How to Tie a Turle Knot

If you are learning how to fish with a fly rod, you may want to practice tying the Turle knot. This terminal knot is one of the most commonly used fly fishing knots for connecting a small hook or fly to a thin leader line or tippet.

Turle Knot for Fly Fishing

If you are learning how to fish with a fly rod, you may want to practice tying the Turle knot. Named after English angler Major William Greer Turle, the knot dates all the way back to the 1800's.

Salmon and steelhead anglers often prefer to use the Turle knot when attaching flies with up-eye hooks or down-eye hooks to tippet. The benefits of using this knot are the straight-line connection that is created from the hook or fly to the leader or tippet, and added fly movement since it's not a “snug to the eye” knot.

How to Tie a Turle Knot

The Turle knot is one of the best fishing knots to use when attaching flies with turned-down eyes or turned-up eyes to your tippet or leader. This fishing knot will give flies tied with these types of hooks realistic movement beneath the surface of the water because of the way the knot allows the leader to slightly pull away from the hook.

While the original Turle knot is tied with just one wrap of an overhand knot, the double Turle knot is a variation that is tied using two wraps of an overhand knot for additional strenght. 

You can learn how to tie this simple fly fishing knot in just six steps:

  1. Feed the tag end of your leader or tippet through the eye of your hook.
  2. Form a loop around the back of the standing end, pinching the line together with your thumb. Bring the tag end over your thumb, and then run it through the initial loop you created.
  3. Make two or three wraps around the standing line, and then pass the tag end back through the loop that is closest to your thumb.
  4. Snug the knot down, making sure it slides up and down the standing end.
  5. Slide the hook toward the knot, trim the tag end, and bring the loop over the back of the hook.
  6. Pull on the tippet or leader to snug the eye down tight against the eye of the hook.

Improved or Double Turle Knot

In addition to the original version, a double or improved Turle knot can be used if more knot strength is desired. What's the difference between the original knot and the improved knot? The improved or double Turle uses a double overhand knot instead of a single overhand knot. This extra reinforcement is particularly beneficial when using softer monofilament tippet because it is less likely to slip out.

When referring to Turle knot strength, some anglers prefer to tie the double Turle since it's a bit stronger and retains approximately 80% of its original line strength. Keep in mind that the Turle knot and double Turle are just two of the terminal fly fishing knots you can learn to tie.