My new “One Knot”: Double-loop slip knot Tippet to fly = tippet to level line

On April 8, 2013
Comments (29)

After 2 decades of using an improved clinch to tie my fly to tippet, I decided to give a new knot a real try. This knot was taught to me by Dr. Ishigaki a couple of years ago, but being so used to tying the improved clinch it was difficult to change. Then, while doing some instructional filming for an upcoming DVD and trying to find ways to simplify tenkara instructions , I was inspired to use this knot. It seems to be a slight variation of the Scaffold Knot, with two loops rather than 3, I will call it a “double-loop slip knot”. It is the exact same knot as tippet to level line, and very similar to the level line to rod tip knot. It is very quick to tie, and as I have found out it is a super strong knot. I have not yet lost a single fly to poor knots (that includes fishing with one fly and not replacing tippet at all for 2 1/2 days of fishing on a backpacking trip where I caught over 40 fish on it, and a subsequent trip with multiple 18-22″ fish).

If you’re looking into a new knot, or are new to fly-fishing and want a simpler set of knots, give this one a try. It has become my “one tenkara knot”.

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29 Responses to My new “One Knot”: Double-loop slip knot Tippet to fly = tippet to level line

  1. Daniel,
    Great video. I can see the advantage of using one knot for all your connections but I’m not really convinced. For one thing, in tenkara, you’ve got different diameters playing with each other that change the dynamics of different knot strengths. But for me, the more important thing is confidence. I can literally tie a clinch knot blindfolded. And I trust that knot 100% because I’ve been using it for 20 years for everything from tarpon to brook trout. Maybe it’s because it’s new to me but the clinch knot seems more intuitive and tactile whereas the knot you introduce in this video seems to take more visual effort. I don’t think I could tie that one in the dark. Could you speak to that and its relative strength compared to the clinch knot?

    • Jason,
      My experience with that knot has been terrific. In my experience (and I suppose Dr. Ishigaki’s too) the different diameters/knot strength are not an issue with this knot being used for both tippet to level line and tippet to fly connections.
      Like any knot it takes a little getting used to, I can now tie it as easily as I tied the improved clinch – though I’m not sure I can tie either with my eyes closed.
      AS for intuitive and tactile, I was really hoping it would be an intuitive knot, but am not sure if it really it. To me it felt pretty intuitive.
      The main reason for me switching was that I just stopped feeling 100% confident in the clinch. I felt confident in tying it, but I really was feeling that I was losing a few too many fish/flies to the knot. I can not speak to real strength comparisons because I do not have a way of testing it and don’t even know the real name for the knot, but it feels super strong. I’m hoping to hear from others about that.

  2. Tom Davis says:

    Interesting. I’ll give it a try starting tomorrow and see how it works for me.


  3. Adam says:

    Although knots are important, I am used to the ones I use. I like tippet rings, their weight is insignificant but they give the system a weak point to release. The line stays the same length. I enjoy their utility.

    I say Ten Colors for knots.

    I use two, the slip and the clinch. Slip for LL to Lillian, clinch for tippet ring and kebari. If I make a quick line in the field, I use a double surgeons, excellent different diameter 95% strength for line/tippet connection.

    These tutorials are awesome for new anglers.

    NO KNOT for Lillian.

    • Adam, indeed that was the main audience.
      Changing knots is a tough thing to suggest, too me too long to give this a try. The main reason was that I kept feeling like my knots were slipping. If one is good with knots, 10 colors for knots is a good way to go.

  4. Dale H. says:

    Good and simple and covers level line to tippet and fly to tippet. I like it. I just tried tying it and it is very easy. I too use an improved clinch knot, but am not against trying something new. Thanks!


  5. Daniel,
    Sorry, I misunderstood. My comment about the differing diameters was assuming you were actually tying the tippet to the level line. But now I see that this video is only showing how to tie the tippet to the fly but you use the same slip knot connection for tippet to line. I’m going to give this knot a try for the fly. It would be interesting to see a side by side strength test between this knot and the clinch knot but I doubt any of us tenkara anglers have access to such a sophisticated machine.

    BTW, does this knot have a name in Japan?

    • Jason,
      The knot is exactly the same, the only difference is that for the fly you tie the knot after passing through the eye of the fly.
      Give it a try and let me know what you think.
      No idea what it would be called in Japan. I’m sure there is a name, but I never asked for name of any knots since they tend to be relatively “universal”. I just learned the English name for this knot is the “scaffold knot”.

  6. David says:

    Starting last summer and over the winter I have refined a way of basically using one knot for rigging my entire fishing rig from lillian to fly. Well, it’s almost one knot, there is just a slight variation depending upon whether you want to tie a stop knot or a sliding loop knot. Basically it’s an easy way to tie a figure 8 knot but if you change direction with the tag end half way through it becomes a sliding loop knot rather than a figure 8 stopper knot.

    You tie a sliding loop over the standing part of the level line to connect the level line to the lillian. Having first tied two stopper knots in the tag end. One to keep the tag end from pulling through the overhand knot that slides and another stopper knot about 3 mm away on the tag end to make it easy to pull the loop off the lillian.

    On the tippet end of the level line you tie a stopper knot using the same basic steps. In the end of the tippet you tie a sliding loop knot, same as for tying the level line to the lillian. And use that to tie the tippet to the level line above the stopper knot. The only exception is you leave off the two tag end stop knots. You tie the same sliding loop knot to tie the fly onto the other end of the tippet. Only first you put the end of the tippet through the hook eye. So the fly just hangs on the line until you pull a bight of line with the fly back through the sliding loop. Then pull the loop tight on the standing part, then slide that to the hook eye. Tighten and cut off the tag end.

    Thus one basic motion or process to tie a knot works from one end to the other and it handles all three connections. No matter the size of tippet I’ve never had this knot pull out.

    Some folks have one fly. I have one knot. ; – )

  7. David says:

    Daniel, this method dawned on me after seeing and combining the information from these 2 sources.

    Bottom right corner knot to kebari. Tarpman, Brad Miller, on youtube ties a similar knot. He just calls it The best fishing knot. I’ve seen this knot in other places but have never heard a name for it.

    This video shows how to tie a stopper knot or the slip knot using the same basic steps or motion. Only changing direction at one point to change from figure 8 to slip knot. And it shows how to do it in a simple way.

    I keep two fingers sticking through the bights or loops to grab the tag end and pull it through. Starting with my fingers pointing up. That way I can mostly tie the knots by feel and not by sight. Works for me. otoh there are a lot of good knots to choose from.

  8. jason – I haven’t tested this one yet against the clinch knot but I can tell you that the clinch knot rates very low compared to other knots I’ve tested. The Orivs knot and the Davy knot are both stronger than the clinch knot – by far – in my personal tests. My Orvis knots beat my Davy knots by a slim (may less than statistical error) margin.

    I use the Orvis knot for both my fly and my level line connection – I guess I’ll have to test the Orvis against this knot.

  9. p.s. I should be clear above that I mean I use an Orvis knot for the level line to tippet connection (not level line to lilian). Figure 8 knot in level line/orvis knot in tippet around level line. Hopefully that clears it up….

  10. David says:

    Excellent video and I’ll try this instead of the uniknot I’m currently using. As for the name, I found this knot in “Anglers Knots in Gut and Nylon” by Stanley Barnes 1951. (p. 238) He called it a ’round turn hitch jam’ but gave it a lower breaking strength than the clinch (using gut). The link shows a copy of page 238 of the book.

    • David, many thanks for sharing this. That is indeed the knot, and the only illustration I have seen that is identical.
      I really wonder about strength, will see if I can do some rough testing today. I suspect my problem with the clinch may have been tying it quickly and not quite setting it every single time, doesn’t seem to happen with this one.

  11. I did a preliminary test against the Orvis knot- the orvis won everytime for me. I only did about 5 trials. I am concerned that I am not getting this knot quite right ruing the results- so I’d be interested in other folk’s results.

    What I do is tie a fly to each end of some tippet – use the different knots on each fly and pull the flies by the bend and see which knot wins.

    By the way the orvis knot handily beats the clinch knot in these trials too – and I tested it much more with those two knots. Also the Orvis knot is not very sensitive to tippet diameter vs. hook wire diameter as the clinch knot is.

    So – someone please test out the Orvis vs. this knot as a way to verify/nullify my results.

  12. David says:

    On youtube Flyspoke compared 6 knots. Clinch , Improved Clinch, Davy, Double Davy, Orvis and Uni knots. His conclusion was pretty much a tie between the Double Davy and the Orvis knot. But gave the blue ribbon to the Double Davy knot because it is easier to tie.

    A comparison of the Orvis, Double Davy and the double loop slip , aka round turn hitch jam knot would be interesting. I will have to give it a try.

  13. craig says:

    my two pennies is to still swear by the penny knot, developed by Roy Penny, for hunting fish under 3lb with 5x-7X tippet (I’d step it up if hunting larger fish with, say, 4X and 3X tippet).
    The penny knot basically turns into a figure eight knot, and the technique means it is entirely tactile, so yes you can do it in the dark, or while continuing to keep eyes on the fish as I was taught.

  14. David says:

    I played around with these knots through several trials. Overall I think I had to give the Orvis knot a slight edge during my initial testing.

    However, during some test any of the knots tested outperformed that other knot – sometimes. The difference seemed to be which knot was tied better. Or perhaps sometimes a knot was over stressed ( over tightened) during the tying and failed sooner than normal. The Orvis seemed to have gotten tied better a little more often than the other knots during initial test.

    However, that being said. Looking at the Orvis knot I think it is basically a Double Davy knot tied round the standing part of the line so it forms a loop that slides on the standing part of the line. The fujino knot, for lack of a better name, is an overhand knot forming a loop that slides on the standing part of the line. If I changed to tying the loop with an double over hand knot, just pass the tag in through one more time, it performed as well as the Orvis knot.

    I was not familiar with the Penny knot. It is a very interesting knot and I will have to try it out too. I found it interesting the that strongest knots were always the ones that basically had a sliding loop that tightens round the standing part of the line that is then slide up snug to the hook eye.

    All the knots seemed adequate if tied well. The choice seems to come down to which you find easiest and quickest to tie. For me one knot is just kind of a novelty idea. Knots are way to interesting to be limited to just one.

  15. Tim says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I have tried the “One Knot” that Dr. Ishigaki taught you. While using it with one fly, it works great! It has save me a great deal of time on the water; therefore, I’m a fan. However, I have experienced a few difficulties with the One Knot when attempting to merge East with West. I have used it with a Hopper/Dropper setup (Dry fly on top, Nymph fly on bottom. Both flies are tied with one unbroken tippet through the eye of each hook. While using the One Knot with a “Hopper Dropper” setup, I have found that after the fish hits the Hopper, it (the Hopper or Dry Fly) will start to come undone like a slipknot. I can loosen the Hopper, but unlike a slipknot, I can’t tighten it back up.

    Do you have any suggestions so that I can adapt the One Knot to use in the Hopper Dropper setup?

    Thank you,

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  18. jeff w says:

    A noob to both serious fishing and Tenkara, I fished for 3.5 hours today from my canoe, using the double loop slip knot for furled line>tippet>fly. You know how noobs can whip off a fly attached with a clinch. Well, I used the same fly the entire session and have it still. Northern pikeminnows from 6-11″ leapt to the hook. Most fun I’ve had for a bit.

    Great knot, thanks

  19. Mack says:

    Is this the same knot, Daniel? Tied using forceps…easier on the old eyes… Forceps Fishing Knot

    • Hey Mack, that looks good. It is a different knot than our suggested one (which is actually the fisherman’s knot now I know!). The one in the video should work just fine too, but would be a bit harder, in my opinion, when tying the tippet to the level line.

  20. […] Re: The Penny knot I've struggled with the co-polymer lines of any make I've tried vis a vis knots. But the' one knot' used in Tenkara has been good so far. I mention it only as I think it's good for those with poor sight. It's very tactile and you can create the two loops as big as you like to pass the end of the line through. Tenkara, simple fly fishing method from Japan, uses only a telescopic tenkara rod, tenkara line and … […]

  21. Beau Fabry says:

    Just to clarify, is the second loop to the left of the first (double overhand) or to the right (??)

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