Palomar Knot – the Best Fly Fishing Knot?

How to Tie a Palomar Knot

The Palomar Knot is the best knot for fly fishing because it is one that holds together. For this reason, we like the Palomar knot as it is known for being one of the most sturdy of knots.

We definitely recommend this knot for braided lines.

There are dozens of knots in the fly fishing world. We like the Clinch knot too. But we’re only allowed to pick one for “The Best.”

They all have positives and negatives about them. In this article, we’re going to share with you the specifics of the Palomar knot.

We will also explain how to tie a Palomar knot.

I have had the opportunity to enjoy fishing for most of my life. Most were recreational but some were amateur tournaments.

have seen how it can create lifetime friends and memories. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I do.

“It is not every man who should go a-fishing, but there are many who would find this their true rest and recreation of body and mind. And having…learned by experience how pleasant it is to go a-fishing, you will find…that you are drawn to it whenever you are weary, impatient, or sad.”

W.C.Prime, Go a-Fishing

The Palomar Knot and Fly Fishing as a Hobby

Fly fishing is the perfect activity for both the beginner and the expert fisherman.

There are a number of strategies involved in the activity of fly fishing. If you have a little knowledge of how to use knots to your advantage, it will get you the most enjoyment from your fishing trip.

Learning to use a fly rod is equally as important but we will discuss that in a different article (link if you have one.)

Folks new to fly fishing can easily feel overcome by all the different options when it comes to knots, lures, rods, and reels.

We’re here to let you know that you really only need to know a handful of knots. The Palomar knot is one of the basics.

The rest is the icing on the cake when you have extra time to learn them.

So use this guide to start with one knot, the Palomar.

All hail the mighty knot

A knot, for all intents and purposes, is meant simply to connect two things. It could be connecting two lines that broke or putting on a hook or lure. While they have custom uses, there really isn’t one for every single situation. That is why many fishermen practice just a half dozen knots.

Many fly fishermen get by with a handful of knots. One of the oldest knots is the Clinch, which we mentioned in the beginning. It is great for tying hooks to lines. It also does a good job of connecting lures.

We use the Blood knot when we have to tie two lines together if they are the same size in diameter. If they are different sizes, then the Surgeon’s knot comes in handy. Still, others like the Surgeon’s Loop knot for latching on terminal tackle.

The authority in tying the best Palomar knot

Field and Stream call it the bible of knots and knot tying. I’m referring to the book Practical Fishing Knots by Lefty Kreh and Mark Sosin. it has everything you need to know about fishing knots. You’ll be happy to know that it fits nicely inside a tackle box. Check it out here, on Amazon

The section at the end of the book on leaders is particularly helpful in my opinion. The pictures are very detailed and the explanations are helpful.

Let’s get started on the Palomar knot

The Palomar is a widely used knot and easy to tie. There are many uses for this knot:

  • to secure hooks
  • snaps
  • swivels
  • lures

As previously mentioned, the Palomar works especially well on braided lines. This is why we like it just a little more than the Clinch.

Tying the Palomar knot

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Step One – Take your line and double about six inches of it. Then pass it through the eye of your hook.

Step Two – Take the doubled-up line and tie a traditional overhand knot in it. Make sure the hook is hanging loose and try to avoid twisting the line.

Step Three – Grab the end of the loop hanging down and pull it straight down while passing it completely over the hook barb.

Step Four – With water or saliva, get the line wet and pull both ends of the line tight to draw up the knot.

Step Five – Trim the excess line with scissors or nail clippers.

Note: you can turn this into a Double Palomar knot during Step 2 by making two wraps through the loop.

Basic terminology for tying the Palomar knot

Wraps (also called Turns) – This is when you complete one full revolution of your main line around another line. Most notably, it occurs after passing the Tag End around the Standing Part or Standing Loop.

Tag End – This is the area of the line where you tied the knot. When there is extra left after tying a knot, it will be located at the Tag End. You will simply clip this extra line off with clippers.

Standing Part – The opposite of Tag End or Terminal End of the line. The Standing Part runs from the Tag End to the reel (or a longer end if working with leader material.)

Lubricating the Palomar knot

Friction is the enemy of any fishing line. We all know that friction can cause heat. Heat can lead to a line snap. So here’s a little tip when tying off a fly fishing knot. Use lubrication.

Getting a knot moist with a lubricant, like water or spit, before you pull it tightly together can help reduce friction while you draw it down tight.

Some fishermen like silicone as lubrication but why add extra chemicals to the joy of fly fishing when it isn’t necessary?

Do not attempt to heat the knot by burning, like you might a rope knot. This will damage the line and could lead to failure at the wrong time.

Like, when you are about to reel in the biggest catch of the day. Just not worth it.

A little history lesson before we go

Have you ever wondered how far back fly fishing goes in history? I looked it up once. There was a guy named Claudius Aelian, back in the Roman days. he wrote a book called On the Nature of Animals around 200 BC.

In this book, he details a small fly that no fish could resist when it landed on the water. But the fishermen of the time didn’t want to use this little bug as bait.

Instead, they fashioned their own version using red wool and two wax feathers tied to a hook. They used around six feet of line on an equally long rod and cast it out into the water until they caught fish.

How’s that for interesting!


I hope we have properly represented the Palomar knot and taught you a thing or two. It has been a great fly fishing knot for us over the years and will continue to be our favorite for years to come.

Thanks for stopping by and if you have a favorite knot, please leave it in the comment section below.

FAQs on Best Fly Fishing Knot

How do you tie a leader on a tippet to a fly line?

Tie a portion of tippet off the end of the leader with a Surgeon’s Knot and connect it to your original fly using an Improved Clinch Knot.

Then go to the hook shank and use a Blood Knot to tie the second section of the tippet to your second fly. Make sure you attach it using the Improved Clinch Knot.

What is tippet in fly fishing?

The tippet refers to a specific gauge of the monofilament line that is attached to the terminal end of the leader.

This is what you attach to when you tie the fly.

It is usually the smallest gauge line that you use and is virtually undetectable to the fish. By using a tippet, you can avoid losing taper on the leader.

How do you tie a Clinch knot for fly fishing?

Place the end of the line through the eye of your hook. Double around making 5 or more passes around the standing line.

Bring the end back through the original loop formed behind the eye. Then thread it through the big loop.

Lubricate the knot and pull on the tag end to draw it all down tight.

Do you need a tippet for fly fishing?

For fishing streamers, you can use 15 inches of tippet. That should be more than enough.

You won’t need the flexibility with streamers like you would need with dry flies or nymphs. Why?

Because you should always be fishing with a tight line. That’s the reason you can fish with a shorter tippet.

How do you attach a fly to a leader?

Well, you can use the Turtle knot to make a solid attachment between the leader and the fly.

First, you thread the end of the leader through the fly/hook eye from the front.

Then, slide the fly upward towards the leader so that it should be out of the way. Last, create a loop with a slipknot for the end of the leader.

How long should my leader be fly fishing?

Length of fly fishing leaders is important. They should range from 6 – 12 feet in length. Which length you choose depends on your current conditions.

A general or common point to start is a 9-foot tapered leader. Include more tippet length if your fishing seems to be spooking the fish.

Note: many fishermen use a 7.5-foot leader for bass and other active fish.

What is the point of fly fishing?

To enjoy nature and experience peace and solitude in the outdoors. Fly fishing has a completely different casting method than traditional fishing.

It is much more elegant and requires a lot of skill to master. Anyone can use a closed-face reel to flip a jig into the water. This is a whole different level.

How long does Tippet last?

In our experience, the tippet should last at least two years. It depends on how you use it.

Is the Palomar knot the best?

We think it is one of the best fly fishing knots to use for strength. it is simple to tie yet sturdy.

Practice it enough and you should be able to tie it in the dark with your eyes closed.

The perfect activity to practice when you are sitting around the living room watching tv.

Why do my fishing knots keep breaking?

Knots can break for several reasons. But two of the most common are: using the wrong knot for the occasion or simply tying it wrong.

Although you can tie a perfect knot but break it if you are snagged and pulling too hard to get it loose.

If you think you have a fish biting but you are really just caught on a log, yanking that pole back too hard could easily break your knot.

Here is another article about knots.

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