How to Tie the Arbor Knot?

Anglers use the Arbor Knot (sometimes also called the Canadian Jam) to attach lines to their reels’ arbors. The Arbor Knot was designed to be used in an emergency, such as retrieving a rod or reel that has fallen into the water. However, it is not meant to be a last-ditch solution in case a fish takes all of your lines.

Importantly, this knot does not exert much pressure on the arbor. If you are spooling braided super line, make sure you have a braid-ready arbor that is non-slip.

How to tie the Arbor Knot

  1. Pass the tag around the arbor, and tie an overhand knot at the tag’s end. You can tighten the knot by soaking it in water. At this point, you want a long-end tag.
  2. Tie a second knot overhand using the tag end.
  3. Make sure to tie the knot with a second hand.
  4. To avoid causing a jam, pull the knotted tag end to the second overhand tie and trim it to 1/8″ from the knot.

Why Rely on the Arbor Knot

  • Strong –The Arbor knot does not need to be strong. Its only purpose is to keep your line in place against the arbor as you spin.
  • Quick –There is no better way to get your line on your reel than this.
  • Simple –The Arbor Knot is much easier than tying your shoes.

The Arbor Knot: What’s not to love?

While the Arbor knot is a great choice to secure your line to your reel with, there are better options for braided lines.


The Arbor holds in nylon monofilament or fluorocarbon. The tighter you pull the Arbor, the stronger the jamming action and the knot will stay tighter. While simple overhand knots may not be the best, they are effective in this application.

This is a problem if you are using a braid as the knot will not hold enough tension against your arbor. Your line can slip when you try to spool it.

The Arbor Knot in Braid and Fluorocarbon

Both monofilament (fluorocarbon) and fluorocarbon have what engineers and scientists call “high coefficients of friction.” This means they can grip and bite against each other well.

This is normal because knots hold due to friction against themselves. This case is different. The real problem isn’t loose overhangs, but the friction that the loop creates against your reel arbor, allowing for slippage-free spooling.

Braided lines can feel very abrasive to your naked fingers, but they are known for being slick. These lines are woven from Dyneema or Spectra fibers. They have low coefficients of friction compared with mono and fluoro. This means that braids will require more twists and turns.

The Arbor will require you to rely on one loop around your spool. This is unless your reel was designed for braid.

A reel that is specifically designed for braiding will be required if you are spooling the super line.

What Happens When Arbor Knots FAIL?

The Arbor is all you need to hold the knot, unlike most other knots. Let’s face facts: If you think you have a chance of catching a fish with all your line stripped, you are lying!

The Arbor Knot’s only function is to allow you to spool your line onto your reel.

However, it can also fail. These are the most common causes.

  • Braid is used on a regular arbor– A braided line won’t offer enough friction to keep the line in place when it starts spooling. If you don’t have a braid-ready tree, skip the superlines and use a different type of knot like the Uni.
  • Do not tighten the jamming at the tag’s end. The knot at the tag end cannot be undone. It will cause your line to slip through the overhand knot and break the knot. You will be notified immediately and can re-tie.
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.