How to Tie Shock-Leader Knots

Updated May 23, 2018

The shock leader is designed for distance casting and big game fishing. The leaders are heavy and are capable of handling heavy tension and the shock that comes with the strike of a sport fish. The leaders are used by conventional and fly anglers with variable lengths to meet different fishing situations. The diameter and stiff design make the leaders more difficult to knot than the typical monofilament or fluorocarbon line. Speciality knots are used to create a secure connection with these leaders.

Place the ends of each line facing in opposite directions. Overlap the ends by one foot to prepare for the knot. Place your index finger between the two lines to create a point of separation.

Wrap each tag end around the opposing line six times. Keep your finger in the centre to maintain the gap between the two lines.

Place each tag end through the opening created by your finger. The ends must be facing in opposite directions. Grab the tag ends and the primary lines and pull them away from each other to tighten the knot. Clip the tag ends when finished.

Pull the end of the line through the eye of the hook. Pull six inches of line through and hold the tag end against the main line. Leave several extra inches of the tag end above the holding point.

Continue holding both lines to create a loop at the eye of the hook. Wrap the tag end around the loop to create an additional loop in a sideways direction. Pull the tag end through the new loop.

Wrap the tag end through the sideways-facing loop five times. Hold the tag end while pulling on the main line to tighten the knot around the eye of the hook. Clip away the tag end.


Lubricate the knots with water or saliva before tightening. The lubrication allows the knot to slip into place without resistance. It also prevents friction from damaging the leader material.


Practice tying the knots at home to perfect the process. Tying a poor knot in the field may lead to a lost trophy fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Shock leader
  • Line clippers
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About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at