How to Tie a Surgeon’s Knot (Fishing Like a Pro)

surgeons knot fishing

Knowing how to tie a surgeon’s knot can be an extremely beneficial skill to have when you are out angling in rough waters.

If you are seeking to learn a knot that you can tie up quickly, is easy to remember, and offers unparallel strength you need to keep reading…

In this guide, we will teach you how to connect your fly fishing lines (tippet to leader or fly line to leader) using a surgeon’s knot.

Learn How to Tie a Surgeon’s Knot

Tying a Double Surgeon’s Knot

When it comes to tying your main fishing line to your leader, the double surgeon’s knot is one of the easiest knots to tie.

It is because a surgeon’s knot has a very high strength when it comes to tying differing sizes of leaders.

To tie the surgeon’s knot you will need to tie two overhand knots and then pull the length of the leader through the loop.

We have broken down the technique into four easy and swift steps.

  1. Place the two lines parallel, in this case, the leader and the main line. They should overlap by a considerable length (you do not need to use the entire leader or tippet).
  2. Now make an overhand knot by passing the tag end of your main fishing line and the long end of the leader through the loop.
  3. Now make another overhand knot by passing the same ends through the loop a second time.
  4. You should wet the knot and carefully pull on all four ends using your left hand and right hand, to ensure strength. Trim the extended ends.

Additional tip: Instead of trimming the tag ends, you can use them to attach a fly as a dropper rig.

Moreover, the tag ends can catch vegetation such as weeds and keep them from falling onto your lure.

Make sure that you have properly tied the two ends, you can do this by pulling the ends slowly.

You can also tie a triple surgeon’s knot by running the tag around the loop a third time.

This method provides even more strength because of increased friction between the two pieces of the line.

Why You Should Use The Surgeon’s Knot

You can tie any two lines with this technique since it can provide the same strength for lines with equal or unequal diameters.

It is also the easiest knot to tie, not far from the popular taut-line hitch, bowline, and square knot.

Moreover, it provides up to 100 percent strength functions as if it were a continuous line.

Things To Keep In Mind About Surgeons Knot

The surgeon’s knot has won hearts in the angling community due to its strength, ease, and speed.

There are other knots but they can be only used for tying moderately unequal size of lines and they are not as fast or easy to form as the surgeon’s knot.

However, there are certain things you should keep in mind.

When tying a surgeon’s knot you can make the mistake of rolling over the two pieces into the shape of an 8.

This occurs right before you start to tighten the knot and can drastically reduce its strength.

Although this technique is known as a 100% knot, it is only true when the following two conditions are met:

  • While forming the knot, the strands do not cut across each other
  • The lines used have similar line diameters

When there is a variation in the sizes of the lines, the surgeon’s knot does not provide 100% strength, and the integrity is compromised.

Apart from these factors, the surgeon’s knot is the most secure technique and performs way better than the blood knot and square knot( also known as a reef knot).

Tying A Braided Line With Mono/Fluoro Using Surgeon’s Knot

Having the highest coefficient of friction, the monofilament line has a tendency to clutch on itself.

This makes it excellent for tying a surgeon’s knot when the lines are of the same size.

The fluorocarbon line also behaves in a similar fashion.

However, you might never have to form a fluoro to fluoro knot.

You will be mostly tying the fluorocarbon leader onto the braid or mono line, with different diameters.

Therefore, using a surgeon’s knot will be your best bet.

Although braided lines are known to be very smooth, they can be connected with other lines by forming a quadruple surgeon’s knot.

Adding two more loops will provide extra strength and keep the knot from failing.

When Does a Surgeon’s Knot Fail?

The surgeon’s knot incorporates the same technique as forming a double overhand knot, making it extremely difficult to untie.

This is why it is used in the most robust fishing scenarios such as fly fishing.

It not only keeps the two ends connected but feels like you are using a single, one-piece line.

However, it can still fail and cause you to lose your prized catch.

In most cases of failure, the lines used are damaged or frayed.

So you should always inspect your tippet, leader, and main line for any sign of abrasion or damage.

Another common reason for failure is not wetting the knot loop before pulling the ends.

Wetting allows the line to slide comfortably and form a tight knot.

Other reasons include the strands cutting across themselves during cinching and using radically different line sizes.


This particular knot-forming technique takes into account the diameter of both lines, the strength of the connection, and the ease of making it.

Moreover, keep in mind the limitation of this knot to have a seamless fishing session without any failures.

Next time you have to tie a surgeon’s knot, you can follow our four easy steps to form a quick, secure knot.

You can also watch this video tutorial to form this knot: