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Gluing Knots for Extra Strength

Posted on May 15 2014

Fly Fishing Knot Glue
The ol’ standby. Photo: Kyle Shea

One of our most popular post series to date, is our ‘Expert Rig Series,’ where we give the details of how some of the industry’s best anglers rig up for their respective fisheries. We are fortunate to get to fish with many world class anglers on a day to day basis, many of which are kind enough to share all the secrets of their weapon of choice. We love learning which rods, reels, lines, knots, and so on people prefer and why.

One common trend we have seen through our many ‘expert rigs’ to date is the coating of knots with glue. While the type of adhesive used varies a bit, many of our ‘experts’ prefer to lightly coat their knots to provided a little added insurance, and we think you should too. Will a perfect knot hold its own without glue? Probably. But our take is a few extra minutes is worth the added peace of mind when you hook into that fish of lifetime.

Which knots should you coat with glue? Gluing most leader knots (blood knots, double surgeons knot, etc.), or knots used to connect tippet to fly is probably over-kill. However, knots used to connect backing to fly line or fly line to leader (nail knot, albright knot, etc.) are probably better off with a little touch of glue. One exception in which coating an entire knot might not be beneficial are those that are designed to stretch, such as a bimini twist. The strength of these knots lie in their ability to stretch, and entirely coating the knot with glue may inhibit this effect. Consider applying just a dab on the tag end of the knot alone. Nonetheless, here’s some of our favorite glues we use when rigging up.

Loon’s UV Knot Sense

We love this stuff. UV Knot Sense cures in seconds when exposed to direct sunlight (which is often readily available on the water), or when held under Loon’s UV mini lamp (for indoor or low light use). Unlike some adhesives, once dry, it remains soft and flexible as well. Best of all, the consistency of Knot Sense is quite a bit thicker than most, allowing you to create a smooth coating over your knots, causing your knots to slide through rod guides with ease.


The ol’ standby. Zap-A-Gap is the most versatile glue once can carry on the water. Zap-A-Gap is a cyanoacrylate glue, like super or crazy glue. What does that mean exactly? It means that it dries fast and is super strong. Coat your knots, close up a cut on your stripping finger, fix a broken pair of sunglasses, use as a head cement – Zap-A-Gap does it all. Zap-A-Gap comes in a range of viscosity from ‘thin’ to ‘thick,’ although we prefer the medium viscosity (sold in a green bottle) for most uses. Unlike Knot Sense, Zap-A-Gap dries very hard, so a little goes a long way. Did you know it even comes in a brush on bottle? Hit up your local fly shop for the brush on, it’s a game changer!


Need to rig up in a pinch, but don’t have any glue on hand? Perhaps you carry a tube of aquaseal in the event you need to repair a leak in your waders. Aquaseal works great on knots as well! Apply a small amount on the tip of your finger and smooth into the crevices of your knots. Aquaseal will dry clear, pliable, and slide well through the rod guides. However, a major drawback to coating your knots with aquaseal is a much longer curing time. Coat your knots before you go to bed and they’ll be good to go in the morning.

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