Tying knots is an integral part of rigging and plays a large role in success while fly fishing. Like many areas of fly fishing, and life, there is a large amount of subjectivity when it comes to tying knots.
There are endless combinations of knots and rigging tactics that can get the job done each day. However, being savvy in a handful of knots in order to perform different functions is all that is required to put fish in the net on most days.
Joining two pieces of fishing line together is a basic principle in rigging that every angler should be able to do. In our area of fly fishing a Blood Knot or a Double Surgeon’s Knot are usually the two primary options.
Blood Knot or a Double Surgeon’s Knot?
Whether or not I use a Blood Knot or a Double Surgeon’s Knot is a question that I receive very often while guiding. The truth is, I generally prefer a Blood Knot but do use both. For me, both styles of these knots are necessary while rigging up or making adjustments.
Blood Knot – Although a little more challenging to tie for most anglers, Blood Knots are my preferred method of joining relatively similar sized (less than one tippet size apart) pieces of leader/tippet together. A well tied Blood Knot is strong, slim, smooth, and cosmetically appealing.
Double Surgeon’s Knot – When dealing with joining together two pieces of leader/tippet that are not relatively the same size (greater than one tippet size apart), I lean on a Double Surgeon’s Knot. For non-similar sized pieces of tippet I feel that a Double Surgeon’s knot is stronger than a Blood Knot. Another situation that I tend to choose a Double Surgeon’s Knot is when tying droppers on two nymph rigs. I prefer the angle of the tag end for a dropper that a Double Surgeon’s Knot creates and it also seems easier to control the length of the tag when compared to a Blood Knot.
If you’ve spent a day with me fishing, you’ve most likely heard me say that fishing is situational. Choosing which knot to use is no different and again there is a lot of personal preference in fly fishing.
If you are simply looking for a place to start, I would recommend starting with using a Double Surgeon’s Knot and then graduating to a Blood Knot afterward. There are endless options on Youtube that work well for learning knots, but if in person instruction is more your style talk to us at the club.