Your source for flyfishing and flycraft resources since 1975.
I'll put knots into categories:
- Must Know
- Improved Clinch
- Surgeons Knot
- Should Know
- Nail Knot
- Perfection Loop
- Blood Knot
- Arbor Knot
As you've already figured out, many folks who fly fish like to tell you what's best and how much they know, but our recommendation is to avoid them and go fishing instead. Concerning the knots, we know that not everyone one will agree, but our combined 98 years of experience determined the list above.
The "Must Know" category means you can go fly fishing a bit with knowing these only. For instance, my wife only knows the Must's, but then she always fishes with me and I know all the Should's! In any case, we'll describe each knot and it's usage, and provide a link for you to learn the knot for yourself.
Improved Clinch Knot
The "Clinch" is the essential knot to attach your fly to the leader or tippet. If someone tells you there's something better, you're in for trouble. Learn it here: Improved Clinch
The Surgeon's Knot, sometimes called the "Double Surgeon's) is for attaching two similar (in diameter) materials, like adding some tippet to your leader. It's simple and quick. Learn it here: Surgeon's Knot
We use this to put a leader on the fly line and to attach the backing to the fly line. There's a tool which we use to tie this knot flawlessly and quickly and you buy the knot tool here. Learn the knot here: Nail Knot.
This is also used to connect the flyline and leader. Some fly lines and some leaders are manufactured with these loops pre-tied, but they'll come a time when you need to make your own Perfection Knot. Learn the knot here: Perfection Loop
The Blood Knot is also used to attached leaders and tippet, and for folks that like to tie their own leaders because it will make a straighter leader that will the Surgeon's Loop. This is a very strong knot and takes some practice in order to tie quickly and accurately. The more you use this knot, the more you'll learn to like it. Learn the knot here: Blood Knot
We use this knot for attaching the backing to the arbor of our reel. This is the simplest knot of the group and you won't use it too often, but you will need it! Learn the knot here: Arbor Knot