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How to Tie a Snell Knot

The snell knot aligns fishing line and leader

September 21, 2007
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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.

Snell Knot Tying Steps

1. Thread the leader through the hook eye.
2. Form 6-inch loop below the shank.
3. Pinch the loop against the shank with one hand, then wrap the front “leg” of the loop tightly around the shank toward the hook bend, keeping the wraps tight against one another.
4. After making six wraps, pull on the standing part of the line to close the loop and tighten the wraps around the shank. Slide the wraps to the hook eye and finish tightening the knot by pulling on both strands. Trim the tag end.

Snell Knot
Thread the leader through the hook eye. Salt Water Sportsman
Snell Knot
Form a large loop (at least 6″) below the shank. Salt Water Sportsman
Snell Knot
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. Salt Water Sportsman
Snell Knot
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. Salt Water Sportsman
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