Keep practicing, and meanwhile, these four basic fishing knots are quick and easy to tie, and will come in handy for all sorts of fishing ranging from trolling tubes for cobia, to jigging for summer stripers, and everything in-between.

Improved Clinch (Fisherman's Knot)

I’ve been tying this first knot since I was 10 years old. Most of us call it a Fisherman’s knot, but it is actually called the Improved Clinch knot. It’s very strong and is good for connecting terminal tackle or lures to the monofilament.

how to tie fishermans knot
Start the improved clinch knot by passing the end of the line through the eye, then make five to six twists.
improved clinch knot diagram
Pass the tag end through the space between the twists and the eye, then pass it back through the loop you just made.
fisherman's knot diagram
To complete the fisherman's knot, pull the tag end tight and then trim off any excess.

Palomar Knot

The second critical fishing knot, and the one I use most to tie my baits on, is the Palomar knot. This is in my opinion the fastest knot there is to tie a lure onto your line or leader and it works very well with braid. I often watch other anglers struggle with their knot tying and wonder what the heck is going on. Use this knot and you’re back to casting in no time.

how to tie palomar knot
Start the palomar fishing knot by doubling the line, and passing it through the eye.
tying a palomar knot
Then tie an overhand knot in the fishing line.
palomar knot diagram
Next, pass the loop over the fishing hook, lure, swivel, or whatever you're attaching.
tying a palomar knot in fishing line
Finally, pull the Palomar knot tight, and then trim off any excess line.

Rapala Knot (Loop Knot)

If I need a loop knot to give a jig more action, I will use a Rapala knot. What you are essentially doing is simply moving the eyelet of your hook or lures up the line a half-inch or so, then you’re tying an improved clinch knot. This is a form of a "loop knot," though it's certainly not the only type of loop knot.

tying a rapala knot
First tie a loose overhand knot in the fishing line, then pass the end of the line through the eye and bring it back through the overhand knot.
diagram of rapala knot
Make five twists in the line, then come back through the overhand knot again.
how to tie a rapala knot
Pull the Rapala knot tight, and trim off any excess. Now, your hook or lure is swinging freely inside a loop at the end of your line.

Double Uni or Uni-to-Uni Knot

When I need to attach my leader to my braid I prefer to use a Double Uni knot (also called a Uni-to-Uni). This consists of tying two Uni knots, and pulling them together. Yeah, I know there’s the FG knot and the Blood knot and others, but I find this one faster and easier to tie.

uni knot diagram
To get the uni knot started lay (or hold) the two lines net to each other, and form loops in the ends.
uni to uni knot
Now tie a uni knot by taking the tag end of one and wrapping it around both lines five to seven times. Then do the same with the other tag end, creating a second uni knot.
how to tie a uni-to-uni knot
Pull the tag ends of each uni knot snug.
complete uni to uni knot
Then grab either line and pull. The two uni knots will slide down to each other until they meet, and snug up against one another. Then, you've got a secure double uni fishing knot.

There are plenty of other knots to use out there. I guess I could learn them all, but these four knots they are tried and true. I’ve found that there are no faster knots to use when I’m out kayaking, getting me back to casting and catching quickly.

-By Eric Packard