Improved Clinch Knot: Fishing Knot Tying Steps

The improved clinch fishing knot is an easy and reliable terminal knot to tie when attaching a hook, swivel, or fly to your leader line or tippet. Many anglers like to use this knot when light tackle fishing or freshwater fly fishing because it's best suited for lines up to 20-pound test.

If you're learning how to fish, don't let fishing knots intimidate you. Before you know it, you'll be tying a clinch knot faster than you can say, "its time to go fishing

5 Simple Steps for Tying a Clinch Knot (Improved)

Follow these five easy steps to learn how to tie a clinch knot. Keep in mind that this is the improved version, otherwise known as the improved clinch knot.
  1. Pass the tag end of your fishing line or leader line through the eye of the fishing hook. Make sure you have about 5 or 6 inches of length on the tag end.
  2. Wrap the tag end of the line around the standing end five or six times.
  3. Pass the tag end of the line through the first loop of line that is just above the eye of the hook. Then pass it through the last big loop that you just created.
  4. Moisten and pull tag end and standing end so that coiled line tightens up against the eye.
  5. Trim the tag end (if needed). That's all there is to it!

You might be wondering about the clinch knot vs the improved clinch knot, in other words, what the difference is between the two. The difference is that the improved clinch fishing knot includes the extra step of bringing the tag end of your line back through the loop before tightening.

Fly anglers who fish with medium to large flies often prefer the improved clinch knot when fly fishing due to the additional strength this variation provides. You may find that, when fishing with small dry flies and nymphs, many fly anglers prefer to stick with a standard clinch knot.

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.