Gone Outdoors

How to Tie Leader Knots

by Marilla Mulwane

Two fly fishing leaders, or a leader and tippet, can be tied together using a leader knot. The knot creates a strong connection between the two monofilaments so that they will not come apart if a big fish gets hooked. Another advantage to leader knots is that the monofilaments line end up in a straight line. Leader knots are easy to tie and requires nothing but the leaders and your hands. The two most common leader knots are the surgeon's knot and the blood knot.

Blood Knot

Lay two lines on a work surface. Lay them so they are parallel to each other and facing opposite directions. The end of one line will be facing opposite from the end of the other line.

Lay the end of the top line over the bottom line. At least an inch of line should be crossed over the bottom line, but using more makes the knot easier to tie.

Wrap the line you crossed around both lines three times. Make three complete loops around both lines. Hold the first loop with your fingers so that the line does not move or come undone.

Pull the end of the wrapped line back through all three loops. The line will end up parallel to the second line, but on the bottom. Pull the end tight to make the knot snug.

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 with the other line. You will end up with two knots a few inches away from each other and the lines will still be parallel. Pull the long ends of both lines. Pull slowly so that the knots join together in the middle.

Surgeon's Knot

Lay the two lines on a work surface so that three inches of the line is parallel to each other. They can be overlapped more than three inches, but anything less might not be enough to tie the knot.

Make a loop with the two parallel lines. Make the loop near the center of the two lines.

Wrap one end inside the loop and back out again. Wrap it one more time inside the loop and back out. Pull both ends of the line to make the knot tight.


  • Always test the knots before fishing. A weak knot means you risk losing your lures or that big catch.

Photo Credits

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