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Kayak Fishing Knots

Everybody’s got their favorite knot.  We’ve compiled a few of the most popular among kayak fishermen, so try em out and see what you think.  We’ve also put together some of the basic rigs you’ll be using when kayak fishing around Southern California.

Knots to Know: (mono or fluoro to hook)

San Diego Jam Knot Excellent knot with high breaking strength.  Great for anything from tuna to bay bass.
Thread line through eye of hook
Pinch with fingers and double back toward eye of hook
Wrap line 6-8 times toward eye of hook and thread through original loop.
Thread through doubled back loop
Pull tag end tight and slide knot down to eye of hook by pulling the mainline.  Pull tag end and mainline to ensure a tight cinch.  Cut tag end.  Make sure no coils are overlapping eachother and are in a perfect spiral.


Trilene Knot


A favorite of some of our pro-staffers, this knot has two connections around the hook which both hold pressure.  Good choice for lures or split rings that may damage the mono connection.
Thread line through eye of hook.  Double back and thread through again.
Wrap away from hook 6-8 times
Thread tag end through both original loops.
Pull tight, be sure that no wraps are overlapping eachother.


Rapala  Knot Can’t afford those nifty ringed hooks?  Learn this knot and save those pennies for the next tournament entry fee. 
Tie loose overhand knot and thread tag end through eye of hook
Thread tag end through overhand knot
Wrap around main line 4-6 times
Thread tag end through overhand knot
Thread tag end back through doubled back loop
Pull tight


Improved Clinch Knot

The old standby.  One of the most popular knots, easy to tie and has a decent breaking strength

Thread line through eye of hook.  Wrap 6-8 times.  Thread tag end through original loop.  Thread tag end back through doubled back loop. Pull tight.


Palomar Knot
Used with the dropshot rig and dropper loop rig.


Cow Hitch
Simple way to attach hook to a loop, such as in the Dropper Loop Rig.


Mono or Fluoro to Spectra  
Uni to Uni

Great knot when tied properly.  The small size allows the connection to be reeled through the guides.  Be sure to re-tie this connection every so often, as the guides can cause chaffing especially on the spectra side of the connection.

Pinch both lines in fingers and make a loop with one line.
Wrap looped line around both lines, away from tag end of unused line.
Cinch tight
Repeat with other line.
Wet line and pull both mainlines until the two knots butt against eachother.
  Cut tag ends as close as possible.


Carolina Rig
Probably the most versatile setup for our style of fishing.  With a two ounce egg sinker this rig can be trolled as a deep rig or dragged along the bottom for halibut and lingcod.  Some anglers like to put a small bead between the swivel and egg sinker in order to keep the egg sinker off the knot and let it slide more freely.  If using braid as the mainline and mono or fluorocarbon for the leader, this is a great way to make that transition without an inline knot.


Dropper Loop
This is a bottom fishing rig used for rockfish, lingcod, halibut and even white seabass and yellowtail when they’re foraging the bottom, such as during squid runs. 

Once the loop is tied, tie a torpedo sinker (3-8oz depending on depth/current) onto the tag end. Then tie the hook onto the loop using a palomar knot or cow hitch.

The reverse dropper loop is also an option to allow a livebait more room to swim and stay closer to the bottom.  For this rig, simply put the weight on the loop and the hook on the tag end.  There are three different ways to form the loop:


This is the standard way to tie the loop.

This method is called a spider hitch.

Some anglers prefer to use a 3 way swivel in place of a loop because it allows them to use their favorite, proven knots on all connections.


Drop Shot Rig
Light line technique that originiated in Japan for largemouth bass. It has proven effective in the US for the same application as well as bay fishing and light saltwater purposes. This rig is intended to be used with a small soft plastic lure. The angler can impart a pulsating action by shaking the rod tip.

Essentially this rig is a palomar knot with a small weight tied to the tag end.