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How to Tie the Trilene Knot

The trilene knot is a multi-purpose fishing knot best known for its strength and reliability.

This powerful knot can be used to tie fluorocarbon and monofilament line to hooks, snaps, and swivels. It’s perhaps the most famous fishing knot to connect line to lures.

Although it’s not a so-called “100%” knot, the trilene knot does boast about 90% holding strength when tied correctly. It’s roughly on par with the even more popular palomar knot in terms of failure resistance.  

Unlike most fishing knots, this one is actually named after a fishing brand. Two anglers developed this knot alongside Trilene (Berkeley Tackle Company) for use with their monofilament line.

Here’s exactly how to tie the trilene knot for fishing.

How to Tie a Trilene Knot

This simple fishing knot is easy to tie by following the below instructions.

Step 1

Trilene Knot Step 1

Start by passing the tag end of the line through the eyelet once.

Step 2

Trilene Knot Step 2

Pass the tag end of the line through the eyelet a second time.

Step 3

Trilene Knot Step 3

Now, wrap the tag end of the line around the standing part of the line about five or six times.

Step 4

Trilene Knot Step 4

The tag end should now be passed through the original loop closest to the fishing hook’s eyelet.

Step 5

Trilene Knot

Pull the knot tight with an even, steady motion. Trim the tag end with nail clippers.

Tips on Tying the Trilene Knot

Most important to remember when forming this knot is to create two loops during the first two steps. The two loops are vital to properly tying this knot.

If you’re having trouble pulling the knot tight and smooth without it cinching, adding a bit of saliva can help (this is true for any knot tied with fishing line).

In addition, unlike most fishing knots, you want to leave a little bit on the tag end when you trim the line after pulling the knot tight. About ¼” will do the trick.

Finally, remember that the trilene knot works great with fluorocarbon and monofilament line but it should be avoided with braided line for the most part.

Best Uses for the Trilene Knot

Person Reeling in a Fish

The trilene knot is best used for angling, especially fly fishing.

It works seamlessly to attach fluorocarbon and monofilament line to hooks, lures, snaps, and swivels.

The trilene knot itself isn’t a necessity for every angler to learn.

However, every angler should know at least one – if not two or three – knots for tying line to an eyelet of terminal tackle.

The trilene knot is strong, reliable option for doing just this. The clinch knot and palomar knot are similar fishing knots that accomplish much the same thing with comparable holding strength.

Survivalists learning about survival fishing would also do well to learn the trilene knot or a similar alternative.

In a survival situation, the ability to provide your own food is a must. Fishing is one of the most reliable ways to do this. A working knowledge of the best fishing knots is imperative in this task.

Pros and Cons of the Trilene Knot

The trilene knot is a time-tested knot but it’s still worth taking a look at its pros and cons for angling.

Trilene Knot Advantages

Here are a few of the main benefits of the trilene knot:

  • Strong – This knot is notable for its strength. It holds at about 90% the breaking point of your fishing line.
  • Versatile – The trilene knot works just as well connecting a hook, lure, snap, or swivel to fluorocarbon or monofilament line.
  • Easy – This knot is quick and easy to tie.

Trilene Knot Disadvantages

Here is the main drawback of the trilene knot:

  • Not Compatible with Braided – The trilene knot doesn’t work with braided fishing line (the palomar knot is a great alternative for braided line).

History of the Trilene Knot

The trilene knot is unique in that it was originally developed by a fishing manufacturer.

Trilene (or Berkeley Tackle Company) is the mastermind behind the trilene knot. Naturally, it’s also where the knot derives its name.

Jimmy Houston and Ricky Green, two notable professional anglers, helped the company develop the knot back in the 1970s as part of promotional events.

The knot is specifically made for use with Berkeley Trilene monofilament fishing line, although it works with most fluorocarbon and monofilament line.  

Variations of the Trilene Knot

I’m unaware of any actual variations of the trilene knot, aside from wrapping the tag end around the working line more or less times than five or six during step 3.

That said, there are several useful alternatives to the trilene knot that accomplish much the same task (some even work with braided fishing line).

The clinch knot is the first among these. It’s typically used to attach a fly to a tippet. It’s a super quick and easy fly fishing knot to learn, although it’s markedly less strong than the trilene knot.

The improved clinch knot or double clinch knot adds a lot of extra strength and reliability to the standard clinch knot.

The palomar knot is perhaps my favorite alternative to the trilene knot.

In fact, I consider the palomar knot one of the very best fisherman’s knots thanks to its remarkable strength and its ability to be used with braided, fluorocarbon, and monofilament fishing line.

The uni knot is the final alternative I want to mention. It’s a multi-purpose knot that’s best used to attach monofilament line to terminal tackle. A slight variation, the double uni knot, is perfect for joining two fishing lines of similar or dissimilar diameters.

Some Other Great Fishing Knots to Learn

The trilene knot is far from the only great knot to learn for angling.

Check out our list of the best knots for fishing for more great suggestions plus links to step-by-step directions like this one.

We break down even more awesome knots, most perfectly suited for wilderness survival and disaster prepping, in our complete survival knots list.