the below steps to tie the backing and fly line-

  • Make a loop folding the fly line.
  • Insert up to 20 cm of the backing through that loop so that you have enough tag end to work with.
  • When you have created the loop with the fly line, you will notice that the crossing of it has formed a V. Take note of that, as we mentioned.
  • Now take the tag end of the backing towards you and wrap it on the loop. 4-5 times wrapping should be enough.
  • Wrapping must start an inch inside from the loop and reach that V.
  • Now hold the tag end and start wrapping the previously wrapped portion.
  • So, basically, you will wrap the tag end from the end of the coiled section, which is the formed V, to the beginning of the wrapped portion, which was an inch closer to the V.
  • Even this time, the wrapping must be 4-5 times at best.
  • Pass the tag end through the loop so that the tag end and mainline stand parallel.
  • Pull the tag end and mainline, the double lines, of course, after proper lubrication of the wrapped portion to avoid friction and damage.
  • After proper pulling and tightening, make sure to cut off the excess from both sides.

Tying The Fly Line and The Leader

Knot We Prefer – The Nail Knot

Keep in mind that the fly line will have a loop for easy securing of the leader and fly line in most cases. Even the tapered leader has one. If you are tying the two through a nail knot, you will not need any of those. However, what you will need is a wire to use as a stiffener that will work as a base while tying the fly line and tapered leader.

  • Hold the wire and fly line together, parallel to each other.
  • Leave an inch of the fly line sticking out from the stiffener.
  • Now add the tapered leader, the butt section, of course, with the parallelly placed tool and fly line.
  • You need 2-3 inches of the tapered leader sticking out from the stiffener and fly line to work with the tag end.
  • Now grab the other end of the tapered leader and create a loop and place it over the section of all the fly line, tool, and leader you are pinch holding.
  • So, both the ends of the leader line are now facing the opposite direction. And you have a large loop.
  • Hold the loop, and you will have to wrap that around the pinched section towards the direction that the other tag end is facing.
  • Start wrapping slowly, and you will need to coil up the loop 10-12 times.
  • The close coiling up will create a neat barrel kind of thing, and you have your nail knot. It is time to tighten it up.
  • Clench the loop with your teeth and hold the butt section of the leader and give a much-needed pull for tightening the nail knot well.
  • Do not tighten it entirely yet, as you will have to pull out the tool, right?
  • Hold the tool and carefully pull it out. Make sure to hold the knot carefully with your other hand while pulling it out.
  • Now is the time to use your pliers to pull both sections of the tapered leader and tighten your nail knot.
  • Trim of the excess from both the fly line and the tapered leader.

Tying The Leader and The Tippet

Knot We Prefer – The Surgeon’s Knot

Here you need to know one thing that the leader has the tippet already in it. So, when you are buying the leader, be it of any length, it has the tippet section included. Tippet has a uniform diameter. It’s nothing like the tapered leader. However, that tippet section in the leader is not enough because, with every attempt to fly fishing and change the fly, you will have to cut off some portion of the tippet and require a new leader every now and then.

When you already have extra two feet to attach to the fly, no matter how many times you change it, your leader remains the same length always. As now you know why the tippet and why not tying the fly directly to the leader, let’s come to the step-by-step explanation of tying the leader and the tipper with the Surgeon’s knot.

  • So, the butt section of the leader is already tied to the fly line with a strong nail knot, remember.
  • You have just one end of the leader to work with and the whole tippet in hand.
  • Place the tippet and the leader together and hold them in parallel.
  • Now make a close loop with those double lines. Not any overhand knot, just a loop you have to form.
  • Time to wrap the long tippet and the tag end of the leader to that loop.
  • Take the tippet and corresponding leader tag end through the loop once and then once more, a total of two times.
  • Now pull both sides of the leader and tippet to tighten the knot, and you have your tippet tied with the leader well-enough with the Surgeon’s knot.
  • Trim the excess ends from both sides to get a neat knot.

Tying The Tippet and The Fly

Knot We Prefer – The Improved Clinch Knot

As we all know clinch knot is the first knot that all anglers must learn right in the beginning. However, it is not strong enough. Thus the anglers, with time and experience, have come up with its improved version. We are tying the fly with the tippet line through the easy but super strong improved clinch knot.

  • Insert the tippet line through the eyelet of the fly.
  • You have your tag end about 6-7 inches and the standing line.
  • Wrap the tag end around the standing line at least 4-5 times. Keep in mind, the number of times you wrap the line depends on the line’s diameter. Thicker ones need less wrapping and thinner ones more.
  • When you end up wrapping the tag end around the mainline, you create a loop next to the eyelet.
  • Get the tag end through that loop from above. If it had been the clinch knot, the steps would end with tightening the tag end and mainline. But the improved clinch knot requires one more step.
  • Upon inserting the tag end in the loop next to the eye, you create a second loop with the tag end and wrapped portion.
  • Pass that tag end through the second loop, once again from the above.
  • Make sure not to pull the tag end to tighten the improved clinch knot.
  • The key to super tightening the knot is to pull the mainline, holding the hook tight. Make sure to do it after proper lubrication.
  • Trim off the excess tag end. You can cut off as close as you need to for a neat knot.

Final Words

This is how you tie fly fishing knots to tie the fly line to the fly. In between, you have multiple extra portions to knot. Every time you attempt casting, make sure to check the knots. Each one of them, very closely, one by one. If any one of the knots is not tight enough or on the verge of breaking, your entire attempt will go to a complete waste, which no angler wants. Be very efficient with your knots in fly fishing. That is going to take you a long way in this comparatively hard fishing category and technique.

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