Five Saltwater Fishing Knots

Any experienced angler can tell you, saltwater fishing uses lots of different fishing knots. When it comes to choosing the one you need for your fishing excursion, there is one critical thing to consider: Which fishing rig are you planning to use? Saltwater fishing rigs are comprised of multiple different components, like the hook and leader line, the line to rod, swivel and drop line, bobber, and beads. But when it comes down to it, your rig is going to depend on which fish species you’re after, since this determines whether the rig needs to sink or float. Thankfully, there are a number of reliable saltwater fishing knots you can use for a wide variety of lines, leaders and lures to match up with plenty of the rig styles you’ll be fixing up before you head out, or even while you’re out on the water.

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Tools for Tying Saltwater Fishing Knots

  • Before you start tying your knots, there are a few tools to pick up that will help make the process quicker and easier:
  • Fishing Pliers for Grasping and Tightening Knots
  • Cutters for Cutting the Line (Built into the pliers, or standalone scissors.)

  • Saltwater Fishing Knots

    Albright Knot for All-Around Versatility

    Use to attach monofilament or fluorocarbon leader to wire, or light monofilament to heavier monofilament.

    Sleek knot with versatile use.

    How to Tie the Albright Knot:
    1. Create a loop in your heavier wire or line. Use pliers to bend the end of this loop outward. Put about 10 inches of your lighter line down through the loop you created.
    2. Hold all three lines and your loop together. Bring the tag over the loop.
    3. Cleanly wrap the lighter line around all three strands about 10 to 12 times. Feed the tag back out of the loop in the same direction as Step 1.
    4. Slide the wraps towards the end of your loop. Keep the wraps from going beyond the end of the loop while you pull both ends of the heavy line to tighten it further. Once you reach the end, pull the tag to keep the wraps in place.
    5. Lock the knot by creating a three-turn half hitch. Tighten it by pulling in the direction of the loop.
    6. Trim the tags. Test the knot.

    Bristol (No Name) Knot for Streamlining

    Use to create a connection between a super-braid double line and monofilament leader.

    Quick way to attach leader material to a class tippet loop when saltwater fly fishing.

    Passes through rod guides smoothly.

    How to Tie the Bristol (No Name) Knot:
    1. Form a short loop in your line with a double-line connection, such as a Bimini Twist. Insert the leader through the loop you created and pull through about 10 inches.
    2. Keep your index finger hooked around the leader while you wrap it around the loop strands, about five to seven times.
    3. Bring the tag end back to the start of the knot. Pass it through the first wrap and the loop. It should exit the loop in the opposite direction that it entered.
    4. Moisten the lines with water. Pull on both loops strands and both leader strands to tighten the wraps. (Note: When done correctly, the tag end will protrude at a 90-degree angle.)
    5. Trim the tags. Test the knot.

    Double Uni Knot for Flexibility

    Use to attach a doubled main line to a heavier-diameter leader.

    Can be adapted when tying other knots.

    How to Tie the Double Uni Knot:
    1. Take the ends of the lines that are going to be connected and overlap them. Take the end of the left line, double back and make three to four wraps around both of your lines and through the loop it created. Pull on the end to tighten it. (Note: Double the number of wraps if using a braided line.)
    2. Take the loop that was created and pass it through the cross loop about six times. Pull the loop and standing line to tighten until snug.
    3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 with the left line.
    4. Pull the standing lines in the opposite direction to slide the two knots you created closer together.
    5. Trim the tags. Test the knot.

    Improved Clinch Knot for Reliable Efficiency

    Use with monofilament or fluorocarbon. Not recommended for braided line.

    Ties quickly and consistently.

    Most popular fishing knot.

    How to Tie the Improved Clinch Knot:
    1. Thread your line through the hook eye. Wrap it around your standing line about four to six times.
    2. Pass the tag through the loop that was created back near the eye.
    3. Pass the tag through the second, larger loop that was created.
    4. Wet the knot and pull on the tag end to tighten the knot while making sure the coils remain adjacent without overlapping.
    5. Pull on the standing line and tag to tighten. Slide the knot tight against the eye.
    6. Trim the tags. Test the knot.

    Snell Knot for Circle Hooks with Offset Eyes

    Use to keep the hook aligned with the leader.

    Good knot when tying on circles for larger game fish.

    How to Tie the Snell Knot:
    1. Feed the tag end of your line through the hook eye and form a loop behind the hook shank. Keep about 4 inches of tag.
    2. Wind the tip of the loop around the line and hook shank.
    3. Wrap the tip of your look toward the hook eye about five to seven times, making sure to pass the tag and back of the hook through the loop each time. Keep the wraps close together.
    4. Hold the wraps in place and pull the tag end to tighten.
    5. Pull the standing line to make sure the knot it snug against the eye of the hook. Tighten it by pulling on the tag and standing line.
    6. Trim the tags. Test the knot.

    Preparing and Storing Your Saltwater Fishing Tools and Rigs

    If you’re planning on putting your saltwater fishing knots and rigs together while you’re trolling or travelling to your favorite fishing spot, you’re going to need some help with stability. You can either sit down or use a leaning post (wide, padded bolster) at the helm. Having a leaning post is going to offer some balance while your boat is in motion, especially if you encounter any choppy or rough waters. The added benefit of a leaning post is your ability to multi-task. You’ll be able to lean on the post while still operating your boat’s controls and putting together your fishing rigs. Combine the post with a rigging bracket for storage and organization of your knots and tools so you have an all-in-one system that makes the whole process quick and efficient without interrupting any valuable fishing time.