How to tie a fishing hook

How to tie a fishing hook- the Clinch Knot

One of the fastest and easiest knots for tying a hook to line is the Clinch Knot.  This post is the last in my series of essential knots for fly fishing.  The first was how to tie a nail knot, then the double surgeon’s knot and now the clinch knot.  The clinch knot is best used for attaching a fly or a swivel to your tippet.


I’ll provide some instructions on the traditional method of tying the clinch knot, then I’ll show you a trick I learned from one of the guides I fish with, Brian Kozminski at True North Trout.

Tying a clinch knot – the old way

clinch knot

  1. Slip the line through the eye of the hook. Pull 5 inches or so of tag line through the hook eye.  Pinch the tag line and running line between your thumb and forefinger.  Create a loop, twist this loop 5 to 7 times which winds the tag around the running line.
  2. Pass the tag end through the opening above the hook eye.
  3. Moisten the twisted line and pull both the tag end and running line tight. Trim the tag end and you are done!

This method seems simple, but in practice it seems like you need three hands to do this effectively.

Now let me show you a fast and easy way.  This method isn’t new, the only tool required is probably already hanging from your vest, your hemostats.

How to tie a Clinch Knot – the easy way

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  1. Thread the line through the hook eye.Clinch

  2. Form a loop about 4 inches long, holding the tag and running line in your to tie a fishing hook

  3. Stick the nose of your hemostats into the loop.clinch knot fishing

  4. Rotate the hemostats forming a twist in the the line. Stop after 5 to 6 turns are formed in the line.the clinch knot

  5. Grab the tag end with your hemostats.clinch knot instructions

  6. Pull the tag end back through the loop formed by the hemostats.simple clinch knot

  7. Moisten the twists

  8. Pull smoothly drawing down the knot. Pull tight and unclip the hemostats.clinch knot video

  9. The knot is formed, trim close and your done!fishing knot

how to tie a clinch knot

Clinch Knot Strength

The little bit of data out on the interweb says a clinch knot retains 80% of the original line strength.  From experience it seems like the weakest knot in my system is the clinch.   This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I would rather tie on a fly and not tippet with droppers and such.

How to tie a clinch knot video

Below is a video detailing the instructions for tying a clinch knot super fast using this technique.

Another great resource for learning to tie a clinch knot is Animated Knots.

If you have any question please send me an email at

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