How to Tie a Turle Knot

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If you plan on going fly fishing, you should be adept at tying a Turle Knot first. It’s a popular knot that is used by anglers to connect a hook or a fly to a leader for fly fishing.

Named after Major William Greer Turle, who popularized it, the special thing about this knot is that it allows the line to come out perpendicular to the hook shaft. Tying it is not difficult once you have enough practice.

Here is how you can tie a simple turle knot.

Tying the Turle Knot

turle knot
  1. Pass the tag end of the leader or the tippet through the hook eye.
  2. Create a loop at the back of the standing end by using your thumb and forefinger to hold it in place. Bring the tag end over the thumb and then pass it through the first loop.
  3. Wrap three times around the line and thread the tag end through the loop that is near your thumb.
  4. Tuck the knot in a way that it slides up to the standing end.
  5. Slide the hook over the knot, cut off the tag end, and then take the loop back over the hook.
  6. Pull the leader or the tippet to tighten the knot.
How to tie a Turle Knot
Three simple steps for a Turle Knot. Source: Henry Sullivan Thomas [Public domain]
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  • To make the knot stronger, make a double or improved turle knot with double loops. These boast 80% more knot strength than the simple variety.


  • The turle knot does not snug down the hook eye, thus allowing flies to swim better.
  • It can be used in both thick and thin lines without breaking.


  • If your fly has an eye that is larger than the leader, this knot will not work.
  • Not ideal for modern soft leaders. You can use the double turle knot for those, though.


  • Best for fly fishing.
  • Popular with anglers who fish for steelhead and salmon.


  • The Double Turle knot – The original turle knot was just a simple slip knot that was dropped overflies. This was sufficient for non-slippery lines in the past but proved inefficient for modern slippery lines. The double knot provides more knot strength since it uses two loops as opposed to the single loop that is used for the simple turle knot.
  • The Needle knot – One of the knots you can use besides the turle is the needle knot, especially if you want to tie a monofilament leader to the fly line.
  • Duncan loop – Use this loop to attach a fly to the tippet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to tie on a fly?

You can either use the turle knot that is mentioned in the guide or alternative knots.

What is the best knot for tying fly to tippet?

The clinch knot is one of the best knots for tying a fly to a tippet. Not only is it strong, but it is also really simple to tie.

How do I increase the strength of my fishing knots?

There are several ways you can do this. You can moisten the wraps or turns of the knot with saliva when you tighten them, and make sure that you tighten with firm and steady pressure to prevent slippage. Besides saliva, you can also use water. Whatever you decide to use, it will reduce friction as the knot tightens and prevent the line from sustaining damage.

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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