Video Tips: The Only Two Knots You Need for Fly Fishing

There are many knots for fly fishers to use, for a variety of purposes. But if you want to get started in the sport, you really only need two kinds of knots: one to connect the tippet to the fly and one to add a tippet to a leader. In this video, Dave Lovell of Trouts Fly Fishing in Denver, Colorado, demonstrates the two knots that he uses more than any others–the clinch knot and the double surgeon’s knot.

The next step is to learn the improved clinch knot, which helps for flies built on heavier hooks. Once you’ve mastered these simple connections, you can begin expanding your repertoire of knots for specific purposes and situations. (For the record, I prefer the blood knot to the double surgeon’s, but they both get the job done.)

9 thoughts on “Video Tips: The Only Two Knots You Need for Fly Fishing”

    1. Amen to the comment on Jack’s knot. It was developed by Jack Miller, a member of the Derby City Fly Fishing club here in Louisville. You can find instructions on tying this very simple, quick, yet highly effective knot by doing an Internet search.

  1. I would recommend the triple surgeon knot (
    One more time aroud) and the improved cinch knot (run the string back through the loop created). Great knots to know.

  2. Regarding the clinch knot which I have used in spin casting for years. I learned two things here that I think are worth mentioning; holding the line between thumb and index finger, while using the middle and and ring finger to hold the tag end while the other hand wraps the tag end around the main line is key. The second thing I learned was after wrapping the tag end around the main line five times, securing the tag end between thumb and index finger, and then pulling the main line to cinch the line down helps me realize why I was a bit clumsy with this knot on flies.
    When I was tying on the larger spin baits or terminal tackle with this knot, the thicker line and larger tackle allowed me the freedom to grab the tag end to cinch the knot down.
    Tying a clinch knot with flies was always clumsy for me as I fumbled trying to pull the tag end. Really good video. Thank you

  3. I’ve tried just about every knot suggested to man and these are the identical two I always go back to. Their efficient and easy to tie on the water. Thanks for sharing what I always knew, Dave! Tight lines to you and all your subscribers.

  4. I have no idea why other anglers don’t use braided glue and a Petersen hot glue gun. It works great, improves holding strength, and eliminates unsightly bulges. I keep my glue gun in a Lennox GG holster, and wear my flexible BlueStar solar charger on my back. When it’s time to attach fly to tippet, or tippet to leader, I just grab my trusty Petersen – use setting #4 on the rotary dial – and hot-glue everything together. The connections dry within 30 seconds and it’s easy-peasy. One bonus tip. The braided-glue also comes in fish-friendly flavors. Just make sure you match the correct flavor to your fly. My success goes way down if I fish the caddis flavor with a mayfly pattern.

  5. A glue gun? Why doesn’t Orvis include a built-in holster for them in all sling, waist, backpacks and vests?

    A glue gun? Com’on man!

  6. Don’t forget to stitch on a solar panel for recharging. Include an extra charging port for a cell phone. Better get a patent on this one.

    A glue gun? Com’on man!

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