How to Tie a Needle Knot for Fishing

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The Needle Knot is used to connect your fly line to your leader. This is commonly done when you don’t want to use a loop-to-loop connection. You’ll need a needle to thread your leader line (using a needle) into your fly line, so it’s best to do this prior to reaching your fly fishing spot.

Needle Knot Tying Instructions

  1. Take a needle that is slightly wider than the butt end of the leader and push it into the center of the fly line to about 1/8th of an inch.
  2. Push the needle through the side of the fly line and hold it there so you can stretch the hole you made. Then remove it.
  3. Thread the small part of the leader into the hole and make it come out the other end of the fly line.
  4. Pull the leader through the hole completely, but make sure you leave at least 8 inches to tie the knot in.
  5. Lay a smaller needle on the fly line and wrap the leader at least five times around it and the needle working your way down the end of the line.
  6. Use the needle’s eye to insert the end of the leader under the wraps in the opposite direction. 
  7. Remove the needle and pull tight to tighten the knot. Cut the tag end to close it. 

It helps to know how to thread a needle to complete this knot.

Needle Knot Infographic

Needle Knot Infographic

Video Tutorial

YouTube video

Needle Knot Tips

  • You can thread the butt end of the leader into the hole at the end of your fly line, but experts say it’s simpler to insert the thin end of the leader into the exit hole of the needle instead. This can give you enough line to construct the knots with, and the time it takes to make it will be reduced too. 

Needle Knot Uses

needle knot fly fishing
A Needle Knot is best tied before hitting the streams. Source: Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing

This fishing knot can be used to join a leader to a fly fishing line. It employs a perfection loop that ensures a seamless transition on the line and allows the knot to flow through the guides easily. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

This knot can be painstaking to complete at first, but that is nothing that practice won’t fix. Plus, you will lose a bit of line each time you change your leaders. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use a Perfection Loop in the needle knot or not?

You can add a perfection loop, but you will sacrifice the seamless transition that the needle knot can otherwise give you.

How to tie a needle knot fly fishing?

Please use the mentioned step-by-step tutorial to tie the knot.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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