Fly fishing knots are only as intimidating as you make them out to be. I personally use two or three most of the time. While I do know how to tie many, I have found knowing a handful of knots will get you through just about anything you will encounter on the river.
I cannot learn knots by reading, I have to see them done firsthand. So I have assembled a collection of YouTube videos so you can learn to tie them with ease.
In this excellent instructional video we provide you with detailed animations that clearly show you how to tie five of the top knots every fly fisher should learn. These include:
1. Basic Clinch Knot - simple and easy knot for tying flies to your tippet
2. Non-Slip Loop Knot - great knot for streamers and other flies which move in the water or on the surface (poppers, mice patterns, etc...). Also known as Non-Slip Mono Loop Knot.
3. Surgeons Knot - important for securely connecting pieces of leader together or leader to tippet material
4. Uni Knot - The Uni knot is great for both monofilament and fluorocarbon materials, and is very versatile and can work for bass, trout, and big game fishing!
5. Blood Knot - very clean knot for connecting sections of monofilament together (leader) that don't vary more than .002" in thickness
From GearJunkie.com: 3 Fly Fishing Knots You Need to Know
Just getting into the sport of fly fishing? You’ll need to tie some knots! These three fly fishing knots will get you through most situations. As you progress in fly fishing, expect to learn tons of knots. Many techniques allow you to attach leaders, tippets, flies, and more to your line. But in the vast majority of situations, just three knots will suffice. Watch the video above with our friends from Denver Outfitters to learn the handshake knot, double surgeon’s knot, and clinch knot.
In fly fishing, or fishing in general, there are a few knots fishermen (and women) needs to know. The best knots are the ones that are easiest and fastest to tie. The five knots mentioned can get your fly (or lure) in the water as soon as possible. These knots can also be used in conventional tackle. We'll concentrate on how to tie these knots for fly fishing applications.
Blood Knot: used for connecting sections of the leader and/or connecting a tippet section to the leader
Surgeons Knot: used for connecting tippet material to the leader (Fast and Easy)
Uni Knot or Duncan Loop: used for attaching the fly to the tippet (Fast and Easy)
Improved Clinch Knot: used for attaching the fly to the tippet
Make sure to lubricate the knots before cinching. Practice tying the knots prior to going to the water. This will save you time and keep your flies in the water longer, giving you more chance of catching fish.
This video explains the easiest way to tie perfect nail knots every time. The nail knot is a very intimidating knot for many fly fishermen but after learning this method of tying the nail knot, every angler can quickly master it and benefit from its smooth profile which transfers energy well and passes through the guides better than any other knot.
From Rio Products: Seven knots for attaching a fly to leader/tippet material, and how to tie them
This film shows how to tie 7 of the most popular fly fishing knots for attaching a fly to tippet material. Easy to see, and with clear directions, this is one of the best knot films out there. Learn the following knots:
0:00 Clinch Knot
2:36 Improved Clinch
4:58 Non Slip Loop Knot
8:37 Turle knot
15:25 Trilene Knot
17:32 Homer Rhodes
19:35 Pitzen knot
In addition, each knot finishes with a laboratory test that breaks the knot under a controlled environment -illustrating the relevant strength of each knot.