|The Dreaded Slip Knot|
Windknots are almost never caused by wind. They are a product of sloppy casting. I find that the only time I get windkots is when I fool around with the rod. doing short floppy casts between pools while walking, reeling in aggressively after breaking off, or just doing goofy false casts to dry off your fly WILL make knots in your leader. Beginner fly fishers often false cast too much and that is a major cause of wind knots. You don't need to make ten false casts. I can cast my entire fly line with four or five, and for most fishing you shouldn't really need to false cast at all.
Fly Line Tangles:
There are three main causes for catastrophic fly line tangles. The first being terrain. It you have to make long casts and retrieves on rocks, on a weedy bank, or while wading in a heavy current, you are going to get tangles. Freshwater fly fishers don't often use stripping baskets, but if you are streamer fishing for anything from trout to walleye I suggest you use one. There is a reason they are so popular with inshore fly fishers.
The second cause is easily avoidable. Often times it goes like this. You get to the river, see a big fish feeding or a likely hold 50 feet out in the river so you dump out 50 feet of line before you start to cast. When you do make your cast you are greeted by a massive tangle. Why? The line you want to start leaving the guides comes from the bottom of the pile at your feet, not the top. Don't start out casting long distances right off the bat, start short and pull out short lengths of line instead of creating big piles at your feet.
Lastly, an this mostly applies to drift boat fisherman, if the boat gets closer to the shore and you need to shorten your cast, reel in the access working line. If you leave it out of the reel it will bounce around while you're casting and probably get tangled.
Tangles are annoying. They take up valuable time and have the ability to ruin your day on the water and mess up your mood. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid that in the future.