The product recommendations on our site are independently chosen by our editors. When you click through our links, we may earn a commission. Thanks for helping us do what we love.

How to Tie a Slip Knot – Fishing Applications

A slip knot is a quick and handy knot for a variety of things like securing ropes to cleats, tying line to a fishing reel or tying a lure on a hook. Slip Knot is not a specific type of knot as much a category of knots with similar characteristics. Namely the slip knot is able to slide up and down the main line to open close the knot down tight around something. With ropes it ties quickly and easily with just a couple of wraps. With fishing line it’s often referred to as the Uni Slip Knot, a Improved Clinch knot or a Jam knot. For something like a spool of line, many people will use an Arbor knot which is a type of slip knot that won’t unravel as it slides down tight.

What is a slip knot

A slip knot is simply a loop with a couple wraps around the main line. How you handle your wraps is determined by the type of slip knot you’re tying. A unit knot with just a couple of wraps is what most people are referring to when then talk broadly about a slip knot and it’s usually used with rope to tie something off.

Slip Knot Applications for Fishing

I use a slip knot to make scalable loop on the end of my tie down rope that I can then tie my boat off quickly to a cleat while docking. It cinches down quick and easy and I can open it back up and remove it when I’m ready to take off. I often just cross weave one end of my rope on the cleat on the dock and then use my quick slip knot to attach on the boat side to a hook or cleat on my boat.

Slip Knot vs Uni Knot

If we’re talking about fishing line, then a standard slip knot with 4 or 5 wraps inside the loop is your standard uni knot. If it’s under about 4 wraps it doesn’t have much strength or holding power. Usually I will use more wraps on a slip knot of this type the thinner the line is and less wraps the thicker the line or braid is.

Slip Knot vs Arbor Knot

You could potentially tie your line to the spool of your reel with a slip knot. But it can unravel if you pull hard enough. Usually anglers will tie a one wrap slip knot around a spool and then tie a half hitch in the end of the tag end. This then cinches down and slides down until it hits the knot on the end and tightens up to get a good grip on the spool. Works great with fluorocarbon or monofilament line and is called an Arbor Knot.

How to Tie a Slip Knot Quickly

Step 1

Pass your tag end through the eye of your object you are tying to and bring it parallel to the main line and then double it back around to form a loop.

Step 2

Next wrap the tag end around the mainline and itself inside of the loop two-four times. Two wraps is usually enough for rope.


Step 3

Tighten down the wraps to lock the knot. Then pull the mainline against the object it’s tied to and the slip knot will slide down the main line until it is snug on the object.

Step 4

You can then tie the other end off. Pull the knot away from the object it’s tide to to slide it back up the main line and open or untie the knot on rope.