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(Cohocton, New York)
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Angler's Loop

(also known as the Englishman's and Fisherman's loop)

Angler's  loop

An Angler's loop is a type of knot which forms a fixed loop. Useful for fine or slippery line, it is one of the few loop knots which holds well in bungee cord. It is quite secure but it jams badly and is not suitable if the knot will need to be untied.

  • Uses: The Angler's Loop is the easiest way to tie a small loop in the end of a leader or tippet which lies perfectly in line with the standing end.
  • Tying it: This knot is most easily tied in the hand. Hold the first loop between finger and thumb. Wrap the second turn round the finger and thumb and then between the two loops. Tuck the second turn through the first, checking that the loop crosses and traps the end. It can also be tied through a fly or lure by passing the free end.
  • Advantages: The Angler's loop creates a stable loop which lines up neatly with the standing end.


(Rescue Knot)

Bowline Knot

The Bowline is a commonly used knot to tie a loop in the end of a rope. It has the advantage of not jamming, compared to some other loop forming knots (for example when using an overhand knot on a large bight to form a loop).

  • Form a small loop (the direction is important), and pass the free end of the knot up through the loop, around behind the standing part of the rope, and back down through the loop.
  • A chant used by many to remember this knot is "The rabbit comes out of the hole, round the tree, and back down the hole again", where the hole is the small loop, and the rabbit is the running end of the rope.
  • In the same way that a Left Handed Sheet bend is a Sheet bend that has the running end of the rope coming out of the wrong side of the knot, a cowboy bowline is a bowline that also has the running end of the rope coming out of the wrong side of the knot. It suffers the same problems as the left handed sheet bend.
  • Tip. Don't be afraid to use this knot to form a loop of any size in rope.
  • Tip. To quickly identify if you have tied the Bowline normal or left handed, check to see that the running end exits the knot on the inside of the loop.
  • Tip. For added security, finish the knot with a stop knot such as a Figure of Eight knot to remove any possibility of the Bowline slipping.
  • Tip. If you use this knot in a man carrying situation - perhaps a rescue where a harness is unavailable - then you MUST use a stop knot as mentioned above.

Bowline on a Bight

(Harness Rescue Knot)

Bowline on a Bight

If you have enough rope for the job, a bowline on a bight can make a quick rescue harness to get a hiker out of a jam. After the knot is tied, a person can put each leg through the loops formed and hold onto the standing part to use the knot as a rescue seat.

Double the rope up before beginning to tie the bowline

Make an overhand loop on the standing part of the rope

Pass the loop end of the rope through the overhand loop, reach your hand through the loop-end of the rope and pull the doubled-up standing part through. Cinch tight.


Fast Bowline

The purpose of the bowline is to create a loop that doesn't slip. Being one of the harder knots to learn, this method may make learning it more exciting and fun because it looks smooth when tying it. This one takes a bit of practice to master, but once comfortable with it, bowlines can be tied quickly and with a fancy touch.

How to tie it

Fast Bowline

Fast Bowline Movie 148K

Fast Bowline Movie (148K)

Its easiest to learn by tying the bowline around your body, but once mastered, it can be tied without being around the body. A movie is provided. The picture to the left may not be enough to learn the procedures because of all the wrist movements involved.

  • Step 1: Put the rope around your body and hold the short end in your right hand. You will never let go of the long side in your left hand. You will never let go of the short rope in your right hand until step 4.
  • Step 2: Just like the picture shows.
  • Step 3: Go through the loop and back up. The long rope side will wrap around your right hand.
  • Step 4: Release the short rope, take it around the long rope and grab it again with the same hand.
  • Step 5: Work your right hand out of the knot without releasing the short rope in the right hand.
  • Step 6: Tighten the knot by pulling the long rope in the left hand forward. Do not pull the short rope in the right and. Just hold it still and let the left rope tighten the knot.
  • Step 7: The completed knot.

Note: The bowline is not a recommended knot for nylon kernmantle rope. Nylon is too slippery and the knot will slip.

Fisherman Knot

(Angler's knot, English knot, Englishman's bend, Halibut knot, True Lover's bend, Waterman's knot)

Fisherman Knot

  • The Fisherman's knot is used to tie two ropes of equal thickness together. It is used by fishermen to join fishing line, and is very effective with small diameter strings and twines.
  • Tie a Thumb knot, in the running end of the first rope around the second rope. Then tie a thumb knot in the second rope, around the first rope. Note the Thumb knots are tied such they lie snugly against each other when the standing ends are pulled.
  • Tip: When tying knots in monofilament line, moisten the line before pulling the knot tight. This helps to stop the line heating up with friction, which weakens it.

Figure of Eight Knot

(Flemish Knot, Savoy Knot)

Figure of Eight Knot

A useful "Stop" knot to temporarily bulk out the end of a rope or cord, the finished knot looks like its name. It is superior to using a Thumb Knot, because it does not jam so easily.

Tip: The Figure of Eight is useful to temporarily stop the ends of a rope fraying, before it is whipped.

Lark's Head

(Cow Hitch, Lanyard Hitch)

Lark's Head Knot or Hitch

The Lark's Head knot is used to loosely attach a rope to a spar or ring. The knot has two redeeming features, it is easy to tie, and it does not jam. However, it will slip fairly easily along the spar, and may slip undone when tied using man made fibre ropes.

Tip. This is a knot to be avoided when a secure attachment is required. The Round turn and two half hitches, and the Clove hitch are far more secure.


(Slack Remover)

Sheepshank Knot

The Sheepshank is a shortening knot, which enables a rope to be shortened non-destructively.

  • The knot is only really secure under tension, it will fall apart when slack. (See tip below.)
  • Tip. Use up to five half hitches each end of the Sheepshank to make the knot more secure, and for fine tuning the shortening.
  • Tip. Never cut ropes to shorten them! Always use a shortening knot such as the Sheepshank, or coil the excess.

Constrictor Knot

(Constructor Knot)

Constrictor Knot

The Best way to start lashing when you can substitue it for a Clove Hitch. Since it's actually a Knot and not a hitch, its much tighter. Only made when you have access to the "end" of a stave.

Thumb Knot

(Overhand Knot, Single Granny Knot)

Thumb Knot

This is the simplist knot of all. It is commonly use to temporarily "stop" the end of a fraying rope.

  • The overhand knot is commonly tied in a bight formed at the end of a rope, forming the Overhand Loop.
  • Tip. The Thumbknot jams easily so it is far better to use a Figure of Eight knot to stop the end of a fraying rope.