3 things to know about tippet

Things to know about fly fishing

Confused about fly fishing tippet? Here are 3 tips that will help you understand it better.

3 things to know about fly fishing tippet

Tippet is a very important part of your overall rig when fly fishing. Tippet is the material that goes between your leader and your fly. Unlike your typical leader, your tippet material is one continuous size throughout the entire piece of material, and will usually match the size of the very end of your leader, although it doesn’t have to.

Often, you’ll need to change tippet sizes depending on situation. The idea is to use the strongest possible tippet that you can, while keeping it small enough to go as unnoticed as possible.

Also, I like to keep my leader a consistent length all of the time. This is where tippet can come in handy. By using different lengths of tippet for different situations, I don’t have to cut the leader. I may change flies 3-10 times on any given day on the water. Tippet allows you to change the fly many times without ever losing any length on your leader.

1. Know your sizes

Tippet is sized by number, 0x-8x. The bigger the number, the smaller the diameter of the tippet material. So, 0x is the largest diameter and 10x is the smallest diameter. Generally, when fishing for trout, you’re going to be using to be 5x or 6x tippet most commonly, and maybe 7x in certain situations. For bigger flies, 4x is your better bet.

Along with the standard sizing (0x-8x), each size also has a corresponding a weight rating. So 5x tippet is going to have a weight rating of 4.5lb to 5.0lb, depending on brand and material type.

2. Nylon vs. Fluorocarbon

The two most common types of tippet material are nylon and fluorocarbon. Both have their intended uses, but for the most part, nylon is going to be your more commonly used tippet material.

Nylon floats really well, fluorocarbon not as much. Nylon also has more stretch, while fluorocarbon provides better sensitivity. Fluorocarbon is more expensive but also more durable. Nylon tippet will break down over time, especially if exposed to UV rays.

As a general rule, nylon is going to be your go-to tippet material that will cover most any fly fishing application.

3. Replace your tippet

Replace your tippet yearly. If you have spools of tippet that don’t get used up in a season, replace them with new tippet. Tippet is cheap and a $5 roll or tippet is not worth losing a great fish over.

I don’t buy tippet in bulk for this very reason, instead I buy it a spool at a time. If I don’t use it all in a given season, I throw it away and replace it with a new roll. As mentioned above, nylon tippet can break down over time and I always find it ideal to use fresh tippet on a regular basis.

Tippet is pretty simple to understand once you have the basics down, and hopefully these 3 tips have helped you. It’s not rocket science and there is always room for experimenting based on your typical fishing situations.

Have any tips or suggestions for tippet? Drop me a comment below and lets discuss it!

Cory Perry
I'm a husband, father and fly fishing geek living in Greenville, SC. I'm down with slinging flies, tying flies and spending every minute I can enjoying the vast outdoors with my family and friends.

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