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An Introduction to Fly Fishing by Tony Scott

An Introduction to Knots


The quickest and most effective knot for fastening your backing line to your reel.

1. Ensure your backing line is placed around your spool.

Arbor knot 1

2. Tie a simple overhand knot with the loose end around the main part of the line, followed by another one towards the end of the loose end.

Arbor knot 2

3. Gradually tighten the knot until seated well.

Arbor knot 3



An ideal, although a little tricky to master, knot for attaching your fly line to backing line or fly line to leader. I have found rather than a nail, a large darning needle is superb. The advantage being that at the final stage, you thread the line through the eye of the needle and pull, thereby bringing the loose end of the line to just where you need it.

Lay the leader or backing line along your fly line and align the nail or needle as shown. Hold where indicated on the diagram. Always leave yourself a good 6 inches or so line to work with.

Nail knot 1

Holding at the point indicated, wrap the line around the flyline 5 or 6 times, keeping a little tension on at all times. Then feed the line through the eye of the needle and pull, whilst maintaining a firm grip on the loops that you have wound on. If you are using a nail – remove the nail and thread the line through the small loops that remain after the nail has been removed.

Nail knot 2

Holding the loops firmly, gradually seat the knot by pulling gently on the loose end that you have pulled through. Remove any excess leader or backing line and if necessary trim the fly line to form a neat finish.

Nail knot 3




The quickest and one of the most satisfactory knots to tie your fly to your leader.

1. As with all knots, always leave yourself enough line to work with.
Firstly thread the loose end of the line through the eye of the hook, then by turning the fly, or twisting the line, ensure that you have made at least 5 turns around the incoming line. Do not put these turns in too tightly.

Cinch knot / half blood knot 1

2. Now thread the loose end through the first loop that have made.

Cinch knot / half blood knot 2

3. As with all knots in monofilament and fluorocarbon, moisten the knot with saliva or water before tightening. This lubricates the knot as friction can be built up when you tighten the knot causing a weak point. So, moisten and gradually tighten and seat the knot, cutting off any excess just short of the hook.

Cinch knot / half blood knot 3

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