I will never forget the first big fish I lost on fly--it was the biggest snook that I’ve ever been in the presence of. This lifetime fish was in and out of my life in about a half-second all because of a poor knot.
During this time, I was a complete beginner, and like many other neophyte fly-anglers, I spent all my time practicing my cast. It was my belief that being able to cast 100 feet was what constituted fly-fishing greatness.
After weeks of persistent heroic casting-practice sessions, I could see my skills sharpening. I was able to cast a rather good distance and was also getting pretty accurate.
While retrieving my fly for another cast, an absolute beast of a snook came out of nowhere and violently swiped at my fly. Because I didn’t feel a thing, I just figured it missed the fly. When I looked at the end of my leader, I saw the dreaded pigtail--the telltale sign of a knot failure.
I was embarrassed and angry. It was right then and there that I realized a long cast and a picture-perfect presentation don’t mean a damn thing if you can’t tie a knot.
All of you beginners out there, kiss pigtails goodbye and learn the knots on the following pages.