Skip to Content

How to Tie the Fisherman’s Knot

As its name implies, the fisherman’s knot is ideal for fishing.

Anglers use it primarily to attach two separate lengths of fishing line together. You can use it with two lines of similar or differing diameter.

Although the fisherman’s knot can be used with strands of almost any diameter, including rope, it’s most effective on strings, twines, and other thin strands – hence, why it’s so popular with anglers.

Better yet, this knot is quick, simple, and easy to tie. It basically consists of two overhand knots, each tied on a separate length, combined together with a slight variation.

Here’s exactly how to tie the fisherman’s knot with step-by-step details.

How to Tie a Fisherman’s Knot

Rather than use fishing line, we’ll use something a little thicker in diameter to illustrate the right way to tie the fisherman’s knot.

Step 1

Fisherman's Knot 1

Tie a loose overhand knot at the end of one rope.

To do this, first form a loose loop and then pass the free end of the rope through the loop.

Don’t pull the knot tight like you normally would with an overhand knot.

Step 2

Fisherman's Knot 2

Pass the free end of the other length of rope through the loop you just created with the first overhand knot.

Repeat the first step with the free end of the second length of rope. This time tying the overhand knot around the first length of rope.

The first length of rope should pass through the loop created by the second knot (and vice versa).

Step 3

Fisherman's Knot 3

Slowly tighten both knots.

Pull the free ends of each rope in opposite directions to pull the two knots together until they touch.

When tying a fisherman’s knot with fishing line, adding a bit of salvia will help you keep the two overhand knots smooth while pulling them tight.

Step 4

Fisherman's Knot 4

Remember to pull the fisherman’s knot tight. You can then trim any excess of the ends.

Like most fishing knots, this one isn’t designed to be untied. Simply cut and discard the knot when done.

For a more in-depth tutorial on how to tie the Fisherman’s Knot, check out our video!

Tips on Tying the Fisherman’s Knot

The fisherman’s knot is high among the easiest fishing knots to tie.

In fact, it might just be the easiest fishing knot to learn since it’s basically no more than two overhand knots (itself an extremely simple knot) pulled together with two lines.

Just make sure to keep both loops loose until the knot is formed. Once formed, you can then simultaneously pull on each free end to tighten the knot.

If you’re tying this knot with fishing line, remember to clip the free ends (nail clippers work well) after the knot is pulled tight.

Best Uses for the Fisherman’s Knot

fisherman's knot

The primary use of the fisherman’s knot is to join two lengths of fishing line together.

Although this knot does work for connecting two lines of different diameters, it’s best used for connecting two lines of a similar size.

The fisherman’s knot does sometimes get a bad rap in the fishing community. Because the knot is so simple, it isn’t nearly as slip resistant as other fishing knots, especially when used with slippery monofilament line.

There are certainly more complex fishing knots out there that provide more holding strength when tying fishing two lines together.

That said, the sheer simplicity and ease of tying – even when your hands are wet and cold – make the fisherman’s knot one of my go-to fishing knots in most situations.

Need a little more holding strength? Make each of the two overhand knots with an extra turn to create the double fisherman’s knot.

Pros and Cons of the Fisherman’s Knot

The fisherman’s knot is one of my favorite fishing knots. But, like any know, it has its pros and cons depending on the situation.

Fisherman’s Knot Advantages

Here are the main benefits of the fisherman’s knot:

  • Simple – Simple and smooth, this knot is ideal for fishing due to its low profile.
  • Easy to Tie – You can tie this knot in seconds with cold, wet hands.
  • Beginner Friendly – There are better more specified fishing knots out there, but few are as beginner friendly as this one.

Fisherman’s Knot Disadvantages

Here is the main disadvantage of the fisherman’s knot:

  • Can Slip – This isn’t the strongest knot ever. It can slip. Strengthen it by doubling up the loops on each overhand knot.

History of the Fisherman’s Knot

The fisherman’s knot gets its name from the fact that it’s so easy and effective for use with thin line like fishing line.

This knot also goes by several other names such as the angler’s knot, halibut knot, and waterman’s knot.

Although it’s a different knot altogether, the fisherman’s knot is sometimes used to refer to the clinch knot (great for tying a fishing hook to fishing line) and less commonly the fisherman’s bend.

Variations of the Fisherman’s Knot

The main variations of the fisherman’s knot are the double fisherman’s knot and the triple fisherman’s knot.

The double fisherman’s knot is tied by creating two loops at each free end of the rope rather than one. In other words, you’re creating a double overhand knot on each end of the rope before pulling it tight.

The triple fisherman’s knot is created by adding yet another loop at each free end of the rope before pulling tight.

Both the double and triple fisherman’s knots can be used for fishing to add more holding strength to the fishing line.

But, because of the additional strength the extra loop on each end adds to the double fisherman’s knot, it’s also very common with rock climbers as well as in search and rescue situations.

Learn to Tie Other Fishing Knots!

The fisherman’s knot is one of my favorite survival knots to know for when SHTF.

Not only is it great for use in a survival fishing scenario, but it can be easily adapted for climbing, search and rescue, and many other applications.  

Want to learn to tie other fishing-specific survival knots?

Our guide to the best fishing knots breaks down exactly how to tie the 10+ best fishing knots for every situation in step-by-step detail.