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Surgeon’s Loop: Essential Tips for Mastering This Knot

The Surgeon’s Loop is a highly versatile knot that holds significant importance in the world of fishing. This easy-to-tie knot is essentially a double overhand knot and is known for its simplicity and strength. It is often employed to create fixed loops at the end of fishing lines, enabling anglers to quickly and securely connect their lines to other loops or hooks.

While there are many knots available for fishermen to choose from, the Surgeon’s Loop stands out due to its efficiency and practicality. Its primary use is to form a “Loop to Loop” connection, allowing two loops to be hooked into each other, similar to the way two elastic bands interconnect. Additionally, when tied on an artificial lure or fly, the Surgeon’s Loop allows for a natural range of movement, contributing to more effective and realistic presentations in the water.

Although the Surgeon’s Loop might appear simple at first glance, its strength and durability make it an essential asset in every angler’s repertoire. By mastering this easy-to-learn knot, beginners and experienced fishermen alike can enhance their fishing experience and improve their chances of success on the water.

Surgeon’s Loop Fundamentals

Components and Strength

The Surgeon’s Loop, also known as the Double Loop, Surgeon’s End Loop, or Surgeon’s Knot Loop, is a versatile connecting knot that consists of an end of line loop and an overhand knot. Its simplicity and strength make it a popular choice among anglers for creating a loop-to-loop connection in fishing lines. To tie the knot, one must form a bight in the end of the line, creating an overhand knot, then pass the bight through the overhand knot a second time. Finally, the loop must be adjusted to achieve the desired size and tightened after lubrication with saliva or water source.

The Surgeon’s Loop retains its strength even when under tension, making it one of the most reliable knots in fishing. Although there are other knots, like the Perfection loop and Spider Hitch, that have similar strength and features, the Surgeon’s Loop is easier and faster to tie source.

Applications in Fishing

In the world of fishing, the Surgeon’s Loop boasts various applications, primarily for connecting the leader or tippet to the main fishing line. Its simple and strong design enables it to be tied easily, even in challenging and wet conditions. Besides, its ability to join two lines of different materials or diameters makes it an essential knot for any angler.

The Surgeon’s Loop is particularly popular for connecting a monofilament leader to a braided line, as well as attaching a fly to a tippet or backing source. Additionally, the knot provides a quick loop-to-loop connection when using different attachments, like swivels or clips. As a result, the Surgeon’s Loop is a frequently utilized tool for avid anglers who value efficiency, strength, and adaptability in their fishing knots.

Tying the Surgeon’s Loop

Double the tag end of the line. Make a single overhand knot in the double line.Double Surgeon's Loop 1
Hold the tag end and standing part of the line in your left hand and bring the loop around and insert through the overhand knot again.Double Surgeon's Loop 2
Hold the loop in your right hand. Hold the tag end and standing line in your left hand. Moisten the knot (don’t use saliva) and pull to tighten.Double Surgeon's Loop 3
Trim off the tag end.Double Surgeon's Loop 4

Step-by-Step Guide

The Surgeon’s Loop is an easy and effective knot for creating a loop at the end of a fishing line. To tie this knot, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the line and double it up to create a bight.
  2. Tie a loose overhand knot with the doubled line.
  3. Pass the loop end of the line through the knot again.
  4. Hold the tag end with the loop and tighten the knot by pulling. To get a tight pull, fishermen often moisten the line.
  5. Clip and trim any excess line.

For fly fishing, the Surgeon’s Loop can be used as a simple connection for leaders and tippets.

Common Mistakes

Avoid common mistakes when tying the Surgeon’s Loop:

  • Not doubling the line properly. Make sure to have a clear bight before tying the overhand knot.
  • Overtightening the knot before passing the loop end through again might prevent you from successfully completing the knot.
  • Not moistening the line before tightening. This could result in a weak knot or difficulty pulling the knot tight.


Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while tying the Surgeon’s Loop:

  • Practice makes perfect. This simple knot becomes easier to tie with experience, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time.
  • For a more reliable and stronger alternative to the Surgeon’s Loop, consider tying the Perfection Loop.
  • When using a double overhand knot to form the loop, always ensure that the end loop size meets your specific requirements before tightening completely.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently tie a Surgeon’s Loop.

Comparing Surgeon’s Loop with Other Knots

Dropper Loop and Double Line

The Surgeon’s Loop is a versatile and easy-to-tie knot, suitable for various fishing applications such as securing hooks, snaps, and swivels. While it can be used in monofilament and braided lines, it may appear bulkier in the latter. A popular alternative for fly fishing is the Dropper Loop, which allows the angler to attach multiple hooks and lures along the mainline. However, it has a more complex tying process, requiring practice to perfect.

Bimini Twist

The Bimini Twist is a strong knot, known for creating a double line that can provide added strength and reduce line chafe on guides. While it is considered stronger than the Surgeon’s Loop, it may be more challenging to learn and tie, especially for beginners. The Surgeon’s Loop offers a secure connection for those looking for a simpler and quicker knot to tie.

Spider Hitch

Similar to the Bimini Twist, the Spider Hitch is used to create a double line and shares similar strength properties. Despite being a bit more complex to tie, it is an effective alternative for anglers looking to connect their mainline to a leader. The Surgeon’s Loop, however, remains a popular option for those who favor simplicity and ease of tying over additional strength.

Loop-to-Loop Connection

A Loop-to-Loop connection, often used in fly fishing, allows for a quick and seamless connection between lines. The Surgeon’s Loop can be used in this type of connection due to its stability and straight loop shape, making it suitable for various fishing applications. The Perfection Loop is another option, offering a straighter connection and is easier for beginners to tie. While not as strong as the Surgeon’s Loop, it is still a reliable knot for various situations.

Tools and Accessories in Surgeon’s Loop Usage

Swivels, Sinkers, and Surf Fishing

When utilizing the surgeon’s loop knot for fishing, swivels and sinkers are essential accessories. Swivels help to prevent line twist and improve lure action, while sinkers add weight to the line, enabling it to be cast further into the surf. The surgeon’s loop, being a strong and simple knot, is perfect for attaching swivels and sinkers to your fishing line.


Fluorocarbon lines are favored by many anglers for their low visibility and enhanced sensitivity. When it comes to tying the surgeon’s loop on a fluorocarbon line, attention must be given to the doubled line and proper lubrication during the tightening process. This will ensure that the knot maintains its strength while remaining discreet underwater.

Overhand Knots

The foundation of the surgeon’s loop lies in the use of overhand knots. To create this knot, form a bight in the end of the line, then tie an overhand knot using the doubled line. Pass the bight through a second time, and adjust to create the desired loop size. Lubricate the knot and pull tight to complete the surgeon’s loop. This simple and reliable knot is an excellent choice for creating loops in fishing lines and leaders.


In fishing, leaders are essential for connecting the mainline to lures, hooks, or sinkers. The surgeon’s loop is a popular knot used to connect leaders to lines because of its simplicity, strength, and adaptability. With the ability to accommodate a wide range of line types and thicknesses, it is no wonder that the surgeon’s loop is a staple in many anglers’ toolbox.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I tie a surgeon’s loop knot?

To tie a surgeon’s loop knot, follow these steps:

  1. Start by doubling the line and forming a loop.
  2. Make an overhand knot with the doubled line.
  3. Pass the loop through the knot again.
  4. Pull both ends to tighten the knot.

Detailed instructions and illustrations can be found on 101Knots and Animated Knots by Grog.

What are the best uses for the surgeon’s loop?

The surgeon’s loop is primarily used in fishing to create a strong loop at the end of a line or leader. This loop can then be connected to other loops, such as those on swivels, lures, or hooks, by using a loop-to-loop connection. The surgeon’s loop is also used in making dropper loops for attaching weights or multiple hooks.

What are the advantages of the surgeon’s loop?

The surgeon’s loop is a simple and quick knot to tie, which can be advantageous in situations where speed is essential, such as when fishing. Additionally, the knot maintains a good level of strength even when joining lines of different materials or diameters.

Can the surgeon’s loop be used with braided fishing lines?

Yes, the surgeon’s loop can be used with braided fishing lines. However, it is important to remember that braided lines may require additional wraps or turns to ensure the knot remains secure due to the line’s slick texture.

How strong is the surgeon’s loop compared to other knots?

While the surgeon’s loop is strong and reliable, some other knots may provide higher strength levels depending on the application and materials being used. For example, the Bimini twist is considered stronger than the surgeon’s loop, and the perfection loop offers a straighter loop-to-standing line connection.

Does the surgeon’s loop maintain its integrity after being tightened and loosened?

Although the surgeon’s loop is known for its strength and simplicity, it is not considered a particularly easy knot to untie once it has been tightened. This means that repeated tightening and loosening may weaken the knot over time, potentially leading to a decrease in its overall structural integrity. In situations where a knot must be frequently untied and retied, other knot options may be more suitable.