tippet is the material that connects your fly to your leader, tippet is 8 bucks a spool and you can tie hundreds of flies on with one spool, if you are to tie your fly directly to your leader, your would go through a leader every couple of hours- leaders are 3-2 bucks a pop. the leader is tapered and allows the energy of the rod to be transfered all the way to the fly- thus allowing a complete cast. I feel the quick connects are junk, and loop to loop seems to break the flow in the cast, the nail knot from leader to fly line flows the best, its an easy knot. I feel a 5 weight rod is perfect for any game in colorado- when learning. When buying gear, don't break the bank, all these guys are right. The only advice I can offer is to make sure you buy correct weights in every aspect. If you buy a 5 weight rod, buy a 5 weight reel, fly line and leader. having a balanced set up is the most important key to easy casting. also, knot dressing is worth its weight in gold- UV knotsense. Its all trial and error, and every one here has something to offer. I just gave my two sense I what I feel is important, all of these things can help without alot of dough!