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How to Tie Nail-less Nail Knot for Fly Fishing

The Nail less Nail knot is a useful knot for joining a thinner line to a thicker line or leader. In the case of fly fishing, this would nominally be backing line to mainline or fly line to leader.

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 1:

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 1:

Make about six to eight wraps with the mainline around the tubing or secondary line.

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 2:

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 2:

Bring the tag end back around to the top of the tubing or secondary line and run it along it until it reaches the beginning of the wraps. A wide loop is thus created beneath the tubing or secondary line.

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 3:

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 3:

Whilst holding both the standing part and tag end of the line with one hand, use the other to unwrap the initial wraps and wrap over the tag end of the line.

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 4:

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 4:

After completing the wraps pull the standing part of the line to close the knot.

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 5:

Nail-less Nail Knot Step 5:

Close the knot firmly and trim the tag to complete it.

Knots Description

How to Tie Nail-less Nail Knot for Fly Fishing

The Nail less Nail knot is a useful knot for joining a thinner line to a thicker line or leader. In the case of fly fishing, this would nominally be backing line to mainline or fly line to leader. The nail less knot is simply the very useful Nail Knot with Tube, tied without the tube. It is therefore much more convenient to master and has all the excellent benefits of the nail knot.
I have included in the general fishing section simply because most fisherman don't know of its existence and benefits. Its uses are just as handy in monofilament as in its uses in fly fishing.
Every fly fisherman should learn this knot as there is no better for joining monofilament to fly line.





Applications for Fishing


Line Classes: Light to Medium
Line types: Monofilaments, super lines, fly line, cordage.
Retained Breaking Strength: 90% to 95%
Application: Joining two lines vary in diameter size and composition.









Fishes live in the sea, as man do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.



There are basic rules that apply to the tying of all knots in nylon monofilament, copolymer and cofilament lines. These rules apply in differing degrees to most of the knots, splices and hitches formed in multi-strand materials, such as Dacron, Micron, braided nylon and wire or cable leaders.
Knowing and adhering to these rules will reduce the incidence of knot failure in your fishing endeavours.
RULE 1: Be thoroughly familiar with all the knots you tie and continually practice the tying of those knots.
RULE 2: Always lubricate knots before tightening them, either with saliva, water or another similar lubricant. Knots tied in nylon monofilament, copolymer and cofilament lines are highly susceptible to heat friction.
RULE 3: When tightening the knot, do so gently but firmly. Do not draw the knot quickly as this can generate heat damaging the line. Give a few test pulls on the newly tied knot.
RULE 4: If you are not happy with a knot, always re-tie it until you are satisfied. Remember that a knot is effectively the weakest link between you and the fish and the stronger and better tied it is, the more chance you have of catching fish.


Tags should be trimmed to an appropriate length and trimmed with a pair of clippers or a knife as opposed to teeth.  


Knots fail for a number of reasons. Slippage is the most common and is usually due to insufficient wraps in the knot or trimming the tag end too short. Slippage is also a major factor in the second common cause of knot failure – heat damage due to friction. Insufficiently tightened knots often fail when sudden pressure is applied to them, such as the strike of a fish.
Lastly, knots can also fail when one strand of line cuts another. This is most common when lighter lines are joined to heavier, thicker lines. In knots where one line cuts across another, such as in the Overhand knot, the strength of the knot is reduced by as much as 50%. In all knot tying the aim should be to reduce the chance of failure and retain as much line strength as possible.


Knots in light lines, or lines under 3kg, pose unique problems. Small errors in technique will cost you more when tying these knots as opposed to in heavier line. Extra care should be taken with light line knots and any knot modification or improvement should be utilised. Using an extra wrap or two in a specific knot is a good idea in light line. Doubling the line is also recommended to strengthen the knot. Always leave a sizable tag end when tying a light line knot.  


Heavy line knots have their own associated problems. Most problems are related to the physical difficulties of twisting or wrapping thick line. Knots on line between 25 and 100 kilos can be tied, but need modifications. Firstly, twists and wraps in knots need to be reduced. Heavy line knots also need to be tightened with care and up to 50% of the lines breaking strain in pressure needs to be applied. Pulling the tag end of the line is also advisable. Finally, melting the tag end to a stopping blob using a flame is worth doing, whilst taking care no to damage the main line. 


Most experienced knot tiers use their hands, fingers, mouths and even feet to tie knots. Mastering knots will invariably require you to use your limbs in a dexterous manner for the best results. Developing your own personalized style will serve you well. 


It must be remembered that line offcuts are a marine hazard and stay in aquatic ecosystems for a long time posing a series of threats. Line offcuts should always be collected and disposed of or recycled. There is no excuse for tossing away used or broken fishing line. 


Terminal tackle is the name given to all fishing essentials such as hooks, swivels, sinkers, floats, rings, lures and flies. Basically anything attached to lines to catch fish. Knots joining terminal to line are the most important an angler needs to master. Anglers should become proficient in at least three knots for attaching line to terminal that suit their particular style of fishing. 


Knots for joining line are mostly useful when assembling leaders, particularly tapered leaders. They are often used when a tangle needs to be removed from the middle of a line or when an additional line needs to be added to existing line. 


Andrew Galwey is the publisher of Australia’s most successful trailer boating publication, Trailerboat Fisherman and Australian Boating, dedicated to the cruiser enthusiast. He developed the Internet site www.marinews.com back in 1996 as window to pass on some of his skills. Fishing, boating and the art of knot tying are certainly skills he’s mastered well.
As a fishing enthusiast, fishing both commercially and recreationally, Andy developed a fascination and skill for the art of knot tying. His 40 years of both working the land and boating has seen those knot tying skills extended way beyond fishing knots and into the world of rope knots as well.
Marinews would like to thank Andy for his support and hope you not only learn from this excellent section on knot tying but also get many hours of enjoyment from it also.

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