How to Tie a Needle Knot for Fishing

The needle knot is useful for tying a leader to a fly fishing line if you don’t like to use a loop to loop connections for fly fishing. This fishing knot is considered to be more reliable and streamlined than a nail knot. 

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Needle Knot Tying Instructions: Step by Step Guide

Needle Knot

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 3

Thread the small part of the leader into the hole and make it come out the other end of the fly line.

Step 4

Pull the leader through the hole completely, but make sure you leave at least 8 inches to tie the knot in.

Step 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.

Step 6

Use the needle’s eye to insert the end of the leader under the wraps in the opposite direction. 


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.

Video Tutorial

A short film showing how to tie a Needle Knot

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

Q: Should I use a perfection loop in the needle knot or not?

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

Q: How to tie a needle knot fly fishing?

A: Please use the mentioned step by step tutorial to tie the knot.

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom

Johanes Godoy

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Articles » Skills » Fishing Knots » How to Tie a Needle Knot for Fishing
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