How to Tie a Improved Clinch Knot: A 3 Step Guide

Improved Clinch Knot

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One of the first fishing knots I learned was the Improved Clinch Knot. Renowned in the United States and the United Kingdom, this knot is often used for fly, lure, hook, or swivel attachments to fishing lines. It’s a historical gem, initially dubbed the salmon knot due to its extra strength, enabling fly fishers to land big catch like a salmon.

It is an easy-to-tie knot, offering superb reliability for both fly and conventional fishing.

Let’s delve into how to tie this fantastic knot.

How To Tie An Improved Clinch Knot

Tying an improved clinch knot is straightforward. All you need is some tippet or fishing line and your hook, lure, swivel, or fly. Follow these steps:

how to tie an improved clinch knot

Step 1

Thread the tag end of the tippet line through the eye of your fly-tying hook. Hold the line at the eye with your thumb and use your fingers on your other hand to make 5-7 turns around the standing line with the tag end.

Step 2

After making the turns, guide the tag end through the front loop. This loop is located between the eye of the hook and the first turn. To create the non-improved clinch knot version, you can tighten the knot at this stage.

Step 3

To create the improved version, take the tag end and put it back through the large loop you just formed. This loop is located between the turns you made and the tag end. Wet the knot, then pull the tag end until the knot is tight. Ensure the line coils closely around the hook’s eye, then trim off the excess.

For a visual guide, check out this video on tying the improved clinch knot.


What distinguishes a clinch knot from an improved clinch knot?

The primary difference between these two knots lies in the number of turns. The clinch knot uses one turn around the line, while the improved clinch knot employs two turns, making it stronger and more secure.

Why does my improved clinch knot fail?

Common reasons for knot failure include improper tying or a line that’s too weak. Ensure you tie the knot correctly, use a strong enough line, and don’t over-tighten the knot.

Which knot is stronger, the Palomar or the improved clinch knot?

palomar knot

Typically, the Palomar knot is stronger due to its additional turn and less susceptibility to slippage. However, the improved clinch knot remains a reliable and strong knot for most applications.

Is the Orvis knot better than a clinch knot?

The Orvis knot, a variation of the clinch knot, is considered more reliable and easier to tie, thus making it a popular alternative among anglers.

How strong is the improved clinch knot?

The improved clinch knot is strong, offering an average knot strength of 84%. However, its strength varies depending on the type of line used.

What is the improved clinch knot used for?

How do you tie an improved clinch knot quickly?

This knot is excellent for attaching a hook, swivel, fly, or lure to a mono or fluoro line and is ideal for freshwater fly fishing and light saltwater fishing.


Mastering the improved clinch knot can significantly enhance your fly fishing experience. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, keep practicing, and soon, you’ll tie this knot with speed and ease.

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