There are hundreds of fishing knots out there, just do a google search and see. But how many do you really need to know?
Keep it simple and reliable: You really only need three knots when out fly-fishing.
Why only three?
There are three types of knots you need:
- To tie your tippet to the fly
- To tie your tippet to the leader (or repair your leader)
- To attach your leader to fly line.
The three that have served me best over the years are:
- Clinch Knot – to tie tippet to fly
- Double blood knot – to connect tippet to leader
- Perfection Loop – for loop-to-loop leader to fly line connection.
This has to be the easiest knot to tie, and the first fishing knot I ever learned. I use it to tie tippet to fly, or adding a dropper to the bend of a fly. The image below comes from: The Little Red Fishing Knot Book/Hemlock Printers Ltd. 2003
Do not forget to wet the knot (saliva works well), before tightening the knot. This prevents the heat from friction weakening the lien when it is tightened up.
I use this knot for joining sections of tippet to leader, and for tying my own leaders. It is very strong when tied well. The following image can be found at the www.101knots.com web site. A useful resource for other knots.
The perfection loop , allegedly earns its name from the fact the loop remains inline with the leader, whereas other loops tend to stick out at an angle. This knot is actually a bowline, a non-slip loop that has been used by sailors for years. The method for tying the loop below is my favourite way for tying it at the end of your leader. The following image can be found at the www.101knots.com web site. A useful resource for other knots.
There are other knots that you can learn for these applications, and you will find plenty of information via google. It will include the virtues of one knot against another, which is more reliable, which has the best strength, etc. etc. (Some you could consider include: improved clinch knot, davy knot, lefty’s loop, surgeons loop, overhand loop.) In my experience most knots are fairly close in strength if tied well. Any knot tied poorly will be weak.
You only need three knots you can rely on to not fail at the critical moment. To be reliable and strong, you need to tie them well, anywhere, in all conditions, quickly and easily. So decide on your three and practice, practice, practice.