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September 21, 2007

Tying the Snell Knot

The snell knot aligns fishing line and leader

The snell knot was invented long ago when it was the only way to attach the fishing line to an eye-less hook, but many anglers still use it today. One benefit of the snell knot is that it aligns the fishing line or leader with the hook shank, resulting in a straight, solid set. Snelled hooks are often used when fishing natural baits for species such as striped bass and flounder, and fly anglers have long used the snell knot to attach tarpon streamers to heavy leaders. The snell knot is also useful for tying tandem-hook rigs: simply tie the trailing hook to a long tag end coming off the rear of the lead hook.


The Snell Knot

1. Thread the leader through the hook eye.


The Snell Knot

2. Form a large loop (at least 6") below the shank.


The Snell Knot

3. Pinch the loop against the shank with one hand. With your other hand, begin wrapping the front "leg" of the loop tightly around the shank, working toward the hook bend. Make sure each wrap is packed tightly against the one before it. Note: for the snell to be tied properly, the loop must pass around the hook bend and the tag end with each wrap. This will require the use of your middle fingers to keep the loop open when making the wraps.


The Snell Knot

4. After making six tight wraps, slowly pull on the standing part of the line. This will close the loop and tighten the wraps around the shank. Slide the wraps snug to the hook eye before tightening the knot completely. With heavy leaders, you may need pliers for this. Trim the tag end and you're done.