How to Master the Surgeon’s Loop: A 3 Step Guide

surgeons loop

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The surgeon’s loop is an indispensable fly fishing knot. This quick and simple loop knot is perfect for connecting your leader to your fly line or even attaching a fly. A variation of the classic surgeon’s knot, the surgeon’s loop features a double overhand knot with a double line. Let’s dive right into how you can master this essential fly fishing knot.

Mastering the Surgeon’s Loop Knot

how to tie a surgeons loop

Step 1

Start by doubling the line at your leader’s end. To create a loop, take the end and bend it back towards the standing line.

Step 2

Next, pass the en d of the double line through the loop, wrapping it around one side of the loop twice. This step is where you form the double overhand knot.

Step 3

Finally, pass the line’s end out of the loop. Wet the knot and pull on the standing line to tighten it. Voila! You’ve just tied a surgeon’s loop knot. This knot’s simplicity and speed will make it one of your go-to knot options.


  • Control the loop size when creating the initial loop in Step 1 to ensure it’s fitting for your fishing needs.
  • When tying this knot to connect a fly to the end, aim for the smallest possible loop. Achieving this can be challenging, but the trick is to start with a small loop.

Now that we’ve covered the steps, here is a video for you to follow along and see the steps in real-time.

How Robust is a Surgeon’s Loop Knot?

The surgeon’s loop knot, when tied correctly, boasts impressive strength, measuring in at around 90% knot strength. Although no knot is 100% strong, a 90% knot strength is quite remarkable in the world of knots. But what does this mean for your fishing line? A 90% knot strength implies that the knot will break at 90% of your line’s lb test. If you’re using a 10lb line with a surgeon’s loop knot, the loop will break at 9lbs of pressure.

Tying a Double Surgeon’s Loop

The double surgeon’s loop and the surgeon’s loop are interchangeable terms. The key to remembering this is in the double overhand knot required to create it.

Tying a Triple Surgeon’s Loop

How do you tie a triple surgeon's loop

For a stronger knot when fishing for larger, powerful fish like bass, try a triple surgeon’s loop. Simply follow the steps outlined above and wrap the end in and around the loop three times instead of two.

Attaching a Hook to the Surgeon’s Loop

To connect a fly to your leader using this knot, add the fly before you double the line in Step 1. Make sure the loop is large enough to wrap the fly around twice but small enough so the loop doesn’t exceed the size of your fly. However, I recommend the Kreh non-slip loop knot for trout fishing or a perfection loop knot when fishing in saltwater.

What is a Surgeon’s Loop Good For?

What is a surgeon's loop good for?

This knot is perfect for creating a loop on your leader line, allowing you to join it to the welded loop on your fly fishing line with a loop-to-loop knot. It can also be used to attach a hook, lure, or fly. However, remember to control the loop size. The surgeon’s knot works well with braid, mono, and fluoro, but avoid using it to connect braid to mono or fluoro, as the braid may pull and bit into the mono/fluoro, potentially causing the fishing line to break.


Now, you’re a step closer to becoming an expert fly fisherman. Remember, the surgeon’s loop knot is an essential knot that’s quick, easy to tie, and incredibly versatile. So, go ahead, grab your fishing gear, and start practicing! Don’t forget to check out our series of fly fishing books for more helpful tips and tricks. Happy fishing!

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