The humble knot rarely gets its due in this world, especially when it comes to fishing. If you lack the skill to tie a proper knot, you will spend most of your time watching what you throw in the water sink to the bottom. Or, watch your fish swim away. The proper execution of knots isn’t complicated, but it is something every angler needs to master if they are going to avoid frustration. Here’s a list of ten of the best knots for saltwater fishing.

1. Palomar Knot

This knot is used to attach your line or leader line to the hook. It is used for freshwater and saltwater fishing and is simple in itself.

  • Run about six inches of the line through the eye of your hook.
  • Tie an overhand knot in the doubled line so the hook dangles loose.
  • Pull the end of the line down and pass it over the hook.
  • Draw up the line and trim excess.

2. Hangman’s Knot

This knot is used for attaching the line to the reel and is the default choice among anglers.  Learn it well, and you can get a whole new career with heavy test, hemp line.

  • Take the tag end making a sideways “S” with an upper and lower loop holding at the center, and pass the line behind.
  • Wrap the tag line around the upper loop about seven times, passing through the center of the upper loop on the last pass.
  • Pull the main line tight from the lower loop.
  • Slide the loop to where you want it, either the real or the hook.

3. Albright Line Knot

albright knot

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This knot is used for joining lines of different tests, such as leader line to reel line. It is practical when you’re going after a toothy fish that likes to break the line.

  • Bring the tag line back to loop the line, then pass the main line through the loop.
  • Wrap the main line around itself nine or ten times.
  • Pass the end of the main line through the loop.
  • Close the knot by applying light pressure to both sides.
  • Pull completely tight, holding both sides.

4. Baja Knot A.K.A. Perfection Loop

The Baja knot can be used to make loop-to-loop connections and is useful when you want something minimal and compact, even with a heavy test line.

  • Make a loop a few inches from the end of the line and place a hook at the base of the loop.
  • Put the free end of the line across the loop and behind the running line.
  • Make a second loop.
  • Pull the second loop down smaller than the first.
  • Make the third loop.
  • Slide hook to the top of the loop.
  • Pass hook over the other two loops.
  • Draw tight by pulling hard.

5. Bimini Twist

This knot is extremely dependable and allows for full strength from the line. It’s a good choice for hefty targets that like to fight.

  • Double line into a loop and make 15 to 20 twists at the end of the loop.
  • Holding the line taut, take the tag end under and through the loop.
  • With the tag line, pass around outside of the loop. Repeat this 4 to 5 times.
  • Pull the line tight, with the tag line ending between the outer pass from previous steps and the loop.
  • Make a few half hitches around both sides to hold in place.
  • Trim excess where needed.

6. Blood Knot

How to Attach a Fishing Leader

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The blood knot is used to join lines without a loss of strength in either portion. It’s good for when you really need to milk every pound of test out of your line.

  • Overlap both leader and main line by about nine inches.
  • Wrap one line around the other four or five times, then bring that end back and tuck it between the two lines.
  • Repeat the process on the other side.
  • Pull the long ends through and insert the ends through the gap underneath the knot.

7. Non-Slip Loop Knot

This knot is good for attaching baits or hooks to a line and is preferable to other knots that are more complicated.

  • Tie a loose square knot.
  • Bring ends through the hook eye and run through the loop.
  • Make five twists on the main line.
  • Bring ends through the loose square knot loop
  • Pull tight and trim excess.

8. San Diego Jam Knot

fishing at sunset

Image credits: Volker Lekies via Pixabay

This knot is used for sure and durable attachment of line to baits or hooks. It is easy to tie and holds up very well in all conditions.

  • Run line through the hook eye.
  • Double and make twists around both lines, about six times.
  • Run the tag line in front of the first twist and run through the loop of the last twist.
  • Pull tight and trim off the excess.

9. Bristol Knot

This is essentially the same knot mountain climbers used to secure ropes to one another. It functions quite well for attaching a double leader.

  • Tie a Bimini knot in the length of the line.
  • Put the tag line through the loop in Bimini.
  • Wrap ends around the doubled line five or six times.
  • Pass end through the loop.
  • Pull tight and cut the excess.

10. Uni Knot

Clinch Knot: Put the End of the Line Through the Loop

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The uni knot is excellent for attaching monofilament to terminal tackle. Some say it’s the only knot you really need for saltwater fishing.

  • Put the end of the line through the eye of the hook and double back next to the standing line.
  • Make five or six twists around the doubled line, pulling snug.
  • Pull the knot down to the hook eye.

Tying it Together

Tying knots can be a maddening experience when you first get started, but with a little practice, just about anyone can get the hang of it. Keep trying and remember that if the fancy stuff leaves you frustrated, there’s nothing wrong with a half-dozen square knots until you get an aptitude for the trickier stuff. Perhaps, the next time out, you’ll put one of these knots to use.