Best Fishing Knot for Leader to Hook Connection [Snug Style]

By: Luke Simonds on January 29, 2015
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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

Orvis 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.

Uni Knot

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.

Palomar Knot

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.

leader to hook fishing knot 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]

 

Don’t let the biggest fish of the day get off with your lure/hook!

Check out the post linked below which shows the rankings of the best knots of all time.

Best Fishing Knots Of All Time (Ranked Strongest To Weakest)

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Hawaii joe
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Hawaii joe

Really good knot

Hawaii joe
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Hawaii joe

The I’m afraid knot

Steve Mayka
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Steve Mayka

Luke, Great Stuff here, Thanks! – I was wondering how all of these did against a directly tied snell knot.

Rick
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Rick

Can you go thru the ey twice with the orvis knot?

John McKroid
Member

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.

Cecil
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Cecil

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.

David
Guest
David

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?

Vitalij
Member

what knot do you use to connect leader to snap (to change hard lures often). loop or orvis?

Josh
Guest
Josh

Hello, your knot tests are very informative and interesting!
What I was missing in your tests is to do a comparison with palomar and san diego jam knot 🙂
Tight lines, Josh

Mike
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Mike

Luke…again awesome stuff. Have you tried a “double-orvis” where you wrap through the eye twice? I like this idea with keeping the single, down facing tag. Thanks again!

Rod
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Rod

All these knots are good. I have strength tested all these knots on 30lb fluoro and have found the Miller knot to hold a higher breaking strain consistently though. A little tricky to tie but a great knot to use with 60lb plus. For fluoro leaders 80 plus i will either use this or the Centauri knot. I havent strength tested the Centauri knot but it hasnt failed yet. Have you guys tried these knots? I would really be interested if you did a test on them and tell us how they went. Cheers

Dean
Guest

Excellent post covering the leader to hook knots. It is always important to have a snug knot at this connection point. I believe you covered many of the best. Thanks for sharing!

Shredder
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Shredder

When making a palomar with heavy line, instead of pushing a folded doubled line through the eye to start, pass the single line through and then back. It is easier, you end up with the same loop through the eye and you don’t crimp the line at the fold.

Norman Coughlan
Guest

Inevitable, pretty important it’s! Tightening of hook with nicely tied lures ensure no more target loss! It’s indeed essential to give our best to maximize the result. Appreciate. Ensured a big possibility of any fish landing too, with everything accurately maneuvered!

Doug
Member

Have you compared palomar knot to the 6 turn San Diego jam knot?  There’s a test done by field and stream showing that the San Diego jam knot is stronger than the palomar. 

Hamgrenade
Guest

That test was conducted using 8 lb. test monofilament.  This test used 30 lb. fluoro.  However, I would like to see the San Diego jam knot tested with flouro and also with a braid to swivel connection.

Cameron
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Cameron

Static testing of knots simply doesn’t tell the whole story.The Palomar knot does not work as well with higher stretch lines. If the tag line is cut short, the knot can easily fail on FC. When done properly, it is a good knot but still a higher risk knot. Also you should test your knots over time and multiple catches. The Improved Clinch is a solid knot because it doesn’t weaken as the line stretches. Other published tests using precision equipment shows a relatively high break strength for this knot on FC. It is a consistently strong knot that doesn’t weaken over time. Arguably the best knot for FC going to a hook is the Doubled Eugene Slipknot. It has three tag lines being its biggest disadvantage.