different types of fishing hook knots

Fishing Hook Knots
Fishing Knots: How to Tie The Four Strongest
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Rapala Knot
Photo by Pete Sucheski

Terminal loop knot, for tying on a lure or fly that needs freer movement with a loop at the eye.

Winner: Rapala knot: 89%

Also tested:
Nonslip mono loop: 86%
Homer Rhode loop: 80%
Five-turn Duncan loop: 60%

The Skinny: The Rapala knot wins because the wraps, which are ahead of the initial overhand knot, relieve stress where the standing line enters the rest of the knot. Also, line passes through the overhand knot three times, cushioning the standing line. A Duncan loop, on the other hand, puts all of its compressive force on the standing line at the hook eye without added cushioning. (Tied to an F-9 Original Floater Rapala in tests.)


1. Tie an overhand knot 6 inches above the tag end of your line. Thread the tag end through the lure eyelet, and then through the overhand knot.
2. Make three wraps around the standing line.
3. Pass the tag end through the back of the overhand knot.
4. Run the tag end through the new loop you formed in step 3.
5. Lubricate and tighten by pulling on the tag end, main line, and lure.
San Diego Jam
Photo by Pete Sucheski

One thing you can’t buy is a good knot. You have to tie it on your own. And while no single knot satisfies every angling situation, mastering a set of the best, one in each of four major categories (terminal knots, line-to-line splices, light-to-heavy line splices, and terminal loop knots), will reduce break-offs and have you fishing more and retying line less. These four knots are the strongest in each category (see “additional info” below for details on how we tested them).

The Strongest Terminal Knot (for tying on a lure or fly)

The Winner: Six-turn San Diego jam: 94%

Also tested:
Palomar knot: 91%
Five-turn double clinch (or Trilene knot): 87%
Five-turn improved clinch: 86%

The Skinny: Because the San Diego jam uses wraps around both the tag end and standing line, the knot has a better cushion and is stronger than clinch knots, which wrap only one strand. The improved clinch owes its popularity to its old age: It was one of the first knots that worked well with monofilament line, a WWII-era invention. Knots have since advanced — time to learn the San Diego. (Tied to a size 3 Berkley Cross-Lok snap in tests.)

1. Thread the line through the hook eye and double it back 10 inches.
2. Wrap the tag end over itself and the standing line six times, moving toward the hook.
3. Pass the tag end through the first open loop at the hook eye.
4. Thread the tag end through the open loop at the top of the knot.
5. Lubricate and tighten by pulling the tag end and standing line, making sure the coils stay in a spiral and don’t overlap.
Yucatan Knot
Photo by Pete Sucheski

Light-to-heavy line splice, for tying on thicker lines such as shock leaders.

Winner: Six-turn Yucatan knot
(doubled line): 157%

Also tested:
Five-turn Bristol, or no-name,
knot (doubled line): 148%
Slim Beauty (single line): 94%
Albright (single line): 94%

The Skinny: You can splice lines of dissimilar size by tying each single line together, which saves time, or by tying the heavier line to a doubled section of the lighter line (made by first tying a Bimini twist, for example), which adds strength. For knots that don’t incorporate doubled line, the Slim Beauty and Albright tested strong. The Beauty is easier to tie. Both doubled-line knots held up better than the single main line of mono, so take your pick. The Yucatan is simpler. (Sufix mono was tied to Orvis Mirage 30-pound fluorocarbon in tests.)


1. Overlap the doubled line (from a Bimini twist) with the end of a heavier leader by 8 inches.
2. Make six turns around the leader with the doubled line.
3. Thread the tag end of the leader through the double-line loop above the wraps.
4. Moisten and pull on the doubled line and the leader; make sure the leader’s tag end doesn’t pop out of the loop.
Photo by Pete Sucheski

Line-to-line splice, for joining lines of similar size

Winner: J knot 67%

Also tested:
Eight-turn Blood knot: 63%
Back-to-back five-turn Uni knot: 62%
Double surgeon’s knot: 61%

The Skinny: When you compress monofilament tightly around a very small radius, it tends to crack and fracture. The J knot wins partly because the standing line goes straight through the knot’s initial turns, instead of being quickly forced into a sharp


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