The snell knot was a very popular knot back when a lot of hooks didn’t have an eye. In fact, it was and is one of the only fishing knots you can use to join your leader line to hooks without an eye.
Today the snell knot is one of the best fishing knots to use to create a multiple hook rig or to join your leader to circle hooks as it makes for a better hook up, and you’ll see why.
Learning to tie a snell knot isn’t as easy as other knots, so be warned it may take some practice to be able to do it quickly.
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How To Tie A Snell Knot
Take your leader line and thread it through the eye of the hook. Now take the tag end behind the hook and back through the eye of the hook again to create a loop and a double line along the shank of the hook.
Holding the double line on the hook shank, take the loop you have created and wrap it over the top on the hook and around the shank. Repeat wrapping the tang end so you make 6 or 7 turns.
To secure the snell knot, pull on the standing line only when tightening. As you slowly pull the standing line, you’ll see all your wraps tighten around the shank of the hook. You have now tied a snell knot.
Tips For Tying A Snell Knot
- When creating your loop with the leader line at the beginning, you need to make sure to create a loop that is large enough to wrap around the hook. This will make sure tying the knot is a lot more quick and simple.
- If you’re using the snell knot to tie a multiple hook rig to fish with, it should be made with a long tag end so that it allows you to add further hooks down the line. Be warned, this does make the snell knot harder to tie when you’re wrapping the loop over the double leader on the shank.
- Practice tying the snell knot and it’ll become simple and easy to tie and you’ll be tieing it in no time.
Here is a great YouTube video I found for you to watch that lays out the steps.
Why would you use a Snell knot?
You would use a snell knot for multiple fishing reasons but the main ones are when you need to tie your leader to a hook without an eye, or when using circle hooks.
Because the snell knot is secure on the shank of your hooks, it pulls straight as an arrow, which means you get a good hook set at all times when fishing.
Are Snell knots strong?
Yes, snell knots are super strong and provide close to 100% knot strength. This means if you’re fishing with a 25lb leader line, the snell knot provides 100% of that line’s strength and will break at 25lbs of pressure.
But, the snell knot should not be used when fishing for fish with sharp teeth as they will likely bite through the loop turns you made on the body of the hook.
What hooks can you use with a Snell knot?
You can use a snell knot to secure any hooks you like to your leader but it’s best tied with circles, octopus hooks, or hooks without an eye.
This is because the shape of these hooks combined with the nature of the snell knot means when you try to strike a fish, the hook is pulled straight and will penetrate into the corner of a fish’s mouth more efficiently.
What types of lines can you tie a Snell knot with?
If you follow the same steps laid out above, you can tie the snell knot with any type of line including braid, monofilament, and fluorocarbon lines making it super versatile with a ton of uses.
If you’re looking to learn another knot, take a look at our full davy knot post here.
When would you use a Snell knot in fishing?
Snell knots are tied a lot when flipping and pitching for bass, bait fishing for catfish, when using drop shots or Texas and snapper rigs and there are even more uses. I personally use a snell when bottom fishing for snapper with a multiple hook rig.
You can even use the snell for fly fishing, but I would advise against it unless there is a large part of the hook exposed before the feathers start. Otherwise, you’ll end up wrapping your leader over your fly and it won’t look very appealing to fish.