Best Fishing Knot for Leader to Hook Connection [Snug Style]
Best Fishing Knot for Leader to Hook Connection
When pursuing trophy fish of any species, it’s essential to give yourself as many advantages as possible to maximize your results… and using the best knot for every connection in your line system is the easiest thing you can possibly do to improve your ability to land the biggest fish of the day every time.
This particular “best fishing knot contest” is for tying a knot that is snug against the hook/lure. This type of knot is stronger than the Loop Knot style, but it doesn’t allow for as much action on lures given that the restriction it has on the hook/lure.
I always tie this type of knot when connecting a swivel to fluoro, and I often use it on a bare hook when live bait fishing given its increased strength and the fact that the live bait provides its own action… but I hardly ever use a snug knot when fishing with artificial lures (which is most of the time) because it decreases the action of the bait thus decreases that amount of bites I get.
Before getting into the contest, please know that it is designed specifically for inshore saltwater anglers who use light braided line for maximizing casting distance and a heavier leader to withstand the rough jaws of the saltwater fish like redfish, snook, trout, tarpon, flounder, etc. Since the lighter main line is rated at often 2x or 3x less breaking strength than the heavier leader line, the evaluation of this knot isn’t fully about strength because even a 50% knot on a 30 lb line is still stronger than a 100% knot on 10 a lb line.
Instead of a focus purely on strength, the conclusion of this contest will weigh in the ease of tying along with which way the tag end is pointing. The tag end is a factor because seagrass and other debris often gets caught on tag ends that point up towards the main line. For this reason, it’s best to use a knot which leaves the tag end facing back towards the lure/hook.
Here are the most popular snug knots that we tested in this analysis:
- Orvis Knot
- Uni Knot
- Palomar Knot
- Improved Clinch Knot
The ‘Orvis Knot’ has been one of my personal favorite knots for the past 20+ years. It’s easy to tie, very small, and has great hold strength. Best of all, it’s one of the few that leaves its tag end pointing down towards the hook/lure, so you’ll be less likely to snag onto floating debris with it… here’s a video showing how to tie the Orvis Knot:
Note: Strength test results are shown below.
Given its strength and versatility, the ‘Uni Knot’ was a front runner in this contest. It is easy to tie… especially given that all those added wraps when using it on braided line are not needed with fluorocarbon line. For flouro, just five wraps produces a very strong knot. However, I had trouble getting a consistently strong hold, and it was not quite as easy to tie as the Palomar and Orvis knots (which have very similar breaking strengths), so I recommend focusing on one of those.
The ‘Palomar Knot’ probably has the most fans of them all. It’s easy to understand why given its simplicity to tie and its very impressive strength. This knot is great for connecting your line to a hook, but it can get tough when tying on a lure of any size because it requires that you pull the entire lure through a loop as part of the knot. Otherwise, a very strong and quick knot to tie… the video below shows how to tie the infamous Palomar Knot:
Note: Strength test results are shown below.
Improved Clinch Knot
The ‘Improved Clinch Knot’ is very popular knot with great online reviews. It didn’t perform very well with braid, but it’s hold on fluoro was much better. Also, it’s a fairly easy knot to tie which is a bonus. However, it didn’t compete in the strength category with the others while also having a tag end that sticks straight up, which will increase the odds of catching on to floating seagrass to ruin your presentation in front of the lunkers, so I recommend not using the Improved Clinch Knot.
Conclusion – Best Fishing Knot for Leader to Hook [snug style]
Although the Palomar ended up being the strongest in this contest, the Orvis Knot is still my favorite for this category because its tag points down towards the hook lure allowing for less snags in addition to the fact that it’s easier to tie (especially if using artificial lures) while only having a slightly lighter breaking strength.
Since this connection is typically involving a line with much higher strength than the main line, the strength category for leader knots is nowhere near as important compared to the main line braid connection… all we have to do is beat the main line’s knot, which often has a 2x to 3x lighter line rating.
In a prior contest we held on the top knots for connecting a 10 lb braided line to a 30 lb fluorocarbon leader, the winning connection maxed out at 23 lbs… so the Orvis knot has it covered given that its breaking range was in the 23 lb to 24 lb range.
See below for the breaking ranges that each knot had during this contest.
This diagram shows the head to head matches that took place as part of this analysis. The test consisted on 3 rounds… 3rd round was the winning knot tied against itself to test its strength. The red values below the names of the knots represents the amount of pull strength that the knots where able to withstand in each round. Lines used were 10 lb PowerPro braid and 30 lb Ande Fluorocarbon.
This knot testing is continuous… we’re always seeking out better styles/methods, and we’ll of course update this page as new/better knots come to light.
If you have a great leader to hook/lure knot that is not included here, please leave a comment below about it so that we can include it in our testing and let you know how it compares to the others.
Go To Our Knot Testing Homepage [Full Knot Rankings]
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Have any of these knots been tested for shock and impact resistance? This might be a problem with hard strikes on large fish at short distances.
I have tested my favorite knots for both fast and slow loads, and I have yet to see any that do good with one and not the other.
how does the snell knot measure up?
That is one of the strongest knots of all for connecting to a hook… only problem is that it is only good for tying to a hook.
Because you pinched the loop the palomar didn’t perform as well only maintaining 83% knot strength if u thread line through and back this wont happen and it will maintain at least 90 percent
Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment. Have you tested out those two variations?
I was thinking that any slight pinch early on would not be an issue because of how much sharper of a pinch the line undergoes when its tightened at the end (when the knot constricts and the end of the loop gets pinched around the mainline while getting squeezed into its final resting place.
I dont have anything to test out knots otherwise I would but because if you kink your line that is wear the breakage will occur this is my inference and your palomar knot for mono didn’t hold up as well as it should have as i have pulled logs up to the boat using 8lb test mono and a palomar knot
Also something you can do to make the palomar weedless is put the tag end through the two loops connected to the hook or swivel right before you cinch it tight
Never mind tested that and it broke at 21lbs
I ran 3 tests
Regular vs kink
Kink broke at
I used 15 lb stren High impact and want to say the scale would lock at 20lb both times then i would have to reset it as it would lock
Also the regular was at the scale all 3 times
Really good knot
The I’m afraid knot
Luke, Great Stuff here, Thanks! – I was wondering how all of these did against a directly tied snell knot.
Thanks Steve. I have not yet tested the snell knot, but I am confident that it will be stronger than these given how good of a job snell knots do at spreading the tension load across a large area.
Note: The reason I haven’t tested the snell knot is because I use artificial lures 99% of the time along with a light braid main line connected to a stronger leader, so I never personally use bare hooks and I pretty much always use loop knots for the added action since I am not in need of strength in that final connection (given how much stronger my leader is relative to the main line).
Can you go thru the ey twice with the orvis knot?
Yes, but it didn’t seem to add any noticeable strength so I don’t bother with the added step.
If I need a small knot, I tie a Palomar, otherwise the San Diego Jam has been a stronger knot for me. San Diego Jam was the winner of Field and Streams test — It beat the Palomar by 3%. A test without including it is inconclusive.
I have used the San Diego jam knot for leader to hook or mono to swivel with great success . I would like to see this as a test for terminal connections with floro or mono. To make it fast and easy to tie I hold the loops at each end with my middle fingers in each hand then wrap down and through the loops with my thumb and first finger. Very fast and easy to tie on a boat. Love your test and videos.
What about a “Trilene” knot which is an upgrade on the improved clinch knot. I have used it for years when I used to fish with mono. How’s it work on fluoro?
The Trilene knot is a solid choice for a “Snug” knot. I rarely use snug knots since I mostly fish with artificial lures which favor loop knots for the added action they provide.
If you’re using artificials, I highly recommend giving one of these knots a shot: http://www.saltstrong.com/articles/best-loop-knot-for-fluorocarbon-leader.
But if added action isn’t a priority, then the Trilene knot is a very good choice.