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Fishing Knots

Basic fly fishing knots for all situations - illustrated instructions on how to tie some of the best and most popular fishing knots, fly fishing knots in particular, linking reel to backing to fly line to leader to fly.

Grays Loop - fly line leader loop

In fly fishing, as in all fishing, the knot the fisherman uses is crucial to success, as many of us have learned to our cost. It is important to get our fishing knots right, in securing our backing line to the reel; in connecting our backing line to the fly line; in joining our fly line to our leader; and in tying on our fly.

A number of the most reliable fly fishing knots are illustrated below. These are the fishing knots I use in my salmon, trout and sea trout fly fishing. These knots are simple, strong and reliable and include some of the most popular fly fishing knots in use today, such as the Perfection Loop and the Water Knot, as well as one or two not so well known knots, such as Gray's Loop. For those who like to attach their leader to the fly line by a loop-to-loop connection, Gray's Loop, shown above, is a simple, neat, strong, and durable alternative to the braided loop. 

 Fly Fishing Knots

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Fly Reel Knot Fly Line Backing Knot Gray's Loop Loop-to-Loop Knot Perfection Loop Knot Water Knot Fishing Slip Knot Fly Fishing Knots


For illustrated instructions on how to tie the various fly fishing knots, click on one of the following links

1 - Reel Knot                           knot for attaching backing line to the fly reel
2 - Flyline to Backing Knot      knot for joining fly line to backing line
3 - Gray's Loop                       monofilament fly line loop
4 - Loop to Loop                      simple way of connecting leader to fly line
5 - Perfection Loop                 knot forming a loop in the end of the fly leader
6 - Water Knot                       a simple and reliable dropper knot
7 - Slip Knot                         a reliable knot for attaching a fly or hook to the leader

  REEL KNOT  -  Backing to reel

Fishing Knots - Backing to Reel

A reliable knot for attaching backing line to the reel.

For full tying instructions see

Tying the Reel Knot


  CONSTRICTION KNOT  -  Backing to Fly line

Fishing Knots - Backing to Flyline 3

This knot is suitable for attaching nylon monofilament, dacron, braided terylene or twisted nylon backing to a traditional PVC coated, terylene core fly line. It is not suitable for some modern lines with kevlar or monofilament cores. Nor should it be used with hollow braided nylon backing line. For full tying instructions see:

Flyline to Backing Knot


  GRAY'S LOOP  -  Fly line Butt Loop

   See also Needle knot version of GRAY'S LOOP - tying method with photographs.

Fishing Knots - Gray's Loop 3

A version of the Constriction knot for attaching a semi-permanent loop of nylon monofilament to the end of a traditional PVC coated, terylene core flyline to facilitate a loop to loop connection with the leader. Such a loop might last a whole season.

For full illustrated instructions on the tying method, see Gray's Loop

  Grays Loop - fly line leader loop

See Needle knot version of GRAY'S LOOP


  LOOP TO LOOP  -  Butt Loop to Leader

Fishing Knots - Loop to Loop

A convenient method of attaching a leader to the fly line, avoiding wear and tear on the butt loop.

For full tying instructions see

Loop to Loop Connection



  PERFECTION LOOP  -  Leader (or cast) Loop

Fishing Knots - Perfection Loop 3

A reliable leader loop which lies in line with the leader. The loose end can be trimmed very close to the knot. Easier to tie than it looks.

For full tying instructions see

Tying the Perfection Loop





  WATER KNOT  -  Dropper Knot

Fishing Knots - Water Knot 3

A good dropper knot. Stronger, more reliable and easier to tie than the blood knot. Although the typical advice is for three turns, I often use only two turns and the resultant knot seems quite reliable. Note that the length used for the dropper should be the one pointing away from the reel

For full tying instructions see

Tying the Water Knot



  SLIP KNOT  -  Fly or Hook connection

Fishing Knots - Slip Knot

An alternative to the half - blood knot which has served me well for over thirty years. Similar to the Grinner knot. Tighten well and don't trim too close to the hook.

For full tying instructions see

Tying the Slip Knot

See also Fly Fishing Knots



These books on fishing knots are normally available at Amazon

Fly Leaders and Knots  "Fly Leaders and Knots"

 Larry V. Notley

 Buy it on

 Buy it on

Practical Fishing Knots   "Practical Fishing Knots"

 M. Sosin and L. Kreh

 Buy it on

 Buy it on

Waterproof Fishing Knots   "Waterproof Book of Knots"

 Geoff Wilson

 Buy it on

 Buy it on

The Complete Book of Fishing Knots   "The Complete Book of Fishing Knots"

 Geoffrey Budworth

 Buy it on

 Buy it on



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Fishing Knots



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