How to Tie a Nail Knot Like a Pro

A nail knot is an essential skill for anglers, serving as a robust connection between the fly line and leader. Here, we’ll explore the intricacies of tying a nail knot, whether you have a specialized tool or not.

Introduction to Nail Knots: Nail knots excel in joining lines of varying diameters, providing strength, stability, and a streamlined profile. While nails were once used, modern anglers prefer hollow tools or straws for safety and convenience.

Similar Knots:

  1. Double Nail Knot
  2. Double Uni Knot
  3. Albright Knot
  4. Surgeon’s Knot
  5. Blood Knot
  6. Loop-To-Loop

What Is the Nail Knot? Also known as “tube” or “gryp” knots, nail knots connect fly lines to leaders, accommodating differences in diameter. Originally tied with a nail, contemporary methods involve needles, straws, or purpose-built tools. Nail knots are praised for their strength, slip resistance, and minimal water absorption.

Advantages & Disadvantages:


  • Resistant to hinging
  • Suitable for fluorocarbon lines
  • Quick tying with a tool
  • Strong and compact
  • Doesn’t slip
  • Minimal water absorption


  • Challenging to tie without a tool
  • Difficult to untie
  • Tedious
  • Difficult to replace the leader without ample lighting

How to Tie a Nail Knot:

With a Tool:

  1. Lay the tool against the fly line.
  2. Set the leader against the tool and fly line.
  3. Wrap the leader around the tool and fly line 5-6 times.
  4. Pass the leader through the tool’s hollow opening.
  5. Tighten the knot by pulling the leader’s working end.
  6. Trim the working end close to the knot.

Without a Tool:

  1. Double over the first few inches of the fly line.
  2. Create a loop with the leader, ensuring the butt faces the reel end.
  3. Hold the leader loop with thumb and forefinger.
  4. Wrap the leader over itself and both fly line legs 5-6 times.
  5. Hold wraps with left thumb and forefinger.
  6. Pull the leader’s tippet until the loop comes through.
  7. Continue holding wraps, pull the doubled-over fly line straight.
  8. Ensure the knot sits near the fly line end.
  9. Pull each line end to tighten the knot.
  10. Trim the ends of the line.

Mastering the nail knot enhances your angling repertoire, ensuring a secure connection for a successful fishing experience.

Images/Source: TheKnotsManual

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