Tying knots is not rocket science, anyone can tie a knot. The trick is to find the right one for the right application. Some are stronger in one application than another and there is a right knot for every different application. That is why you need to know how to tie more than one.
The first knot you need to know is the one that allows you to tie the line to the reel. This is called the Arbor Knot. The center of the spool on your reel is called the arbor so that’s how it got its name.
You can use the arbor knot on a fly reel, a spinning reel, and a casting reel. You can tie it with monofilament fishing lines, fly lines, and nylon lines, but it will not work with super braid lines.
Step 1: Pass the line around the arbor.
Some terms you will need to know in order to continue are the “main line” and the “tag”. When you have the line around the arbor, the main line is the side that is connected to the rest of your line. The line on the other side of the arbor is called the tag.
Step 2: Take the tag end and tie an overhand knot (a slip knot) around the main line. To tie an overhand knot simply make a loop and take the tag end and tuck it under the other side of the loop once, closing the loop – left over right, just like when you’re tying your shoelace.
So now we have a knot that encompasses the main line. Tighten that knot.
Step 3: Tie a second overhand knot in the end of the tag line. Do not put the main line through this one. This knot keeps the first one from slipping and coming undone. Tighten the second overhand knot.
Step 4: This is where we will see the slipknot in action. Pull the main line to tighten the first overhand knot around the arbor. Keep pulling the main line once the first knot is at the arbor and you will see that the tag end will start to slip until the second overhand knot jams against the first one.
And there’s your application, the second knot slipped until it jammed against the first one at the arbor.
Step 5: Simply trim the tag end and you are ready to wind your line onto your reel.
I cannot over emphasize the importance of practice. Many years ago when I was learning a particular knot I would constantly forget that knot when it actually came to using it on the stream and I had to go back to my friend and repeatedly ask him how to tie that particular knot. He must have thought I was an idiot, but the reason for that was I never practiced. The only time I ever practiced was when I went on the water. So I would suggest using the back of a chair as an arbor or an eye for a hook and practicing some of those knots with a larger rope.
Make the Arbor Knot your own. Practice, practice, practice.