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Knowing how to tie a square knot is the difference between a successful fly fishing trip and a lot of aggravation. One of the most significant factors that turn a lot of anglers away from fly fishing is the sheer amount of knots you need to tie to rig your rod correctly.

There are many different knots to know, but the square knot is one of the simplest and most useful knots for securing your leader to your fly line.

Regardless of your fishing experience, knot tying should be on your list of to-dos if you plan on fishing fly rods.

Get Your Square Knot Tying Gear Ready

Before you can tie any knots, you need to get your gear together. We won’t get into the obvious stuff like waders, jackets, and bug spray but we want to talk about lining your rod and reel.

Here are the main components you’ll need to line your fly rod:

person holding a fishing rod

Understanding where each of these components come into play is an important part of lining your rod. You’ll need to connect the backing to the reel, then the fly line to the backing, the leader to the fly line, and the tippet to the leader.

Simple right? Not really but you’ll need to know how to tie a square knot if you want to connect all these pieces.

How to Tie a Square Knot: The Steps

Learning how to tie a square knot is simple, and while it’s not the most secure knot available, you can make use of it with most fishing applications.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Start with two overhand knots, right over left, followed by left over right
  • Ensure that both ends exit the loops evenly
  • Pull them tight

That’s it! You’ve got yourself a solid fly fishing knot.

Alternative Knots

As we said, there are plenty of knots out there with some stronger than others. Here are a few other knots you might want to learn when lining a fly rod.

Surgeons knot

This knot is useful for securing your line to your leader.

For this one, you’ll lay the line and leader next to each other with a little overlap.

Next, you’ll form a regular loop and pass the leader ends through the loop twice.

Arbor knot

Since you know how to tie a square knot and surgeons knot, you’re covered from the reel out.

The problem now is, you need to know how to tie the backing to the reel and for this, you’ll use an arbor knot.

For the arbor knot, you’ll wrap the line around the spool and tie a simple overhand knot.

Next, you’ll tie a second overhand knot and pull it tight. When you pull that second knot, it should slide down pressing the two knots up against the reel.

person walking on shore fishing

Sorry, Gone Fishin’

Now that you know how to tie a square knot, you no longer have to worry about lining your fly rod. You have all the simple knots you’ll need to keep your line secure from reel to fly.

What are you waiting for? Get out on the water! Make sure you drop us a comment and let us know how your fly fishing trip went!

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