Deciding what fishing knot to learn can be a little overwhelming with all the hundreds there are to choose from. Especially if you’re a beginner or just thinking about going on your first fishing trip.
So what is a simple fishing knot for beginners? The Davy Knot (and Double Davy Knot), created by Davy Wotton, is one of the easiest fishing knots to learn and use for beginners and pros alike. It’s fast and easy to tie, holds well, and works well in most situations.
Now there’s the single Davy Knot and the Double Davy Knot. And although very similar (in fact the Double Davy is just the single with one additional twist), you’ll want to know when it’s appropriate to use one over the other as well as a couple of things to watch out for in order to make sure it’s tied correctly!
How to tie the Davy Knot
I was really excited when I discovered the Davy Knot how simple and fast it is to tie – it’s so versatile I use it almost exclusively. It’s easy to tie with clumsy or cold fingers. You can also tie it using forceps or plunger style hackle pliers.
- Start by threading a few inches of fishing line through the eye of the hook
- Form a loose half hitch knot
- Bring the end of the line back over itself and through the loop going back towards the hook making sure to pass between the overhand knot and the hook
- Carefully tighten your knot keeping the tail end at the top of the eye of the hook and pointed out at 90 degrees to the running line. A little bit of spit or lake water will help to lubricate so the line slides easier
What you end up with is a very strong modified figure eight knot. Here’s a video demonstration to help clarify:
If your knot slips, it’s likely the tag end wasn’t locked in at the necessary 90 degrees. Try again keeping it twisted back up away from the hook making sure it locks in correctly.
Also, if you aren’t giving both ends even tension when you’re tightening the knot, you might end up with a little loop sticking out which can weaken the knot. All you need to do to fix this is simply tug on the very end to pull the loop tight, then snug the knot.
Some benefits to using the Davy Knot:
- Doesn’t waste a lot of line – in fact with a little practice you’ll find you won’t even need to clip the tag end after you tie it.
- The small profile doesn’t affect the movement of flies and lures and also is less visible to fish
- It’s efficient to tie which means more time fishing and less time struggling with knots
The Davy Knot is really small and works great for tying on flies. But it’s so versatile it’s also good for plain bait and treble hooks, as well as lures like spoons and spinners. In fact, knowing this knot makes swapping out lures quick and easy when you’re trying to gauge what the fish are currently biting on.
I’ve found that the bites often come in surges and lulls on a lake or reservoir as the fish are schooling around. And once I catch one, the faster I can release it and get my line back in the water the better chance I have of catching another during that surge. Having this quick-to-tie knot in my arsenal helps me accomplish just that.
As great and versatile as the regular Davy Knot is, there are some times when I use it’s beefed up version – the Double Davy Knot.
When is it appropriate to use the Improved or Double Davy Knot over the regular Davy Knot?
One of my favorite fishing setups is the drop rig. This is where I first run a slow sinking float over my main braided line, add a bead and tie it to a swivel. That is then attached to about 18 inches of a very small (2 or 4 lb.) fluorocarbon leader – which is attached to the hook.
The braided line, though very strong for it’s size, is very slippery and the regular Davy Knot tends to slip on me. That’s why I use the Double Davy Knot anytime I’m tying braided line to swivels or lures.
I also recommend using the Double Davy Knot when tying to larger gauge hooks and lures where the larger sized knot will have less of an impact on the movement and visibility of the lure.
Why use the regular Davy Knot over the Double Davy Knot?
Although the Double Davy Knot is stronger, less likely to slip, and doesn’t take all that much longer to tie, there are times when the regular Davy Knot would be preferred.
For one – it’s smaller profile makes it less visible. Especially when using it on really small hooks and flies.
The regular Davy Knot also doesn’t impact the movement of lures as much as a larger knot would.
For the most part, I use the regular Davy Knot as my go-to making the Double Davy Knot the exception rather than the rule.
How to tie the Improved / Double Davy Knot
- Start by tying the regular Davy Knot
- Now simply add one more loop back over the running line
- Tighten the knot the same way you do the Davy Knot – ensuring the tag end rests above the hook and sticks out at 90 degrees to the running line
Here’s a video demonstrating how to tie the Double Davy Knot:
Though the video demonstrates wrapping the last loop around the running end, it can actually be tied one of two ways. If it’s more comfortable for you, the knot works just as well if you wrapped the last loop around the tag end too. So use whichever comes most natural for you.
What are some other easy fishing knots? Some other easy fishing knots to learn include:
- Palomar knot – arguably the most popular fishing knot taught
- Rapala knot for attaching your fishing line to lures and
- Surgeon’s knot for connecting two different thickness lines to one another
What is the strongest knot for fishing? The strongest knots for tying line to lures according to tests done by Field and Stream include:
- Trilene Knot when using monofilament
- Nonslip Loop Knot when using fluorocarbon and the
- Berkley Braid Knot when using superline