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Basic Saltwater and Sea Fishing Knots for Beginners

Sea or saltwater fishing is a very different prospect from freshwater fishing in a great many ways

Sea or saltwater fishing is a very different prospect from freshwater fishing in a great many ways

Thinking About Taking up Sea Fishing?

It is important to know that there are more differences between sea or saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing than the type of fish which you are likely to catch. The rods and reels which are used are usually different, the end tackle (traces/rigs and weights) is different and it follows that very often the knots required to connect everything together are going to be different. It is vital, therefore, that prior to going sea or saltwater fishing for the first time, you have some understanding of the simplest knots you are likely to encounter.

Sea fishing is like any other sport or activity in that it is important to learn the ropes gradually and in stages. A beginner sea angler attempting to tie a bimini twist, for example, is similar in principle to a beginner climber determining to have a crack at scaling Mount Everest! The knots which you will hopefully learn to tie on this page are only the ones which you are likely to need for basic sea fishing, either from shore or from a boat. As your experience level develops, so too will your knowledge and knot repertoire.

Make sure you have a clear surface, with plenty of room, and that you only have to hand what you are likely to need on each occasion

Make sure you have a clear surface, with plenty of room, and that you only have to hand what you are likely to need on each occasion

Learn to Tie Sea Fishing Knots Properly at Home

Sea fishing rigs are like chains - they are only as strong as their weakest link. The links on your fishing outfit are comprised of rod, reel, line, knots, swivels, leads and essentially every part of tackle you employ. If your knots are not up to standard, the whole chain is compromised, leading very possibly to the loss of what would otherwise have been the fish of a lifetime.

It is important to learn to tie these knots in the first instance at home and in comfort. Clear a stable and spacious work area and have only that equipment which you are going to need close to hand. Avoid clutter and confined space. You will learn much more quickly if you adopt this approach than if you try to learn these knots on the deck of a rolling and pitching boat, or on a cold, wet and windy pier, the first time you actually go fishing. A top tip for tying fishing knots is to get yourself a pair of nail clippers for the job - this makes trimming off the end tags much easier and tidier than with a knife or even scissors.

The Tucked Half Blood Knot

The half blood knot, or tucked half blood knot, is an excellent first knot to learn with respect to sea fishing. It is used most commonly for tying line to hooks or swivels. Although not as strong as the grinner knot - which is in many ways a simple extension of the half blood - it is more than adequate for fishing with light tackle for smaller fish. If, for example, you are introducing a child to fishing from a pier for what are likely only to be modest-sized fish, the tucked half blood knot is perfect for the job.

The Grinner Knot

A grinner knot is also used for tying line to hooks and swivels, as well as for many other purposes, such as tying leaders on to mainline. It is considerably stronger than the tucked half blood and should be about as strong a knot as you will ever need for many sea fishing purposes. You will find this knot one of the most important and versatile you will ever learn as a sea fisherman and it is imperative that you take the time to learn how to tie it properly, fairly quickly and well.

Joining Shock Leader to Mainline

A shock leader is a vital safety aspect of sea fishing when you are casting. It basically takes the strain placed on the end tackle by the action of the rod and stops leads from flying off and presenting a danger to other people or property. The rule of thumb for shock leaders is that they should have a breaking strain of 10lb for every ounce of lead you are casting, subject to a 50lb minimum. Hence, if you are casting a 6oz lead, you should be using a minimum of 60lb leader but if you are casting a 4oz lead, the 50lb minimum is still required.

Tying Loops in the End of Line

Loops are used by sea fishermen for a number of purposes but the first use you are likely to encounter as a novice is for attaching a lead weight to the end of a trace. This is an extremely efficient and secure method of attaching a lead and also makes for ease of freeing the lead at the end of your session. A loop at either end of a paternoster rig also allows one end to be attached to the lead and the other to a snap swivel attached to the main line, for ease of changing traces at sea.

Different Sea Fishing Knots and Purposes

Knots when sea fishing are used to do a specific job. This means that over the years and particularly around the world, different knots have been created and developed to do the same job. If a friend of yours uses a different leader knot from the one you have learned, it doesn't mean that either of you is wrong - so long as both knots safely and efficiently do what is required at the time. As your sea fishing experience develops, you will learn which knot you prefer to do each job and the ones which you feel most comfortable tying. Remember that sea fishing is forever a learning experience and you should always be looking to improve on your knowledge and abilities, all in the name of the thrill of catching that big fish of a lifetime.

Thank you for visiting this basic guide to beginner knots for sea fishing. The information contained on this page will hopefully help you get started fishing and allow you to experience the many thrills of the sport firsthand, without blinding you with technical speak and jargon.

Any comments or feedback which you do have may be left in the space immediately below.


Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on August 03, 2011:

Thank you, K9!

I am glad for your experienced approval and hope that you have a wonderful summer of fishing. I am looking forward to my next trip.

Tight lines!


India Arnold from Northern, California on August 03, 2011:

Awesome fishing advice and super cool knots for ocean fishing! Just in time for summer ocean charters! I love the easy to follow tips and video's you offer. You have reached into my wheelhouse and found the fisherwoman within! Can't wait to toss a couple of these knots in the big blue sea!

Up, useful, interesting and awesome hub Gordon!



Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on August 02, 2011:

It would be my pleasure, Paradise7. I'm always ready to go fishing. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on August 01, 2011:

If I ever go fishing I'm taking your along!!