How to Tie an Arbor Knot

Hey there fishing fans, it’s Debbie Hanson for So you’ve been learning a lot about fly fishing and you're excited to get out to a local lake or pond near you and catch up some bluegill or some bass on your fly rod. But what's the first thing you need to do when you've got a brand new fly reel? 

Well, you're going to have to tie your fly line backing onto your fly reel, and to do that you can use an arbor knot. It's actually a very easy knot to learn, it just basically requires two overhand knots and I'm going to show you how to do it right now. 

1. Take the tag end of your fly line or fly line backing, and you need to run that around the arbor of your reel and just make sure you bring it underneath the post on the bottom of the reel.

2. Tie your overhand knot and then you're going to tie a stopper knot in your tag end, and that's just one more overhand knot at the end. That’ll prevent your knot from slipping. 

3. Cinch that first knot up against the arbor, pull it tight so that stopper knot catches it and prevents it from slipping. You're going to trim off that tag end, and then you're going to start winding your fly line backing onto your reel.

That's it, that's all you have to do. Tight lines and happy fishing from 
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.