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tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2013/8/11 13:33
From south west pa
Posts: 20
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hello folks im a new member to the forum and have been fly fishing for several months now i've got most of the basics down and i even have learned to tie up a few flies...but one thing that kinda stumps me is what tippet material to use, or even what size leader would be best for me, i tend to use alot of wet flies and im also trying to learn how to fish the top of the water... i mainly use a 9 ft 6x or 7x leader with 6x tippet after i use a bit of the leader changing flies time to time...what do you recommend for a beginner like myself and what is the most logical tippet and leader sizes to use in this area?

Posted on: 2013/8/24 14:15


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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2013/5/28 14:36
From Carbon County
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If your talking wild trout streams I would say start with either a 7.5ft-9ft 5x leader as adjust tippet as needed. A lot of guys on this forum will tell you to go as heavy as possible and their reasoning is sound but its up to you. I totally agree with them in their logic that you want to bring the fish in as fast as possible to avoid stressing it( especially in summer months) and it will force you to work on your drift/ presentation. It depends on what you are using and the water you are fishing. They make 100 different leaders for 100 different situations but I feel that a 7.5-9ft 5x mono is good in the majority of situations you will encounter. And you can always lengthen/shorten or add tippet from there. The majority of tippet I carry for wild trout is 4,5and 6x, I do use 7x rarely but only for the tiniest of dry flies and most of the time it still ends up twisted and kinked.

Posted on: 2013/8/24 15:03


Re: tippet and leader suggestions
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Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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I agree, a 9' 5x leader / tippet is a good place to start for trout most times. I've noticed many newer FFers seem to graviate towards using very light tippets for the flies and fish they are catch, I guess thinking the fish will see their line. The above formula is a good starting point to assure your tippet is not too light for the flies you are casting (or at least trying to cast).

The rule of thumb for tippet size is fly size / 4 +1

Size 8 fly / 4 = 2 + 1 = 3x

Size 12 fly / 4 = 3 + 1 = 4x

Size 16 fly / 4 = 4 + 1 = 5x

Size 20 fly / 4 = 5 + 1 = 6x

Size 24 fly / 4 = 6 + 1 = 7x

The above formula is good for remembering tippet sizes streamside. For a more detailed explanation here is a chart with some solid guidelines on tippet choices and which to use under different conditions.

From the explanation with the chart in the link:

Most tippet sizes will support three or four fly sizes before they either get too stiff for a lifelike presentation or too thin to straighten a fly. In general, choose the heavier size if the water is dirty or turbulent, choose the finer size if the water is very clear and the fish are spooky. For average conditions choose the middle size.

Above, the size of fish you expect to catch the amount of snags in the in the stream or river is not factored in. For big fish and/or logs or weeds or even fast water nearby, usually choose tippet on the stronger size of the chart.

Also for nymphing, I choose stronger tippet (and flouro) because it is more abrasion resistant when flossing the rocks and is causes less tangles when fishing droppers.

LOL...if your elbow to elbow fishing for steelies, your neighbors also appreciate stronger tippet.

Be prepared to catch fish by using the proper leader / tippet or you'll end up like the floppy hat guy....





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Posted on: 2013/8/24 17:51

Edited by afishinado on 2013/8/25 8:27:57
Edited by afishinado on 2013/8/25 8:30:10
Edited by afishinado on 2013/8/25 9:32:12
Edited by afishinado on 2013/8/25 9:33:43


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2013/8/11 13:33
From south west pa
Posts: 20
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Thanks guys this was all pretty helpful I appreciate it...so matching your tippet with the size fly your using will give you the best presentation?

Posted on: 2013/8/25 9:24


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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2011/7/6 13:48
From Philadelphia PA
Posts: 1469
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I had my ten wt out yesterday....Getting ready for a trip up north. I make my own leader/tippets out of Spider Wire. Yesterday's length was around 5' of 20lb with 5' of 10lb Floro. I was able to pitch the poppers and streamers quite well.

Posted on: 2013/8/26 8:53
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"I am respected when I walk into any fly shop. Salespeople wait on me hand and waders. I once tried underwater casting just to see if I could. I am the most admired Fly Fisherman in the world. And when I fly-fish, I use the Orvis Access. Stay Fishing MF


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Quote:
Thanks guys this was all pretty helpful I appreciate it...so matching your tippet with the size fly your using will give you the best presentation?


It's about balance, there's trade-offs each way. Generally finer tippets will produce less drag nomatter what. They also cut through water easier, enabling you to get deeper with nymphs. However, they obviously break easier. In order to prevent that, you have to fight fish longer, often too long. You lose more flies to snags. And they don't turn over as well, leading to difficult casting, less accuracy, and often have problems with twisting and knotting.

With larger flies, it's just that you need more stiffness to turn them over properly, and it's easier to control drag. Hence, larger tippets. With tiny flies, a stiff leader will induce too much drag, and they're easy to turn over anyway, hence, smaller tippet.

For a beginner, a tapered mono leader is fine. I'd get a 9 ft, 4X. Snip back about two feet and replace with the tippet size of your choice. Going with 4x simply allows you to get a little larger. If you have a 5x leader and snip back to use 4x or 3x, you might not snip back far enough and the likelihood of losing the whole tippet goes up.

Personally, my preference in leaders, when compared to tapered mono store brands, is a stiffer leader and a softer tippet. When you get more advanced and understand what you really want in a leader, then you can buy leader tying kits for about $40 which will last you a decade or more. You'd have to buy more tippet of course, but the main leader you can make softer or stiffer, longer or shorter, etc., for various situations.

Tippet materials vary in stiffness. Stiffer acts a little more like a bigger tippet, softer acts like a thinner one. Fluoro is stiff in comparison to to the copolymers out there (commonly called mono). There's less stretch and it is more abrasion resistant, often a good choice for nymphing. IMO, mono's are better for dry flies. But you can indeed use either for either. I tend to like the softest mono's I can find. Rio Powerflex is my standby, though I use Rio Suppleflex when I can find it.

Posted on: 2013/8/26 10:55


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2013/8/11 13:33
From south west pa
Posts: 20
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So when I put on a new leader I should always start adding tippet ? And what size tippet would I add onto a 5x leader? Does that still depend on the size of fly I am using like its listed above? I do nymph fish alot but towards the end of the summer I started using dries...I just wanna have good presentation and I know what I'm using now isn't the best from the information you guys gave me. Thanks again for the help!

Posted on: 2013/8/27 7:18


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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2007/3/29 7:56
From Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 290
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If you are using a 5x tapered leader, I would tie on tippet to the end, even if it is 5x you want to use. ( per above guidelines) in this case the tippet serves as an extension to keep you from shortening your leader each time you change flies, which would result in a heavier "x" eventually. ( 'cause of the taper) Hope this is clear.

Posted on: 2013/8/27 16:21
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Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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2008/1/31 17:19
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yuengling,

It is useful to think of leader and tippet as separate entities. You have a leader, and the last few feet is tippet.

Now, when you buy a tapered, pre-made leader in a fly shop, it already has tippet on it. So, for instance, if you buy a 9 ft, 5x tapered leader, you have bought the leader AND the attached tippet. If you are using 5x tippet to start, tie on the fly and fish!

However, each time you change a fly, you shorten that tippet by a few inches. You haven't touched the leader, only the tippet. So after you lose enough that the tippet is too short to give you a good presentation, your leader is still fine. Just tie more tippet on!

Likewise, if you want to use, say, 4x tippet instead of 5x. You can't just tie it on the end. Else you'd have thinner line tapering to thicker line! Cut back at least to where the line is thicker than 4x tippet, then re-add a length of 4x tippet.

Likewise, if you want to use 6x tippet, if you just add it to the end, then you have a REALLY long tippet on there. Cut back some, then add 6x.

A leader, really, should last a whole season. But in that time I go through several entire spools of tippet.

Posted on: 2013/8/27 16:39


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2013/9/6 11:40
From Hunker
Posts: 193
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Firstly, if your fishing for wild trout I would recommend 10ft leader minimum for dries and 9ft for wets and nymphs. People always say use the heaviest tippet/leader you can get away with, but I say use the lightest you can get away with. Trout fishing is "light fishing" and should be treated as such, unlike bass fishing where you use the heaviest you can get away with. Although, don't go tryin to cast to a 4lb brown with 6x tippet and expect to land him, that is, if your sight fishing. If you don't sight fish, then 5x is the way to go.

Posted on: 2013/9/11 15:18
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Re: tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13406
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I fish dries more than anything. I can understand a 10+ ft leaders on the Letort, but that's the exception, rather than rule. On bigger water like Spring, Penns, BFC, LJR, etc. I commonly use 8-9 ft leaders with dry flies. On small streams, I sometimes go as short as 5-6 ft leaders.

Posted on: 2013/9/11 16:17


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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2011/7/6 13:48
From Philadelphia PA
Posts: 1469
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I feel that if you use your drag (whether with reel or by hand) properly, you should be able to land just about any fish with any leader/tippet combo. This does require you to be familiar with your gear and understand its capabilities. With my 3wt and a 2lb tippet I have landed 6lb trout after a good fight. Which I understand leads to the question of how long should you wrestle with a fish before you put them in too much stress to recover? Stocked fish I don't have the same concern for as wild ones. Wild ones I will use a quicker catch and release effort or mentality.

Posted on: 2013/9/15 10:44
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"I am respected when I walk into any fly shop. Salespeople wait on me hand and waders. I once tried underwater casting just to see if I could. I am the most admired Fly Fisherman in the world. And when I fly-fish, I use the Orvis Access. Stay Fishing MF


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

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1/23 13:26
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I agree with all the above post, but would like to add what I have found. I have gone to using mainly 3x or 4x leaders with a tippet ring. I am then able to add tippet material to the tippet ring based on the situation I am faced with.

Posted on: 3/9 19:20


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13406
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Honestly, I think that we focus too much on "expensive" gear like wanting to get the best waders, rods, fly lines, sunglasses, boots, etc.

These don't catch you more fish. Or at least, not many more fish (there are situations, yes). Nice to have good equipment and all, but....

You can improve your game much more, and for much less $$$, by understanding leaders and tippets, and being able to adjust them on the fly to do what you need them to. I do agree that for a true beginner, get a standard leader and worry about casting mechanics and the other basics first.

But if you're past the true beginner stage, you've caught some fish and generally know what you're trying to do, but are still getting outfished regularly by the vets. Leaders/tippets is a very good place to focus if you want to move up the learning curve.

Yes, a good fisherman can adjust and do alright on just about any set up. But the right set up for the situation makes it a lot easier.

Posted on: 3/10 12:14


Re: tippet and leader suggestions

Joined:
2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
Posts: 1621
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Quote:

pcray1231 wrote:
A leader, really, should last a whole season.


Those of us who are not masochists would do well to replace leaders every few trips... ...at least.

It is worth the $4 or so to have a fresh, strong, kink-free leader. It is also worth it to have a few extras on hand.

Posted on: 3/10 23:04



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