BlogJune 2016

Fishing Knot Tips: The Clinch is a Cinch

Fishing Knot Tips: The Clinch is a Cinch

By Andy Whitcomb

Jun 20, 2016

Learn four easy steps for tying the clinch fishing knot. For bass, or any fish for that matter, the improved clinch knot is a must. Includes tips for troubleshooting failed attempts at tying.

There are many kinds of fishing knots. Which type to tie depends on what you are connecting or the fishing line type. Frankly, unless you stay well practiced and tie every day, remembering what to tie and when can be a little overwhelming. The first knot I learned was simply called the “fishing knot.” I later learned that it is better known as the “improved clinch or cinch knot.

For bass fishing it is one of the strongest knots and works great with monofilament, fluorocarbon, or any of the superlines, (although some packaging may recommend the Palomar knot).  Best of all, it is simple. (I mean, if I can do it…) 

How to Tie a Clinch Knot in 4 Steps

  1. Pass the fishing line through the hook eye or lure connection point.
  2. Wrap the line with itself about 5 or 6 times.
  3. Take the tag end through the gap between the first wrap and the connection point.
  4. Then take the tag back through the loop you just created. Bam!
My teenager has known this knot since about age five but sometimes still asks, “does this look right?” and swings his lure to me for a quick inspection. Indeed, when done correctly, the knot has a distinctive “stacked” look to it. 

Here are a few reasons the clinch knot tying may fail:
  1. To complete the knot, “clinch” by pulling (carefully) on the lure and the main line. It will not clinch properly if you just pull against itself by putting pressure only on the main line and the tag end.
  2. Wetted fishing line helps things slide into place.
  3. For the thinner superlines, the loops can become tiny and difficult to thread through. One way around this is to spin the lure around your finger six times instead of wrapping each loop individually. With your finger still temporarily in the mix, you will be able to keep a larger gap for the first pass through too.
  4. Don’t rush. Retying often is done in the heat of the moment when you just lost a lure to a snag or a fish. Take a deep breath, slow down, and tie it right the first time.

Knots are critical to any successful fishing trip. Learn more about tying fishing knots.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.