The nail knot is one of the most significant knots you can learn as an angler. You can often see it used to connect the fly line to the leader.
The fly line is the fishing line or string that has an attraction attached to it. The attraction is used to lure the fish. The leader is the main line connected to the hook or lure.
Because you are adding in another line, you want the knot connecting them to be strong and sturdy. That’s why you use a nail knot.
It gets its name from an old technique. People used to use a nail as a guide when creating this knot, but it is easier if you use a tube. You’ll see why in just a moment.
Nail Knot Tippet To Leader- Method
To tie a nail knot, you need three things – your first line, your second line, and a small tube (or nail) to use as a guide.
Follow this step by step method to create the perfect nail knot:
Step 1: Hold the ends of the two lines and allow the guide (tube ot nail) to nestle in between them.
Step 2: Using the leader only, wrap the line around the fly and the guide. Inside each wrapping from the leader, you should encompass the leader line, the fly line, and the guide. Wrap 5 times.
Step 3: On the 6th wrap, either insert the leader into the tube or tuck it between the nail and the lines.
Step 4: Make sure that the leader is pulled through the tube or through the hole you have created.
Step 5: Remove the guide (tube or nail) by allowing it to slip out of the knot.
Step 6: Pull both lines to tighten the knot.
Step 7: Cut off any excess line, if there is any.
And there you have it, a nail knot!
Admittedly, using a tube is the easiest way to create this knot, but if you are dexterous enough to wiggle the line in between the wraps, then the nail will still work.
Tips To Consider
If creating this knot manually sounds like too much work, you can use a nail knot tool to help.
Instead of doing it all with your fingers, you first insert the leader into the tool and then wrap it around the metal (or guide). Wrap it 4 or 5 times, as we said before.
You’ll notice that we haven’t put in the second line yet, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s what makes it easier.
Still just using the leader, feed the line into the tool itself to create a basic knot.
Then feed the second line into the tool, inserting it through the knot space you have created. Remove the tool and the pull on the lines.
It’s a simpler method that is particularly useful on a rainy or cold day, when your fingers won’t work as well.
Advantages For The Nail Knot
This knot type has a lot of advantages, which is why most anglers will choose it as their go-to for a longer line.
Most importantly, this line will not slip. You can be as brutal with your swing as you want, knowing that the force won’t break your connection.
Because of the hugging nature of the knot, you can also expect a strong resistance. This means you can have a heavy fish on the line and be confident that the knot will hold steady.
Some knots can be a little bulky, but the nail knot is smooth. This means it can glide through the water easily and shouldn’t affect the weight of your bait.
This type of knot is super tight, which means that water won’t get logged in the lines. You can be confident that the knot won’t produce a spray.
Disadvantages For The Nail Knot
If you like to tie your lines for occasions and expect to get them back to their original shape after, then this knot isn’t for you. It can be challenging to untie. You may even have to cut the lines to make them release.
If you don’t want your leader line to be caught up in a permanent knot, then don’t use the nail knot.
Reasons To Use The Nail Knot
Fly fishing is the main reason people use nail knots. You can push your line even further while feeling confident that it’s not going to get lost in the waters.
If you are simply looking for a knot that is slim but strong, then the nail knot is your best bet. Some people use it on the hook for convenience, acting like an improved clinch knot.
Crap anglers often use the nail knot to attach their monofilament or braided finishing lines. Carp can be hardy fish to catch, so this strong knot will keep their dangling treasure safe.
You can even use the knot as a simple bobber stopper.
Similar Knots To Consider
If you like the idea of a nail knot, but cannot use it for your plans, consider these knots instead.
Double Uni Knot
This knot is also designed for two lines but works best when the two have varying levels of strength. If you are worried that one line will snap the other, try the Double Uni Knot instead.
Loop To Loop
The Loop to Loop is an easy and quick line that does the same thing as the Nail Knot but faster.
The Albright Knot creates a smooth finish like the Nail Knot, although it’s not as strong.
If you find the Nail Knot too fiddly, then the Blood Knot might be a better choice.
The Surgeon’s Knot is easier to tie than the Nail Knot, but it’s a lot bulkier.
It might take a couple of tries before you get the nail knot right. We suggest practicing at home, so when the cold, wet and windy weather arrives, you can still create your knot like a pro.