How to Tie an Arbor Knot: A 5 Step Guide

arbor knot

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As a seasoned fly fisherman, I can comfortably assert that the Arbor knot is one of the most efficient fishing knots to secure your fishing line onto a fishing reel. This knot is simple to tie, quick to execute, and it securely fastens braided fishing lines, monofilament, or fluorocarbon to any type of fishing reel. This includes spinning reels and fly reels.

The Arbor knot is favored for attaching a fishing line onto a reel spool due to its non-slip properties and superior s trength. Whether I’m chasing a trout or a salmon, I always use an Arbor knot to connect my backing to my fly reel. Let’s delve into how to tie an Arbor knot.

How To Tie An Arbor Knot

how to tie an arbor knot

Step 1

Wrap the fishing line around the spool of your fly or spinning reel at least once. I recommend wrapping it around two or three times for added strength and to ensure it doesn’t slip. If you’re using braid on a spinning reel, wrapping it around the spool multiple times is a must.

Step 2

Loop the tag end of the fishing line under the main line, over the top, and around, forming an overhand knot around the main line.

Step 3

Thread the tag end through the formed loop and pull it tight, completing the overhand knot. At this point, you should have an overhand knot tied neatly around the main line.

arbor knot

Step 4

Take the tag end and tie an overhand knot in it alone, pulling it tight. This knot is crucial as it stops the tag end from slipping through.

Step 5

Pull the main line so that the first knot meets the second around the spool, completing the Arbor knot. The result should be a non-slip knot that grips the spool with enough friction, allowing you to wind your line onto the reel smoothly.

Tips for Tying an Arbor Knot

  • When tying the Arbor knot with braided line onto a spinning reel, ensure it features a braid-ready spool; otherwise, there won’t be enough friction, causing it to slip.
  • If your spool isn’t braid-ready, wrap some electrical tape around it neatly. This will create enough friction to hold the braided line in place.
  • In the first step, wrapping your line around the spool at least two times enhances the knot’s performance.
  • Here’s a handy video to guide you through tying the Arbor knot.

FAQs About the Arbor Knot

How strong is an Arbor knot?

The Arbor knot is incredibly strong, retaining 100% of the breaking strain of the fishing line you’re using. Whether it’s braid, monofilament, or fluorocarbon line, if you’re using a 10 lb fishing line, the Arbor knot will withstand 10 lbs of pressure.

What is the Arbor knot used for?

The Arbor knot is primarily used for tying lines to the spools of fishing reels. It’s favored for this task due to its simplicity, speed, strength, and non-slip properties.

How do you tie an Arbor knot on a baitcaster?

The process is the same whether you’re using a baitcaster reel or a spinning reel. The Arbor knot works well with all reel types and fishing lines.

Can you tie braid directly to the spool?

Yes, you can, provided the spool is braid-ready, meaning it has grooves for the braid to catch and not slip. If your spool doesn’t have these grooves, you can either wrap electrical tape around it or add some mono first, then tie the mono to your braid with a double uni knot or FG knot.

What is the best knot to tie line on a reel?

What’s the best knot to tie line on a reel?

In my extensive experience, the Arbor knot is the best for tying line on a reel. It’s fast, simple, strong, and it doesn’t slip, making winding your fishing line on the reel a breeze.


In conclusion, learning how to tie an Arbor Knot is a must-have skill for any fly fisherman. It’s simplicity, strength and non-slip properties make it the ideal knot for attaching your fishing line onto your reel. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, take some time to master this essential knot and enhance your fly fishing experience.

If you found this guide helpful and you’re interested in learning more about the art of fly fishing, download our series of fly fishing books below. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge, tips, tricks, and insights that will take your fly fishing game to the next level. Happy fishing!

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