Thursday, December 16, 2010

Knot Tying Refresher: Part 1 Arbor Knot

Becoming a proficient fly fisher can be viewed as a daunting task. There are so many aspects to fly fishing, it often leaves the novice feeling overwhelmed. Whether it’s identifying insects, choosing patterns to “match the hatch”, or learning all the knots, there are basics of fly fishing that will create a solid foundation.

The off season lends itself to the fine tuning of your fly fishing skills. When I am unable to get out to my favorite spots, I am relegated to practicing my casting techniques at the park or sitting in front of the TV tying knots. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling with knots when fish are rising all around you. The analogy I like to use when teaching fly fishing clinics is; most golfers go to the driving range to practice before playing 18 holes. Fly fishing is no different. When you practice, you are better prepared to perform on the water. Especially when the pressure is on!

This series of blog posts will focus on the essential knots of fly fishing. There are many knots, for many applications. We will focus on the six knots every fly fisher should know:

• Arbor Knot
• Nail Knot
• Perfection Loop
• Duncan Loop
• Double Surgeons Knot
• Improved Clinch Knot

Part 1 of the Knot Tying Refresher is the Arbor Knot. The Arbor Knot is a knot that you will seldom have to tie. But when you need it, it is invaluable. Personally, I’d rather spend more time with my fly on the water, rather than, sitting along the bank enjoying the view.

Application: The Arbor Knot is used for attaching the fly line backing to the fly reel. Depending on the fly reel, the amount and size of backing will vary. Check the information provided with your specific reel.

Tip: Often times, when you purchase the backing and fly line from a fly shop, they will offer to put the line(s) on your reel. They have the equipment and expertise to do it. Swallow your pride and ask for help.


Step 1: Wrap the end of the backing around the arbor of the fly reel.


Step 2: With the tag end tie an overhand knot around the running line.

Step 3: With the tag end of the backing tie another overhand knot. Cinch the knot tight to the arbor.


*The overhand knot that is tied at the end of the tag line
will prevent the backing from slipping through the initial
overhand knot that is around the running line.
Upcoming: Knot Tying Refresher: Part 2 The Nail Knot

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