A good angler knows the right knot for every situation, whether that’s a blood knot for a low-profile connection of mono to mono, a bowline for tying a boat to a piling, or a nail knot for attaching leader to fly line.
And while there’s certainly no knot that’s good for everything, it’s awfully handy to know how to tie one that’s strong, secure against sudden force, and useful on almost any line type across a broad range of applications.
We’re here to let you know that just such a knot is available, offering tons of advantages and very few drawbacks. It’s the Uni knot, originally called the Gallows Knot.
It’s pretty easy to guess its original use from the name, but it’s also a fantastic general-purpose fishing knot.
This post will show you exactly how to tie the Uni knot for the most common two connection needs:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Take a look at this video tutorial knot session:
The double Uni is essentially two opposing single knots.
You simply repeat each step above for both lines, reversing the left-hand knot.
The double Uni is essentially two opposing knots that use both lines to increase integrity.
See 1:50 in the knot session if you think you need help:
There are plenty of strong knots that are a devil to tie on the water when your hands are covered in fish slime or blood, your boat is rocking in the waves, or your fingers are numb from the cold. Keep in mind that it’s one thing to tie a knot at your kitchen table, and another thing entirely to do so when the weather’s poor.
Knot strength is great--and the Uni is very strong--but if you can’t tie the knot you need easily, it’s not a very good choice. Make no mistake about it--a poorly tied knot is no knot at all!
The Uni knot is very, very easy to tie, and I’ve had no trouble with it all, even in really bad conditions. Slimy hands, rough seas, dark, cold, tired--no problem!
Another often overlooked consideration is the speed with which a knot can be tied. For instance, I find the otherwise excellent San Diego Jam to be slow to tie, and not particularly easy in the field.
When the fish are biting, I want to minimize the time my gear spends out of the water, and I want a knot that I can race through without a mistake, tying back into the ease with which a knot can be tied.
The Uni knot is very fast to tie--a mark in its favor for sure.
The more generally useful a knot, the more you’ll appreciate it, and while there are many knots that can handle mono, few can also tie braid and fluorocarbon, join lines of dissimilar size, make fast a boat, or attach line to a reel.
The Uni can do all this and more, and if you only learn one fishing knot, this is among the best.
A weak knot is a poor knot for most uses, no matter how easy, fast, or applicable.
This is a point at which the Uni knot really shines. Not only is it strong when pressure is slowly increased--as most knots are--it can take sudden force without breaking, a real test for the alternatives. That makes sense given its original purpose, of course, but that shock resistance also makes it ideal for catching real monsters.
But don’t take our word for it. According to experts like Vic Dunaway, “the strength of the uni-knot isn't diminished when the line is pulled with a jerk, rather than with steady pressure. Some knots, which test at more than 90 percent on a steady pull, will break at 50 or 60 percent if subjected to severe and sudden jolts--such as might be administered by a big fish surging boatside.”
While not as strong as the clinch knot for mono or fluorocarbon when subjected to a steady pull, that shock strength is a real-world advantage and a critical consideration when you’re chasing big fish like bass, pike, muskie, or lake trout.
I’ve used the Uni knot for years as my go-to for pretty much everything. I never had a knot failure--not a single time.
Though by no means science, that’s saying something.
One application where the Uni can strut its stuff is joining line of dissimilar types and/or sizes. By tying a double Uni, you can mate pretty much any line to any other and be sure that the connection will hold fast.
The knot is a bit bigger than some others for joining line, like the aforementioned blood knot.
That’s about it!
While one knot can’t do everything, the Uni knot is as close as you’ll come to one knot to rule them all.
Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.