Friday, November 1, 2013

Tying the Nail Knot

Fishing knots are typically the weakest link between you and the fish you’re fighting, so it’s vital to choose a knot that has a high breaking strength (90%-95%). However, a knot can still slip or break if it is poorly tied, and an inferior knot that is tied correctly will not.

The nail knot is a neat and sure way to attach leader to the fly line. It is basically a jam knot that tightens around the fly line so that it can’t slip. It also can be used to attach backing to fly line; in fact, I prefer it to the Albright Knot because I believe it’s a smoother connection. Also, an Albright Knot can come apart if it’s not tied properly. 

To facilitate the tying process, an inexpensive tool can be made by cutting a small 1-inch section from a hollow Q-tip or a stir straw. This will allow you to slide the line through and complete the knot. It can also be easily threaded onto a safety pin and attached to your vest for easy access. You can also use a nail or a toothpick in a pinch, or  a nail knot tool. 

The 4-step method: 

1. Place the Q-Tip or stir straw section on top of the fly line so that it is 1/4 inch from the end of the line. Then, with the leader on the top of the tube and line, tightly pinch everything between your thumb and forefinger. 

2. Still holding everything snugly, wrap the leader 5-6 times around all 3 components. Next, use your off hand to push the leader back through the tube.

3. Pull the tube back out of the wraps and pull on both ends of the leader tightly with your off hand. 

4. Tighten the knot and trim the short end of the leader to 1/8 inch. Lastly, trim the end of the line to 1/8 inch and you’ve completed a knot that won’t slip. 


  1. I am an experienced fisher, and I assure you, fishing knots play a big role during fishing. I have been learning different knots over the years. I admire any post that talk about any kind of fishing knot, and you article is one of the best I have come across. Your guidelines for tying the nail knot are easy to follow and understand. Learn more about fishing knots here:

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