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2016/5/11 18:54
Posts: 3
I recently bought a 5wt 9ft FF rod. My question is what kind of tippet should I get? Im really confused on the difference in 2X,3x,4x....and so on. Is the difference in the diameter of the tippet? I will be fishing for bass and trout whats the best option for me? Thx

Posted on: 2016/6/24 16:33

Re: Tippet?

2009/11/5 1:46
Posts: 308
"X" is a designation for the diameter of the tippet. Subtract the X number from 11 and you'll have the diameter in mils (thousandths of an inch.) So, 5x is .006 inches in diameter, 3x is .008 inches, etc.

Historically, the "X" stood for "times" -- as in the number of times a piece of silkworm gut was run through a die, reducing it's diameter by one mil each pass. It made sense back when we still used silkworm gut, because the diameter was different wet than dry, and all a vendor could accurately claim was that it had been passed through a die a certain number of times. It really makes no sense today, and most of the world outside the US simply labels tippet by it's diameter.

Posted on: 2016/6/24 17:12

Re: Tippet?

2014/2/19 19:02
From Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 92
Most tippet spools have what pound test the tippet is equivalent to. It may vary from brand to brand. As a general rule if I'm fishing for trout, I'll use 5X or 6X for dries/emergers. 7X for midge dries/emergers. Fishing sub surface with nymphs 4X or 5X. Streamers depends on the size and weight of the streamer. 4X would be the highest X number I would use. Confused yet? If you've fished the dark side you know we speak in terms of what LB test to use when fishing fluorocarbon or mono line. In tippet speak, the higher the X number the lighter the line. I have a spool of Orvis 4X tippet in my vest. They rate it as equivalent to 7 LB test. Where the spool of 7X tippet is rated as 3 LB test.
For bass, if you got spools of fluorocarbon/mono lying around you can use that. Minimum I would use is 8 LB test(think 4X), and go up from there depending on what flies you're using. 10 LB(3X), 12 LB(0X) above that the tippet spools will be rated in LBs. There will be a quiz later.

Posted on: 2016/6/24 23:32

Re: Tippet?

2015/6/1 16:22
From Burke VA
Posts: 1526
Try to keep it simple, smaller flies(higher hook size) smaller tippet (higher x).
Bigger flies(lower hook size) bigger tippet (lower x). For a beginner if you are getting lots of tangles and are frustrated go down a size in tippet (lower x). With hooks and tippet smaller numbers are bigger sizes.

Posted on: 2016/6/25 10:14

Re: Tippet?

2008/3/11 9:40
From Bucks County
Posts: 715
Here's an Orvis chart on tippet size by hook size:

How to choose the right tippet size

Posted on: 2016/6/25 11:10

Re: Tippet?

2014/4/4 1:47
From Leola Pa
Posts: 27
More confusion starts when you start looking at the test rating of tippet . Cheap tippet material such as Cortland Fairplay won't be as strong as a better brand for the same size tippet. Looking at the link RCFetter gave , Orvis super strong in 3x (.008") is 8.5 lbs where as Cortland Fairplay is only 7lbs. If you go with non tippet material (stuff you would load your spinning reel with ) look at the diameter as they vary too, ie in fluorocarbon Seagar Red Label in 10lbs. is .010" and Stren Fluorocast in 10lbs is .012". When you get away from tippet material you do really need to check the lines diameter and compare it to whatever tippet material you use.

Posted on: 2016/6/25 18:43

Re: Tippet?

2016/5/2 20:58
From SE PA
Posts: 37
Way back when, I was told to TRY and keep it simple to go with the tippet size roughly 1/3 of hook size. I find that to work pretty well with Dry, Wet and Nymph, for streamers and poppers I pretty much stick to heavy stuff like 4 x or no tippet sized mono to get them to turn over and cast well.

Posted on: 2016/6/26 20:35

Re: Tippet?

2013/2/16 0:51
From Northern VA
Posts: 550
As others have explained, the different tippet sizes just relate to the strength of it. I'll add that it is easy to get caught up in what tippet size to use - IMO don't think of changing tippet as something that will help you catch fish. How you present the fly matters a lot more. The tippet is nothing more than what you use to connect the fly to the end of your line. Having an appropriate tippet size for the size fly you are using will help you present the fly naturally. Go with the thickest size possible that will still allow your fly to act naturally. When you hook a nice fish, you'll be glad you did. Personally in 6 years of fly fishing I have never used 6X or thinner. Even with midges I use 5X and catch fish.

Here's my rule of thumb:

Fly size smaller than 12: 5X
12-8: 4X
6 or larger: At this point the fish you are after will not be leader shy so just use tippet that can handle the size fish you are catching. For example I fish a lot of small streams and the biggest fish I encounter are 16-18" browns, and if I am using a big streamer to target them I go with 2X tippet so I can horse them away from logs and rocks if needed.

Posted on: 2016/6/26 23:27
Let's get more people fly fishing.

Re: Tippet?

2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 2370
Yep. Again, the advantage of larger tippet is that it turns over easier. Easier to cast, more accurate, and doesn't twist the heck out of it. Plus higher strength for fighting fish. The advantage of thinner tippet is that it helps prevent drag (water pulling on line which pulls on fly).

It ends up being a function of the fly size. Larger flies are harder to turn over and have less drag issues, so you use bigger diameter tippet. Smaller flies are easier to turn over and have more problems with drag, so you use finer tippet.

My rule of thumb is fly size divided by 4 plus 1. So a size 8 is 3x. A size 12 is 4X. A size 16 is 5x. A size 20 is 6x.

Tweener sizes you can go either way, depending what you deem your greatest issue at the moment is. This is "fine tuning".

To take it further, you can also use other methods of fine tuning. Lengthening the tippet reduces drag and makes it harder to turnover, so it has the effect of going finer by a half size or so. Same with fluoro vs. mono, the fluoro is stiffer, so 6x fluoro may act like 5x mono, for instance.

Multiple ways to skin a cat. The important thing is to recognize your issue of the moment. Are you having trouble with accuracy? Getting it under a limb? Fish breaking off? Any of these would move you towards thicker tippets (lower X number), shorter tippets, or stiffer tippets. If, on the other hand, you're struggling with drag and getting refusals, go the other way. Finer tippets (higher X number), lengthen it, or go to softer tippet.

I generally refuse to go finer than 6x for moral reasons (lengthens the fight and causes breakoffs). Lengthening a 6X tippet with the softest mono I can find and making some casting adjustments, and I can generally minimize drag effectively enough down to a fly of size 26 or so. I don't go any smaller than that.

Posted on: 2016/6/27 16:05

Re: Tippet?

2013/4/23 19:39
Posts: 259
I use the hook size divided by 3. It it will get you in the right range and is easy enough to remember without a notebook full of equations. As others have already mentioned, this system sometimes finds you in between size and you can use additional information to adjust as necessary.

Posted on: 2016/6/28 11:03

Re: Tippet?

2011/7/7 20:06
From South Central,PA
Posts: 162
90% of my trout fishing I'm using either 4x or 5x. The other times I'm either going 3x with streamers, or 6x on small dries or midges.

Posted on: 2016/10/30 23:05

Re: Tippet?

2010/8/4 11:18
Posts: 688
I go with maxima ultragreen 2# for flies size 14 and under. Maxima ulttagreen 4# for flies size 8-12 and small streamers. Larger streamers, maxima ultragteen 6-8
10#. Not sure what x the maxima lines I use are, I'd guess 5x and 3x? I have used them long enough to know their limits.

I like being able to buy full sized spools.

Posted on: 2016/11/3 5:38

Re: Tippet?

2014/11/28 19:40
Posts: 184
4x-6x. 7x for very picky brookies. That's all you need for trout unless you are chucking streamers for some real bruisers, and in that case go heavier.

I've caught 90% of my fish on 5x or 6x, including all my biggest browns.

Posted on: 2016/11/13 18:49

Re: Tippet?
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 2878
Match your leader to your tippet size. The tippet size should be the same diameter or up to 2 sizes lighter, and never heavier than the tippet end of leader. For example using a 4x leader you can tie on a 4x tippet a lighter 5x down to a 6x.

Posted on: 2016/11/14 7:24

Re: Tippet?

2009/5/26 8:36
From York & Starlight, PA
Posts: 493
redietz wrote;

Historically, the "X" stood for "times" -- as in the number of times a piece of silkworm gut was run through a die, reducing it's diameter by one mil each pass. It made sense back when we still used silkworm gut, because the diameter was different wet than dry, and all a vendor could accurately claim was that it had been passed through a die a certain number of times. It really makes no sense today, and most of the world outside the US simply labels tippet by it's diameter.

That was very interesting to learn. Thanks for sharing that tidbit with us. I've been FFing for half a century and never knew that. But to do away with the "X" is heresy for us old timers!

Posted on: 2017/1/4 22:09
Fly fisher for fifty years.

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