How to tie a Nail Knot

The Nail knot is one of the most important knots that every fly fisherman should learn. There are a few variations in the way this knot is tied. The angler can use a tube or a needle in replacement of the nail. With a little practice, this knot can be tied very quickly. Most common area for use is attaching the leader to the fly line. It can also be used to attach the fly line to the backing.

The Nail Knot is a popular and time tested knot to join fly line to leader. Use of a hollow tube instead of a nail makes for easier tying.

How to tie a Nail Knot

  1. Place a nail between the fly line and leader. Wrap the leader back towards the end of your fly line about 6 times.
  2. Pass the end of your leader back through the loops you just made. After the leader is through, pull on both ends of the fly line and leader trying not to have the loops cross each other. Holding with fingers, remove nail.
  3. Moisten and snug down by pulling both ends away from each other. Clip excess line and leader close to the formed knot

Video Instructions

How to tie a Nail Knot With A Loop

This knot was designed for attaching hooks, rings and swivels to heavy monofilament leaders. For this knot we will go through the steps required to attach a hook.

  1. Thread on your hook. 1b. Isolate the hook on a small loop and make a larger loop with the tag.
  2. Hold the smaller loop and tag of the larger loop in the palm of one hand.
  3. Twist all the lines together so they are easier to hold onto.
  4. Then wrap the smaller loop with the larger loop in the manner shown.
  5. Continue until you have made a half dozen or so wraps.
  6. Shown is an open view of the configuration we have produced so far.
  7. To finish off, place the hook around a fixed object and close the knot by first pulling on the main line (A), then lock the loop in place by pulling firmly on the tag (B).

Knot Tying Terminology

  • Butt: The thick part of the leader. The butt of a leader is attached to the fishing line.
  • Tag or Tag End: The working end, the part of the line where the knot is tied.
  • Standing Part: The main part of the line that is fixed and under tension. Such as the part of line that is on the reel.
  • Standing End: The short area at the end of the standing part of the line.
  • Working End: The part of the line used actively in tying a knot. The opposite of the standing end.
  • End: A loop is a closed curved line, formed by bringing the tag end back and alongside the standing part, or a knot that creates a loop.
  • Tippet: The end of a leader to which the lure is attached. The tippet can be the end of a leader or an added line to the end of a leader.
  • Turns or Wraps: A turn or wrap is one complete revolution of line around another.
  • Overhand Knot: The foundation for many other knots. (A Granny Knot before it is pulled tight)