Arbor Knot and Overhand Knot

The Arbor Knot and Overhand Knot: Secure Your Hook

Knots are too often overlooked by novice or even advanced fisherman. Many stick to one they first learned and use that until the day they stop fishing. The issue with this is that all knots are not created equally.

Each one serves a distinct purpose, and it’s true that some are more universal than others.

However, you usually sacrifice strength and durability when using these multi-purpose knots, and when it comes to connecting line to your reel you don’t want to sacrifice anything.

So, below we talk about the best knot you can use to connect line to your hook.

This is the arbor knot; but first, we will go over the overhand knot, which will lead us into the arbor knot.

Background on the Overhand Knot

Overhand Knot

The overhand knot is the most fundamental and essential knot to know. It is the beginning of many different types and it is used in the polomar, non-slip loop, the J knot, and the looped overhand as well as many others.

The overhand knot ensures that the line does not slip through the second knot,  because the tighter you pull, the tighter it becomes.

It’s intended use is to prevent other knots from slipping down or breaking away. Be aware that the overhand is meant to be permanent. If you want to be able to untie it, make sure you do not cinch it down and ensure that it is allowed to remain loose.

How to Tie an Overhand Knot

The overhand is one of the easiest to tie, and this is how:

  1. Form a loop with the end of your line
  2. Take the end of your line and thread it through the loop
  3. Holding onto both ends of your line, pull tightly
  4. Trim extra line

Be careful when using the overhand knot on lighter line, such as two, four, or six-pound test. As mentioned, it becomes tighter the more it is pulled and could lead to your line snapping and lost fish.

Background on the Arbor Knot

Arbor Knot

Arbor knots are essentially two overhand knots on the same piece of line. If you think you’ll save time by tying one overhand knot then you would be mistaken.

The overhand knot closest to the reel is used as slipknot that tightens down onto the reel. The second overhand is then used to keep the original knot in place. Do not forget to tie the second overhand because this makes the line more secure.

It is commonly used to connect your fishing line to the arbor knot on your reel. This can be done on any type of reel including the spinning, casting, or fly reel.

This knot is strong enough that if you are using nice fly line and a fish spools you, then you’ll have the strength to make sure they don’t run off with that $50 line.

The arbor knot is easy to tie and very effective. Other knots will begin to slip when you attempt to connect them to your spool; which means you have to hold it down with your finger and slowly wind in until it begins to stick. As long as the arbor knot is tied correctly this will not happen.

The arbor is best used with fluorocarbon and monofilament line. It can be used with braided line, but only if the reel is “braid ready.”

This means to first tie monofilament backing to the reel with the arbor knot, then tie another arbor with the braid around the backing. That will allow the braid to go on smoothly and evenly.

How to Tie an Arbor Knot

  1. Take the end of the line and wrap it around the reel. Make sure it is tight and that the end of the line runs parallel with the rest of your free line.
  2. Create a 1-inch loop, hold the free end of the line, and then cross it over to form a loop at the end.
  3. Pull the free end of the line up and through the loop and continue to pull until it is a knot. There should now be a small knot at the end of your line.

Congratulations! You’ve now tied an overhand slipknot. Time to duplicate it.

  1. Cross the free end of the line; this is the portion with the knot on it over the main line. Then bring it under the main line so that it forms a loop. Make sure to hold the loop with your fingers.
  2. Now take the end of your line and cross it over the free line. Make sure the loop is still intact.
  3. Thread the end of the free line through the loop, then pull on the free end to tighten.
  4. You will pull on both the free line and mainline to tighten the knot. This will cause the main knot to slip down onto the reel while the small knot holds it in place
  5. Finally, all you have to do is trim off any excess line and then start winding up your line.


The biggest mistake with knot tying is using the clinch knot in every situation. Which, in my earlier years, I was completely guilty of doing the same.

The clinch is great for attaching line to hooks, swivels, and anything else with a loop. However, it causes slippage when attaching line to the arbor which can cause inefficient spooling. This improper spooling can lead to tangles, bird nesting, and potentially lost fish.

It’s worth it to take a few minutes to memorize how to tie these knots and connect your line properly. It could save you time and the frustration of having to untangle a mess while on the water, time that you should be spending catching fish.