How To Tie A Nail Knot Using A Nail Knot Tool


how to tie nail knot

How To Tie A Nail Knot Using A Nail Knot Tool

The best way to attach your leader to line is with a nail knot and the easiest way to do this is with a nail knot tool.  The nail knot is one of the three essential knots used in fly fishing.  Over the next couple months I’ll write instructions and shoot videos showing how to tie the Nail Knot, Double Surgeon’s and the Clinch Knot.  Another great resource for understanding how to tie a nail knot is animated knots.

The nail knot is difficult to tie using the traditional nail.  I prefer a simple combination nipper nail knot tool.  This tool ties nail knots, clips your line and cleans hook eyes.

nail knot tool

Get this tool for $6.99 + postage.

The first step is to hold the tool with the U-fork extended and lay about 7 inches of line into the U.  (TRICK having 7 or more inches of line makes it easy to grasp the backing and pull the knot tight) The tag end should extend beyond the tip of the tool about 6 inches.   I hold the tool in my left hand.  For this example I’ll show tying on backing, but the process is the same when tying on a leader.

tie nail knot

Next wrap the backing 6 to 7 times around the tool.  These wraps should be neat and next to one another.  Wrap away from the tip of the tool.  With 6 to 7 wraps completed hold the wraps inc place with the index finger of your left hand.

nail knot tool

With the tag end in your right hand, thread the line through the center of the wraps and out the tip of the tool. tie nail knot nail knot toolnail knot


With the wraps tight and neat and held in underneath with your left hand index finger let the tag end drop and pick up the fly line.  Insert the fly line into the tip of the tool approximately 2 inches.
nail knotter tool flyline to backing

Hold the fly line under your left hand thumb.  Grasp the backing firmly with your right hand.  Pull the backing down at a 45 degree angle with a smooth tug.  (TRICK Avoid pulling the line directly off the end off the tip.  This tends to “unravel” the knot)

how to attach leader to line

Good Job!  The tough part is done!  Your knot should look like the picture below.

fly line backing

The cool thing about a nail knot is that it is self tightening.  Meaning the harder you pull and tighter it gets.  Now pull the knot tight and trim the ends off close.  Long tag ends get taught in your rod guides.

clip nail knot

With the ends trim close your knot is complete.

nail knot

For $6.99 you can get the Nipper Nail Knot tool shown in this article.

To demonstrate tying this knot real time I’ve included a quick video.  Thanks for reading and if you’d like to make a suggestion please send me an email at


Tight Lines and  STRONG KNOTS!!!