What the Pros Say: What is Your Go-To Fishing Knot? (video)

Chart illustrates how to tie Clinch, Palomar, Uni, Loop, Blood and Snell Knots

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We asked some of our fishing Pros what kind of knots they prefer to use and under what conditions. As is often the case, they came through with some helpful tips. Here are a few how-to-tie fishing line knot instructions you can use the next time you go fishing.

Here is a quick look at what they had to say. Have questions? Visit your local Bass Pro Shops  and ask an in-store expert associate for their thoughts on what knot you should be using. Plus you can download a Printable Fishing Knot Guide for your tackle box!.

Bryan McDonough

  • Palomar Knot on 90 percent of my baits. Very strong knot. Use it with fluoro, mono and braid. I think it’s important to wet the line before cinching down the knot. 
  • Blood Knot when tying two lines together, especially when adding line to a reel that has been backfilled with line.

Harry Robertson

  • Blood Knot on a fly-fishing leader leaves two tag ends sticking out that will catch grass when retrieving.
  • Surgeons Knot I like the improved version of this knot better. Tags are parallel to the existing leader.

Keith Wilson

  • Double Improved Clinch Knot I learned this knot at a very young age, and it has worked well for me.I’m not a big knot guy (no pun intended). In 90 percent of my fishing, I use one basic knot, which is along the lines of this knot.
  • Palomar Knot is likely the most common knot used in most bass fishing applications. It works very well with braid, fluorocarbon and mono – the three most common types of line. It also retains a very high “knot strength” when done properly. It’s easy to learn, as well. 
  • Double Uni-Knot in cases where I am tying two lines together, e.g. braid to a fluorocarbon leader. It works well but takes some practice to tie it well. 
  • Blood Knot works well for this application as well, but the knot is larger than in a Double Uni
  • Loop Knot or Rapala Knot. As you might have guessed, this is a great knot for jerkbaits, top-water lures or any type of lure where you need to improve the action of the bait. Generally used with lighter line.

Daniel Bonneson

  • Palomar Knot for braid to hook and for drop shot applications. 
  • Uni Knot to Uni for tying braid to mono
  • Blood Knot for mono to mono or mono to floro.

Jimmy Houston

  • Loop Knot on Road Runners and bass jigs when I need more action on the bait, particularly in cold water. Also use a Loop Knot on some top waters like a Zara Spook and smaller crankbaits that don't have a split ring!
  • Blood Knot to tie two monofilament lines together when spooling on new line. 
  • Uni Knot to tie together braid and mono or co-polymer together.
  • Jimmy Houston Knot, is the knot I most often use. This know has 100 percent knot strength on mono, co-polymer, fluorocarbon or braid!

Have a great day! God bless!!

Woo Daves

  • Palomar Knot – This is the best knot for any kind of fishing, whether it is fresh or saltwater. The Palomar Knot is by far the knot of choice for almost all applications in fresh water. I will use the Loop Knot sometimes, but if you could only have one knot, it would be without a doubt the Palomar Knot.
  • Non-Slip Loop Knot – This is a great knot for topwater lures, as it allows them to work more freely. It is also good on the Rapala-type twitch baits or any other twitch bait.
  • Snelling an Eyed Hook – Great knot for saltwater on big fish like red drum, black drum and tarpon.
  • Blood Knot – This knot is OK for splicing lines together.

Peter Larmand

  • Uni Knot is great for top-water baits like a Zara Spook or jerk bait. With the knot not tied tight to the eye, it allows the bait to be more erratic.
  • Double Uni Knot is great for tying two lines together. I use that when spooling my reels, putting a cheap mono backer before adding braid or fluorcarbon. This reduces the cost of fishing line.
  • Palomar Knot is a quick and strong knot. I use most of the time when I want a quick strong knot on flippin’ jigs or worm hooks.
  • Improved Clinch Knot is great for fluorocarbon lines.

Chase Parsons

  • Improved Clinch Knot is a fantastic choice for any walleye fishing situation … whether you're using monofilament, fluorocarbon or superlines, it’s a quick knot to tie in any weather condition, but more importantly, has great strength!

Jon Fetter 

  • Uni- Knot is my go-to knot for everything – easy to tie and extremely strong. I use uni-to-uni for attaching two lines of all sizes together. 
  • Non-Slip Loop Knot is my staple knot for attaching all my artificial and live bait set-ups.

Keith Kavajecz

  • Improved Clinch Knot – This is my go-to knot for walleye fishing. Since we mainly use lighter pound test lines (6- to 10-pound) this is a fast knot to tie, but has very good strength for those lower-pound test lines.
  • Palomar Knot – FireLine and Nanofil are two great lines for walleye jigging. The Palomar Knot holds great even when using these thin diameter “super lines.” Plus, in the cold weather, there is no twisting and complicated threading for this knot!
  • Snelling an Eyed Hook – Crawler harnesses are a great way to catch walleyes when trolling. One important factor is to have good spacing between the two hooks of a crawler harness. Since you can precisely place the hook on the line with a snell knot – the spacing is perfect every time.

Nick LeBrun

  • Snell Knot – A must when flipping heavy cover. Works best with braid. Use this knot while Texas rigging with a straight shank flipping hook to improve your hook up ratio. When tied correctly, this knot jacks the hook at an angle in the fish’s mouth. This will increase your chances of landing the fish, especially on the tough days when they aren't aggressive.

Nathan Light

  • Non-Slip Loop Knot is imperative when using the “tightline” technique. Tightlining utilizes a small ⅛-oz. leadhead with a 3-inch Berkley gulp minnow attached, and requires a constant shaking and twitching of the rod, to keep the minnow dancing. Tightlining presents the bait in a slow and tantalizing manner, which is deadly for catching big wintertime smallmouth bass from the deep, clear and cold mountain lakes of East Tennessee. Without a Non-Slip Loop Knot, my confidence level would be non-existent. 
  • Snelling Knot in the past, with an eyed hookhad to grow on me. Now it is one of my all-time favorites, and I use it exclusively for any type of Texas-rigged lure with a straight shank hook. There are several advantages of the snell knot, and the one I appreciate most is protecting the line from the repeated banging of the slip sinker. The other advantage is a greater hook penetration angle. When properly tied, the line will come out the top of the hook and the hook set cantilevers the hook point upward, for an improved catch-to-bite ratio.

Joey Nania

  • Palomar Knot is one of the very strongest and most simple knots that an angler could ever learn to tie. I use it for almost every application, except when using light-pound test fluorocarbon line. With light flourocarbon, the knot can dig in and cut your line, making other knots a better choice. Check out this link to see the best flourocarbon knot:

Rod Bates

  • Snelling an Eyed Hook– I use this when fishing for flathead catfish, and then I attach this to the swivel with a Trylene Knot
  • Uni-Knot – I use a back-to-back Uni-Knot when attaching fluorocarbon to braid. 
  • Palomar Knot –I use most of the time unless it is a long bait with three treble hooks.
  • Improved Clinch Knot –Use it when hands are cold and when I need a quick knot.

Darryl Blair

  • These two knots are essential and effective for 90 percent of our fishing. Because I guide fishermen for smallmouth bass and walleye on Lake Erie, the two knots that I strongly suggest are:
    • Palomar Knot
    • Improved Clinch Knot
  • Snell Knot that I Iearned many years ago, from a West Coast salmon fishermen, is an excellent one. He used it to snell hooks on a leader assembly that he used with cut herring while mooching for king salmon. When I first saw the knot, I knew it was the knot that I needed when tying casting and drifting worm harnesses for walleye. The nice part about this knot is that you can position the hook or hooks exactly where you want them. It is adaptable for many other fish as well as walleye. It is a great setup for big catfish as well as a live bait harness for suckers for muskie. It takes a little time to learn the knot, but it's well worth it. You can also use it with light wire leader material.

Terry Peacock

  • Palomar Knot – I use this knot for about 95 percent of the time. It's easy to tie and the knot strength is incredible.
  • Blood Knot – I use this knot when attaching a leader to my braided line.

Lance Walker

  • Polymer Knot for all lure tie applications when available, creating two points of pressure at the tie. Make sure line does not cross each other at lure.
  • Blood Knot to tie braided line to flouro for applications like spinning reels when you want braided main line, but other to tie to bait.

Joe Aksamit

For main lines and leaders I use three knots:

  • Palomar Knot –Very simple to tie, has 100 percent of line strength. I use this in every application I can. Standard Palomar with mono, modified (two initial loops) with braid.
  • Egg Loop Knot– I use a double hook set-up for my Kokanee rigs. The Egg Loop is easier for me to tie double rigs than a Snell Knot and allows me to adjust the hook angles – I like to keep them perfectly inline for the best presentation – easier than a Snell.
  • San Diego Jam Knot – I use this knot with heavier-pound test mono and braid. Fairly easy to tie and has a good strength and will not slip. Make sure line is wet! Practice this knot; you'll like it.

Kyle Weisenburger

  • Palomar Knot when fishing braid especially, but also when throwing 15-pound or heavier monofilament or fluorocarbon. This knot is strong and reduces any slip in your tie during a hook set.

Greg Prince

  • Palomar Knot is my all-around go-to knot. It is easy, quick and very strong. I use it for all my braid, mono and fluorocarbon applications down to 10-pound test. Then I use the San Diego Knot.

Captain Brian Leibowitz

I teach knots here at our Dania Beach Bass Pro Shop. As our saltwater Pro Staffer, I teach the Boy Scouts Merit Badge for fishing, as well as “Kids Fishing with the Pros” every other week. I take 15 kids fishing in our lake! Knots for kids need to be easy.

  • Improved Clinch Knot is the one I like to teach to parents and their children.
  • Uni Knot. Since with my charter fishing I teach.
  • Bimini Twist Knot for all of my fishing. Even 8-pound test, I still use the Bimini.
  • Shock Bimini Knot. The shock of a striking fish can never be underestimated; that's why I use this knot. Naturally, I tie a leader to all of my rigging. The Bimini allows a better line-to-line connection.
  • Double Uni Knot really works well without the need for a swivel.

Greg Miller

  • Clinch Knot (Trilene Knot) –This is the only knot I use and has been my entire fishing life! Six quick twist and through the eye. Nothing complex or confusing about it, and the knot holds extremely well. I use it for everything from bluegill to chinook salmon. Remember to wet your line before you cinch it!

Richard Butler

  • Eugene Bend and Berkley Braid Knots for fluorocarbon line when attaching directly to a lure.

Chuck Kinard

  • Palomar Knot is the only knot I use. I have heard of people saying the Palomar had issues when using braid. But tied correctly, I have NEVER had an issue, and throw it approximately 50 percent of the time.
  • Blood Knot, I only use this when spooling backer line, and I try not to use backer line.

Jeff Aul

  • Palomar Knot is my go-to knot. I use this knot 90 percent of the time. It's a quick and easy-to-tie knot that is extremely reliable!

Kevin Revay

Just forget about the hundreds of knots out there. Both knots below, are very dependable and easy to tie. In my opinion, the best knots to tie are:

  • Uni Knot for fluorocarbon
  • Palomar Knot for mono and braid

Chris Jones

  • Palomar Knot – Dropshotting, then run the tag end to weight.
  • Improved Clinch Knot – For general crankbaits topwater.
  • Snell Knot – The only knot when flipping a straight shank hook.

Jim Breaux

I believe in the “KISs” method when knot tying: "Keep It Simple.”

  • Uni-Knot for all my lures except drop shot. The Uni-Knot is quick, simple and strong. It takes just a few seconds to tie and keep on chunking. I also use it when I am splicing two lines together. The line will break before the knot does.
  • Palomar Knot for a drop shot rig. It keeps the hook straight out from the line.

Cidny Breaux 

  • Uni-Knot I have been tying this for over 30 years. It is quick, easy and doesn't break. It’s easy to learn to tie and is very sturdy. It works great on monofilament and braid.

How to Tie Fishing Knots Video Playlist

Enjoy this a How-To Playlist from Tight Lines Fly Shop with instructional videos on many popular fishing knots.

Fishing Knot Apps

For the mobile fisher, think about downloading one (or all) of these helpful knot tying apps.

  1. PRO-KNOT iPhone App - PRO-KNOTgives detailed fishing knot instructions and tips. This is a very helpful app.
  2. Animated Knots - The Animated Knots app will show you simple animations for knot tying.
  3. Knots 3D Learn how to tie over 120 knots

Even More Fishing Knot Tying Sources

fishing knot pro-knot
PRO-KNOT Fishing Knot Tying Instruction Cards

Check out even more from our Bass Pro Fishing Knot partners and vendors.

PRO-KNOT Products: PRO-KNOT Saltwater Fishing Knot Cards and PRO-KNOT Fishing Knot Tying Instruction Cards

Take Me Fishing Knot-Tying tips