5 Reasons Why I use the Uni-Knot for Trout Fishing

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Capt. Joel Dickey choosing the right fishing knot. Photo By: Louis Cahill

By Kent Klewein

Why use the Uni-knot?

There’s plenty of other fishing knots out there that have better knot strength than the Uni-Knot, but that shouldn’t be the only factor you look at when you’re choosing what knot to use on the water. Reliability, how quick and easy it is to tie, type of rig your fishing, and functionality should all be weighed into the equation when deciding on knot choice. The decision to employ the Uni-Knot for my personal fishing and guiding has made my life easier on the water because of its versatility and ease of tying.

5 Reasons Why I use the Uni-Knot for Trout Fishing

1. The Uni-Knot is quick and easy to tie with fine tippet and small flies, particularly in low light situations.

2. The Uni-Knot is very reliable, is rated at 90% strength, and won’t slip (fail) like the improved clinch knot will if it’s tightened down incorrectly.

3. I only need a small amount of tippet to tie the Uni-Knot. That lengthens the life of my leaders, cuts back on tippet usage, and saves me money in the long run.

4. The Uni-Knot allows me to quickly change out my lead fly in my tandem nymph rig and also saves me time untangling knots on the water since it can be loosened and re-tightened on the go.

5. The Uni-Knot serves other purposes other than tying your fly onto your leader. It also can be used to join two lines and used to secure your backing to the reel.

The Uni-Knot Can Save You Time Untangling Knots

Untangling knots is a subject that I know far too well being a full-time fly fishing guide. These days I can often spot a tangle in mid-air or by the way the leader lays out on the water. I’ve grown accustom to having clients look at me with a bewildered look when I tell them to stop casting and strip in. Moments later, when they get their fly rig in, the confused look leaves their faces and the question of why is answered. Using the Uni-Knot in my fishing rigs often allows me to untangle a knotted mess and get back to fishing much quicker than with other fishing knots because I don’t always have to retie the knot. I often can slide the knot open and take off my dropper. This often provides me the room necessary to quickly untangle the rest of my rig, slide the dropper back on, and get back to fishing. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but five minutes here and there over the course of full day adds up to significant time saved, and that means your flies will spend more time in the water in front of the fish.

Minimizing Tangles and Determining a Plan of Attack 

To limit tangles on the water fly anglers should always be looking for visual clues that point to possible tangles during their fly casting and presentations. Single fly rigs aren’t usually the problem. It’s most often the tandem nymph and dry dropper rigs that we use that really cause havoc for novice anglers. As soon as you notice something wrong with your rig you need to immediately stop casting and strip in your fly rig for inspection. The quicker you diagnose a problem with your rig fishing, the less damage and tangle you’ll create, dictating how fast you’ll be able to untangle and get back to fishing. When you do get a tangle, first decide whether you can untangle it easily or if it’s what I call an “Amputee Scenario”. If I’m fishing a tandem nymph rig I quickly determine if I need to just snip off the trailer fly or perform an amputee, which calls for breaking down and rebuilding the entire rig (taking off strike indicator, split-shot and flies).

Tying the Uni-Knot

Taking the time to learn how to tie the Uni-Knot and incorporating it into your trout fishing is highly recommended. I don’t strictly use the Uni-Knot in my trout fishing, but I generally always find a place for the knot somewhere in my rig that serves me well. For example, I may tie a non-slip loop knot or Davy Wotton knot to my lead and dropper flies, but I’ll still tie the tippet to the bend of my lead fly hook with a Uni-Knot. This way, I can limit the knots I have to tie on the water, and change out flies and untangle knots quickly.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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9 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why I use the Uni-Knot for Trout Fishing

  1. I used the Uni-Knot system for years – until I found a far superior set of replacements. I still use it, but only as a backing to fly line knot. The Double Davy knot is easier, faster, stronger, wastes even less tippet material, and leaves a smaller footprint when tying flies to tippet. The Infinity Tippet knot is my go to for tippet splicing – super fast, strong, and reliable tie that I find even better than the Blood or Surgeon’s knots.

      • You’re welcome. It is by far and away the best on-stream tippet knot I have ever seen. I saw as a Japanese rope knot and adapted it to tippet/leader splicing. It actually takes longer to unspool the tippet material than to tie the actual knot. Glad you gave it a try; I have been using it for two years now and it is as strong as it is reliable. I used to use a double-uni knot but found it failed too frequently. The Infinity knot is a true game changer.
        Good luck with it!

  2. I’ve been teaching the J knot for very serious line to line splicing for years, including fluoro to braid, or fluoro to fluoro which is hard to cinch down. There was a knot contest some years ago and it destroyed all the other line to line knots. I still also use the double uni which is very easy to tie quickly, but prefer the j on larger species.


  3. Aside from the 5 aforementioned reasons for using the Un knot, I suffer from arthritis and I’ve been tying this knot for over twenty years. When I’m coaching folks new to this beautiful sport, the uni knot is taught and practiced right at the beginning.

  4. I get irritated whenever I read of the glories of this or that knot or fly that popularized (stolen) by some outdoor writer without credit being given to the original inventor.
    To: frank@fishandfly.com
    On 10/14/2010 4:06 PM, norman duncan wrote: Frank: I appreciate the recognition in your latest posting:
    “It is interesting how someone takes a standard knot and does something different to the tag end and calls it a new name. Some don’t even bother to make a change and just renames the knot.
    1. The Uni knot is the Duncan Loop with no changes.”
    You will see my forum contributions under “nedun”, thanks for the feedback. If you come to Miami lets go fish’n. Norman

  5. I replaced uni-knot with trilene-knot several years ago, gain in breaking strength is significant. Speed of tying is a relative thing, after hundreds or thousands of repeats, hard to tell the difference in speed. Fluoro to 6X and mono to 8X.

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