There are hundreds of knots out there and each experienced fly fisherman seems to have his or her own opinion on which is best. In our opinion, there are only 3 or 4 knots you’ll need to master. 

Below, you will see a diagram outlining the Standard Fly Line System. The Arbor Knot attaches your backing to the reel, the Nail Knot is used to attach your backing to the fly line. The Loop-to-Loop Connection (Handshake Knot) is used to attach your fly line to a tapered leader. If your leader and/or fly line does not have a loop, you can use the Nail Knot again. The Surgeon’s Knot is used to attach tippet to your leader. Your tippet is attached to your flies via the Clinch Knot.

The easiest way to learn each of these knots is by watching a video and following along step-by-step. Check them out below:

Arbor knot

Application: Attach backing to the reel.

nail knot

Application: Attach backing to fly line and/or fly line to leader.

Loop-to-loop connection (handshake knot), surgeon's knot, clinch knot

Application: Attach fly line to leader, leader to tippet, and tippet to fly.

Be sure to have these knots on lock down before you head to the river. Tying them incorrectly could lead to frustration, lost fish, and nasty tangles. Keep practicing and be patient with yourself.