nail knot with loop

The Nail Knot (with loop) illustrated by Emiliano Gabrielli

5 mins read

The Nail knot (with loop)

Nail Knot
Protecting the eyelet of the knot with a sheath (a small kevlar tube or something similar) ensures greater endurance

In the following article, I want to deal with a highly reliable and efficient knot which guarantees the best fishing performances in big preys captures. I’m talking about what is generally known as “nail knot”.

Very popular among fishing experts for a very long time, this knot is particularly efficient to fish big predators and I personally  consider it as one among the most important fishing knots anglers should know.

Even if it might seem similar to the knot commonly used to join the mouse tail with the terminal in fly fishing, the nail knot has completely different purposes. Mostly used in drifting with live bait for kingfish, snapper and grouper fishing, it includes many other applications in various situations, including, for example, tuna, swordfish and big ocean preys big game activities.

When fishing big predators, the nail knot with loop is an important fishing knot used to join nylon or fluorocarbon lines of different diameters (ranging between 0.50 and 0.90 mm) easily. Of course, the knot requires a little of dexterity but a little practice will help the angler to tie it fast.

The Nail Knot under the microscope

Nail Knot
The Nail Knot can also be tied with a simple cotton stick (with no ends, of course).

The nail knot is so-named because a penny nail or small tube is required to tie it and form well-structured loops. Keeping the loops from overlapping is essential so that the knot can ensure the maximum reliability.

With a little practice, however, the angler will learn to tie the knot even with no nail.

Thanks to its geometry and like the fishing knots we’ve already illustrated these weeeks- the solid and the Adiatic knot – the nail knot with loop guarantees very high breaking loads equal to about 90% of the fishing line’s breaking capacity.

Raymarine Fishing Team
When fishing from the boat, the Nail Knot can be successfully used in many fishing techniques, including offshore drifting, drifting, jigging, spinning and drifting with live bait

The knot can be efficiently used to join leaders, terminals, solid rings and hooks.

As you can see in the step-by-step illustration below, once the loops are set taut, the nail knot requires just a little eyelet. This is a very important characteristics of this knot because this loop provides the hook with greater mobility and therefore greater strength especially if circle hooks are used.

For greater endurance, the knot can even include an additional protective cringle along the eyelet ( various alternatives are available on the market). A good solution consists in using a small kevlar tube to sheathe nylon or fluorocarbon eyelets, especially when their diameter is small.

The loop covered with the protection sheath prevents the knot from tightening around the reel ring or the hook eyelet excessively while providing greater endurance, which is essential during the hardest fights!

Let’s tie the Nail Knot (with loop)

Nail Knot step 1
Enter the free end into the eye of the hook, get it back and move the nail close to the mother-line.
Nail Knot step 2
Lay the nail/tube above the line, just a few centimeters from the eyelet
Nail Knot step 3
With the free end, form 5-7 coils to wrap both the line and the tube itself.
Nail Knot step 4
Once all wraps are made, enter the free end into the small tube. When the free end is on the opposite side of the tube, extract it from the coils and pull the free end. This way, coils will be closed.
Nail Knot step 5
Pulling the free end, coils will be set taut. This is a delicate passage where it is important to keep coils from overlapping.
Nail Knot step 6
Once all coils are set taut, let the knot run towards the hook. The line won’t oppress the eye of the hook, which might provide the hook with greater mobility.

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