One of the basics of fishing how to’s are knots; the how to tie a certain knot. For the average, beginning fly fisher, fishing freshwater, there are only a few knots to learn. Most beginning books, classes, blogs (to include this one…see search box re “knots”) for fly fishing, have plenty of info on how to tie a cinch/clinch knot, surgeon’s knot, blood knot, nail knot, loop knot. 

The problem I encounter on the water with beginners, is they look past the importance of a maintained uniformly tapered leader/tippet. The proper leader is important in turning over the fly via the cast. It is important in the presentation of a soft delivery to not spook the fish. 

A knot that joins butt section to leader or leader to tippet should not look like a granny knot on steriods. Keep the knots lean and horizontal, not round, irregular and clunky. Knots create drag, so pay attention to this important, basic skill. Understand how to tie/construct/maintain a reasonably tapered leader of around the length of your rod if not more. Strive to maintain that butt section/leader length and only have to touch up the tippet length now and then after break offs or repeated changing of flies.  Presentation of the line, leader, tippet, fly includes a streamlined, properly tied knot.