The Best Fishing Knots Of All Time [Ranked Strongest To Weakest]

Published by Luke Simonds under ,
Last updated on: October 7, 2017

best fishing knots

Do you want to know something that might shock you about fishing knots?

After testing hundreds of fishing knots over the past couple of years, I’ve learned one very important lesson…

The “100% fishing knot” is a myth.

Why?

Physics.

Yes, simple physics is the reason why a knot will always create a weak point on the line given that it creates a point on the line where a max load is hitting it from two different directions.

This creates a weak point in the line that will break before the rest of the line assuming that the main line isn’t damaged.

Note: This weak point is almost always at the first hard turn in the top section of the knot coming from the main line, so it most often leaves a clean break which looks like the main line simply snapped.

So step #1 in using the strongest possible knots for your fishing needs is to understand that there is no such thing as a 100% knot… if you hear someone say that their knot is 100%, then they likely have never tested it out in a controlled test so be wary of their recommendation.

Because the hard truth is that your favorite fishing knot is weak, and so is mine

Now that we’re past the first hurdle (acceptance), step #2 is to actually test our knots to make sure that you don’t lose the fish of a lifetime due using a knot that isn’t the absolute best for each connection in your line system.

To help save you time in testing knots, I’ll be displaying results from my continued testing on this page.

Best of all, the knots will be ranked based on their strength results for the various types of connections fisherman use.

And if you don’t see your favorite knot listed, just leave a comment on the bottom of this post and I’ll add it to my list of fishing knots to evaluate.

So let’s get started…

Definition of Bad, Good, & Great Fishing Knots

strongest fishing knot

 

Before going on the knot strength results, it is essential that we first all understand the different categories of knots in terms of their strength:

  • Bad Knot: unravels/slips when under heavy tension
  • Good Knot: does not unravel or slip (it breaks before unraveling)
  • Great Knot: does not unravel/slip and has a higher breaking point than “Good knots”

How To Determine A Bad Knot

A bad knot is very easy to see because it leaves behind the telltale sign of trouble… the curly tag end.

Yes, the curly tag end that you may have seen after a break-off means that the knot used was either a bad knot, or there was a poor job in tying a good/great knot.

So if you ever see the curly end after a break-off, do not tie the same knot the same way because it’ll likely happen again.

How To Determine A Good Knot vs. A Great Knot

The difference between a Good knot and a Great knot requires the act of intentionally breaking them under a controlled test to see how much tension they can hold before the break occurs.

This is the missing link that most anglers overlook because it requires time and effort.

I am the perfect example of this because I was even fishing tournaments with money and pride at stake and never even bothered to actually test my personal knots.

And when I finally did test my knots, I was shocked at the results… the very first test I did revealed that I was getting 30% less strength than I otherwise would have had I been simply using a different knot for my line to leader connection (replacing the Double-Uni knot with the FG knot… both shown below).

So I highly recommend testing out your knots. And if you’d like a shortcut, this page shows the results from my testing below to help guide you to the best knots from my many tests done so far.

And I’ll continually update this “best fishing knot” post as more and more knots are tested so that you can have the latest and greatest data.

So if you want to save time while maximizing your line strength, this post is for you.

What Are The Best Fishing Knots?

best fishing knots

There are many different types of lines which in many cases have completely different textures, sizes, and friction coefficients.

So we’ll be evaluating knots based on the type of line used within these general line categories:

  • Braid
  • Monofilament/Fluorocarbon
  • Wire (Coming soon)
  • Flyline (Coming soon)

And to truly evaluate a fishing knot, it is essential to focus each test on a specific type of connection because a knot that is very good for line-to-line connections is often not good at all for line-to-lure connections (and visa-Aversa).

So we’ll break out the rankings shown below into the following connections types for each line category:

  • Line-to-Line Knots
  • Line-to-Hook/Lure Knots [Snug]
  • Line-to-Hook/Lure Knots [Loop]

Let’s get started!

Best Fishing Knots for Braided Line

braided fishing line

Braided line has quickly become an extremely popular choice for inshore anglers because it allows for longer casts and better feel of lures given that its strength to diameter ratio is so much higher than mono/fluoro lines.

Plus, it has very little stretch which enables the angler to feel even the lightest of taps on the other end of the line.

But braid requires much for friction within the knot compared to monofilament so it almost always requires a different knot than the traditional knots used on mono.

Best Line-to-Line Knots [Braid]

To kick things off, we’ll start with the most important of all connections for most saltwater anglers who use a lighter main line to connect to a stronger leader.

This setup is becoming very common because it allows for the overall system to have optimal casting performance (due to the lighter line in the reel) while having a stronger leader line at the business end to hold up to the sharp teeth and/or rough mouths of the target species.

Fluorocarbon is the most commonly used monofilament leader these days since it’s known for being less visible in the water while also being more resistant to abrasions, so this analysis is focused on connecting a braided line to a fluorocarbon leader.

Here are the top 5 ranking knots based on the knot tests of done so far:

  1. FG Knot*
    • Pro: Thinnest knot I’ve ever seen while also having the highest breaking strength.
    • Con: Requires a strong cinch before cutting the tags so that it fully locks into place.
      • Note: Only use this knot if tying a braided line to a stronger mono/fluoro leader.
  2. 6 Turn Surgeon’s Knot
    • Pro: Very quick to tie while having a shocking strong breaking point and can be tied using lines of any size
    • Con: Bulkier and slightly weaker than the FG knot
  3. Doubled-Over Double Uni Knot
    • Pro: Easy knot to tie and it can be used for all connections
    • Con: Up to 30% weaker than the FG knot in my tests
  4. Crazy Alberto Knot
    • Pro: Nice low profile knot with a strong breaking point
    • Con: Up to 30% weaker than the FG knot in my tests
  5. Improved Albright
    • Pro: Nice low profile knot with a strong breaking point
    • Con: Weaker than the FG knot and the Crazy Alberto

Click here to see the first contest I hosted for this connection.

Note: If your favorite knot isn’t included, leave a comment below and I’ll test it out and add it to the list.

Want to join the only fishing club that:

  • Is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year
  • Shows you new spots and trends every week
  • Guarantees that you catch more fish or it’s free!

Then apply to join the Insider Fishing Club here.

Best Doubled Braid-to-Leader Knots

Many anglers like to double the braid by forming a loop at the end of the braid and then tying a line-to-line knot to connect the doubled braid to the leader.

In many instances, this does increase the overall line strength for anglers who are using a lighter braid relative to the leader.

However, the FG knot tied on a single line has proven to outperform the doubled knot connections in most of my testing. The only combination that consistently beats the single line FG knot is the use of the FG knot to connect a doubled line formed by the Bimini Twist to the leader.

Line Doubling Knots [Braid]
  1. Bimini Twist
    • Pro: Extremely strong doubling knot
    • Con: It often requires more twists (30+) with braid so that it won’t slip
  2. Surgeon Loop (6-turn)
    • Pro: Extremely fast to tie
    • Con: Not quite as strong as the Bimini Twist
  3. Spider Hitch
    • Pro: Faster to tie than the Bimini Twist
    • Con: Not as strong as the Bimini Twist
Doubled Line To Leader Knots [Braid to Fluoro]
  1. FG Knot
    • Pro: Thinnest knot I’ve ever seen while also having the highest breaking strength.
    • Con: Requires a very strong cinch before cutting the tags so that it fully locks into place.
      • Note: Only use this knot if tying a braided line to a stronger mono/fluoro leader.
  2. No-Name Knot (aka- Bristol Knot)
    • Pro: Quick and easy knot to tie
    • Con: Not as strong as the FG knot
  3. Yucatan Knot
    • Pro: Quick and easy to tie (very similar to Bristol knot)
    • Con: Not as strong as the FG knot

Note: If your favorite knot isn’t included, leave a comment below and I’ll test it out and add it to the list.

Best Braid-to-Swivel/Lure/Hook Knots

This next category is focused for anglers who use braided line and like to use swivels.

But it could also be useful if you like to use connect your braided line directly to your terminal tackle (although I do not recommend tying directly to your lure or hook using braid because fish can see it so much better than mono/fluoro… instead, use a ~20 to 30 inch leader in between your braid and lure/hook).

  1. Modified Uni Knot
    • Pro: Great knot that is very strong and easy to tie
    • Con: Although an easy knot to tie, some are faster
  2. San Diego Jam Knot
    • Pro: Strong knot that is easy and quick to tie
    • Con: Not quite as strong as the Modified Uni Knot
  3. Palomar Knot
    • Pro: Very fast and easy to tie
    • Con: Not as strong with braid as it is with mono
  4. Orvis Knot
    • Pro: Quick and easy to tie
    • Con: Not as strong with braid as it is with mono
  5. Improved Cinch Knot
    • Pro: Quick and easy to tie
    • Con: This knot doesn’t perform well with braid (prone to slippage)

Click here to see results from a contest I hosted for this connection.

Note: If your favorite knot isn’t included, leave a comment below and I’ll test it out and add it to the list.

Best Fishing Knots for Monofilament/Fluorocarbon Line

best fishing knots for mono line

Monofilament line is used by almost all anglers in some capacity, so I’ve done many tests with knots using mono line.

For tests that I’ve done for my personal use, I focused on Fluorocarbon line, which is a specific type of mono.

Many anglers use Fluorocarbon for their leader material since it’s known to be stronger the less visible than traditional monofilament line.

Here’s what I’ve tested so far:

Best Mono-to-Mono Knots

Here are the top mono-to-mono knots that I have tested:

  1. 3 Turn Surgeon’s Knot*
    • Pro: Extremely easy and fast knot to tie with very strong holding strength
    • Con: Need to tie this before tying on a lure or hook
  2. SS Knot
    • Pro: Versatile knot connection with an impressive breaking strength
    • Con: Not quite as fast or strong as the Surgeon’s knot
  3. Double Uni Knot
    • Pro: Easy knot to tie and it can be used for all connections
    • Con: Not as fast or strong as the Surgeon’s knot
  4. Albright Special
    • Pro: Easy knot to tie that looks very nice once completed
    • Con: Not as fast or strong as the Surgeon’s knot
  5. Blood Knot
    • Pro: Easy to tie with lines of similar size
    • Con: Not as effective with lines of different diameters

Click here to see results from a contest I hosted for this connection.

Note: If your favorite knot isn’t included, leave a comment below and I’ll test it out and add it to the list.

Best Line-to-Hook Knots [Mono/Fluoro]

Now that we covered the very important line-to-line connection, let’s dig in to the best fishing knots for connecting our hooks and lures to the end of the line.

For this category, we’ll split it up into two sections to cover the two core different types of connections:

  1. Loop Knot – Leaves a loop so that the lure/hook has more range of motion in the water (less strength compared to snug)
  2. Snug Knot – Line hugs around hook/lure eye forming a strong connection (less range of motion)

Note: I’ve specifically focused on fluorocarbon line since it’s the most popular for saltwater anglers… if you want me to test these with standard mono, just let me know and I’ll add it to this post.

Best Loop Knot to Lure/Hook

When fishing with artificial lures, using a loop knot is an advantage because it allows the lure to have more motion in the water which most often leads to more strikes.

But the downside is that loop knots are not as strong as snug knots, so that needs to be taken into account when selecting your leader line size and when setting drag.

Here are my favorites:

  1. Rapalla Loop Knot
    • Pro: The strongest loop knot I’ve tested so far
    • Con: Takes a bit longer to tie than many others and leaves a tag end facing up which can snag weeds/debris
  2. Non-Slip Loop Knot (aka. Kreh Loop)*
    • Pro: Very quick and easy to tie and has a tag end that points down towards the lure (more weedless)
    • Con: Just a tad weaker than the Rapalla knot
  3. Perfection Loop Knot
    • Pro: Strong loop knot that is quick to tie
    • Con: Tougher to tie since this knot requires the hook/lure to pass through a loop
  4. Canoe Man Loop Knot
    • Pro: Extremely fast loop knot to tie
    • Con: Strength test was great with traditional mono, but it didn’t perform nearly as well with fluorocarbon

Click here to see the first contest I did with this important connection.

Note: If your favorite knot isn’t included, leave a comment below and I’ll test it out and add it to the list.

Best “Snug” Knot to Lure/Hook

When going for maximum strength when having action in the water is not as important, then the snug knot is the way to go because a good snug knot will be a significant amount stronger than a good loop knot.

Here’s my ranking of the Snug knots that I’ve tested so far:

  1. Palomar Knot
    • Pro: Very strong knot that is easy to tie when using bare hooks
    • Con: Can become cumbersome when using larger lures because it requires the lure pass through a loop
  2. Orvis Knot
    • Pro: Very quick and easy knot to tie that is very strong
    • Con: Not quite as strong as the Palomar knot
  3. Uni Knot
    • Pro: Good knot that is fairly quick to tie and can be used for almost any connection
    • Con: Not quite as strong as the Palomar knot
  4. Double Davy Knot
    • Pro: Very quick and easy to tie (just 1 more twist vs. the Davie Knot)
    • Con: Not quite as strong as the Orvis knot which is just as easy to tie
  5. Davy Knot
    • Pro: Very quick and easy to tie
    • Con: Not quite as strong as the Orvis knot which is just as easy to tie
  6. Improved Cinch Knot
    • Pro: Quick and easy to tie
    • Con: Prone to slippage and not as strong as the others listed above

Click here to see the first contest I did with this important connection.

Note: If your favorite knot isn’t included, leave a comment below and I’ll test it out and add it to the list.

More test data getting added soon, so be sure to bookmark this page!

Conclusion

best fishing knots

Of the many factors that determine if you land the fish of a lifetime that you hook, the one that we have 100% control over is the quality of the knots that we use.

So it’s essential for us to select the absolute best fishing knot for each connection to get the most overall line strength.

You have certainly heard the saying, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link…” Well, a rod, reel, and an angler are only as strong as the knot between them and the fish.

Make it count.

There isn’t (and never will be) one fishing knot that can do everything with all line types and connection needs, so make sure to be mindful of the knot options you have for each connection need you have.

This post will continually grow over time as knot suggestions come in, so leave a comment below letting us know of any other knots you’d like us to add to this analysis.

Note: The * symbols next to the knots listed above are the ones that I personally use for each of the respective connections.

The tests have been done using 10 to 20 lb PowerPro tied to 20 to 30 lb Ande and Seaguar fluorocarbon.

Related Post: Fastest Way To Tie The Amazing FG Knot [PDF Guide Included]

Want to join the only fishing club that:

  • Is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year
  • Shows you new spots and trends every week
  • Guarantees that you catch more fish or it’s free!

Then apply to join the Insider Fishing Club here.

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would enjoy seeing this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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59 Comments on "The Best Fishing Knots Of All Time [Ranked Strongest To Weakest]"

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Adam Bailey
Member

Using mono or fluoro leader, have you compared the palomar or orvis knots to the modified uni knot? I’ve been using the modified uni knot for a while now to attach braid and fluoro to swivels, hooks, and lures without problems. I believe the modified uni knot (aka fish n fool knot) did very well in a comprehensive knot wars competition in the past. The orvis knot does look easy to tie and having tag end face away from the rod is a plus.

Steven Free
Member

Hey luke not to get off the subject i was just trying to go on the site to ask you a question do you sell your hays anymore i looked on your site in the apparels link but all i saw is shirts and hoodies and in accessories no hats just headbands and gaters i know your t going to sell anymore clothing in fact i believe your deadline is tommorrow but i was at least interested in a hat if no thats alright?

Steven Free
Member

Wow never really thought about it that much but with my experience and since i have used braid i still like the improved cinch knot for braid to florocarbon leader i use power pro 20 lb with a Berkley inviso-line also 20 lb leader and very seldom do i have breakoff or a knot slippage my knots usually are so strong that i have bent strong hooks pulling on them when. snagged but i guess its just a matter of preference what works for some doesnt necessarily work for others anyways though great tips you have certainly made your point and a good one at that thank you😀

Ed Dobbins
Member

whats the best braid to braid knot?

Howard Bessen
Member

On the West Coast, the knot usually recommended to connect a fluoro leader to mono is the “Seaguar knot”. Is the result the same as the 3-turn surgeon’s knot?

Harry
Guest
Harry

The Miller knot is a stronger knot than your Palomar knot, very small and takes seconds to tie. Instead of testing the Sandiego jam, try a double Sandiego jam. It takes a little longer to tie but much stronger than your Palomar knot.

Ken R
Guest
Ken R

I was using the FG, then started with a GT. Now I use double braid 4 turn nail knot. Never had one fail yet. You must double the braid or it may slip.

Fishingelbow
Guest
Fishingelbow

Thanks for all the work you put in testing the knots. Just finished testing the FG knot with a very slick braid (Tuff-Line Plus, no coating or color whatsoever) and it hold like a leech. Clearly better than my previous favorite Alberto.
Question: Why not use a Uni to lock the FG instead of multiple overhand knots?

“The only thing worse than getting skunked is having the whole world learn about it”
Anonymous
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Russ Franey
Member

I have to disagree with the blanket recommendation of the fg knot. The power pro and regular ande flouro you tested it with is almost ideal conditions for the knot. A rough braid and a soft flouro. My experience with the knot is that it will always eventually fail when using a slicker braid and harder leader flouro(15 lb diawa J to 35 lb seagar abrazx). The knot has great initial strength under ideal conditions but low security. Wheras the alberto or surgeons have lower initial strength but are much less likely to work their selves loose. Although my experiences might differ from yours, I do enjoy your writing and testing. Hey and my experience with the fg knot caused me to design my own knot. I consider it much more secure than the fg although it might not be any stronger then the alberto. Tight lines.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

have you try ag chain knot to tie off mono/flouro to swivel?

Guy Austin
Guest
Guy Austin

Hey Luke great information here – but why no mention of the pr knot ?
It is a very popular knot down here in Australasia for braid to leader but it does need a bobbin,
either a standard fly tying type or a special pr bobbin.

Keep up the good work.
Guy

Peter A Waskiewicz
Member

Hello Saltstrong family. Luke once again I appreciate “The best fishing knots of all time” For myself it is refreshing to go over basic knots. To be proficient we need to practice so we can all can pass it on. Thanks for the post. Fish On? & Thigh Lines

James Murphy
Member

Agreed ! Great stuff guys. Thanks for sharing.

Jerry Claybrook
Member

What about the RedPhillips knot for braid to floro?

Doug Robison
Member

Love the red phillips

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Can you test the John Collins, Royal Polaris knot?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I’d like to see how an “Improved Davy” or “Double Davy” (essentially the Davy with 1 extra turn) would stack up against the Orvis. I’ve found that extra turn to add an exceptional amount of strength over the original Davy, and I suspect it would outperform the Orvis.

James Barron
Member

Line to lure MONO: Miller, Improved Clinch, Eye Crosser
Line to lure FLORO: Triple Loop, Berkly Braid
Line to lure BRAID: Improved Reverse Clinch, Burke

Jim Leber
Guest
Jim Leber

what is the best way to tie two lures to the leader line and then the leader to the braid main line.

Greg Collins
Member

Luke, I always enjoy the saltstrong Emails and all your research. I’ve learned much from you. When using the FG, you said only use a heavier leader than braid. Why is that?
I’ve been testing it with lighter leader than braid (example: 40# fluoro/80#braid) for off shore application with excellent results. Thanks again.
Greg

Mel Crissey
Member

Joe and Luke, this info on the various knots is really helpful. Thank you.

Stephen Cowart
Member

Thanks for all the info!!! Loving the insider life!!!! Keep it coming!!! Learn something new with every read on here and every outing in the boat!!!
#saltstrong
#thislifeaintforeveryone

Tim Hall
Member

Have you tried the Joe Miller knot ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaNx56sYEDY

Rich Reedinger
Member

For line to line connections, the “slim beauty” should be considered. Small enough to pass through guides, etc.

Tom Mangus
Member

In the Best Braid-to-Swivel/Lure/Hook Knots, did you ever test the double double Palomar (twice through the eye and 2 times through for the overhand)? I’ve had great success with that for braid.

Douglas Bickel
Member

Luke thanx so much for all your instructive videos. Here’s a tip to share re: tying Bimini Twist learned from guide out of Marathon area—he liked much longer Bimini’s and did not use leaders—boy could he catch fish! He used same knot but MUCH longer which made it harder to tie without utilizing his technique. He simply put the loop around both knees (separated but not fully spread) after the 20 twists were introduced. Then it’s a simple matter to spread your knees to compact the twists and finish as in your video. A longer Bimini Twist will pass easily through the guides and distributes the tension across 2 lines. I have landed fish w only one leg of the line remaining following abrasion. Disclaimer: I have not used this technique with braid but will do so soon. I love it w mono.

Jeffrey
Guest
Jeffrey

I try clicking on the + sign to see what knots they are but nothing happens.

Steve Lee
Member

Which is stronger- the FG knot or double double uni-knot ?

Luke Simonds
Member

For your next knot contest, be sure to add the 5 turn surgeon to the braid to leader category… it is quick to tie and has been working great for me for years.

Walt
Member

I do a lot of knot testing. A knot you should test for a join to a swivel/hook/ring etc. with spectra. Take the spectra and tie a standard Trilene knot but use 18 wraps up with a small space between wraps and 18 wraps back down. Going down eliminate the spaces between wraps so the spectra is right next to the wrap next to it. You will get 20-30 wraps going back down. Now just put the tag end through the space at the bottom of the wraps next to the hook. The tag end does not need to be threaded under the double loops going through the hook eye.  Wet it and cinch down. You will need a cinching tool to do this. I use a piece of 1″OD PVC wrapped with black electrical tape. Wraps about 8 turns of the spectra around the tool and hook the  hook to something solid. You cannot cinch this knot by hand you must use the tool . It will take a lot of force to cinch up Pull slowly in several  efforts do not try to cinch it down all at one time. This will eliminate any possible heat build up.

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