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> > Questions about leaders and tippets

Cptenn94April 25th, 2015, 4:52 am
Chattanooga

Posts: 17
Hello I am new to this forum. To start I will give a introduction. My name is Cory, and I purchased my first fly rod around December 2014(a wild water 5 wt rod combo),

I had always thought fly fishing was kind of cool, though I had never seen it. I became particularily attracted to learning it after watching some fly fisherman fishing, while I was fishing with spinning tackle, on a river near where I live(about a hour drive), called the Hiwassee river, in South Eastern Tennessee.

When I first purchased the rod, I had been scouring the internet for instructional videos, and learned many things about fly fishing. However I did not have money for waders, and could not wet wade in the chilly water. So my rod sat collecting dust for a few months.

Then during a trip with spinning gear I decided to wade to partially wade to get to what looked like a good spot. I discovered the water was actually not that chilly. That renewed my interest coupled with the fact that the TWRA seasonally stocked the creek where I live off of.

To date, I have only caught a few tiny bluegill, and a creek chub, and hooked what was either a trout or smallmouth. But that excitement was enough to really get me hooked(pun intended). My current goal is to land my first trout on a fly, then try to land a brown and/or a brookie.

So now I am joining this forum, and hopefully some others as well to get some guidance, and learn from the experience and wisdom of any who will share it.



Now introduction aside without further ado, here are some of my questions

My first question is about tippets and leaders.

http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/choosing-equipment/equipment-articles/474-how-to-choose-the-right-tippet-size

What I mean by that, is at least from this chart, it seems that you should use a certain tippet size for a certain size fly you are using.

My specific question in relation to that, is do you also need to change the leader size to match the tippet size?

For example do I need a different leader as well as tippet if I am going to cast a size 24 fly on my 5 wt rod. Or am I fine with the leader, and just need to use a smaller sized tippet?




Also would I need a larger tippet and/or leader for using a heavier fly such as a wooly bugger? It seems clear you would want a heaver tippet, but I am not sure about the leader.(my 5x tippet clearly does not turn over wooly buggers at least with my technique)



Finally I have 2 final questions.
What sized tippets should I own for fishing for trout and panfish mainly(I currently have 5x mono and 5x flourocarbon?

What is a good floating line for a beginner that is durable and good quality, yet not too expensive?

I am looking at possibly replacing my current line for something that would be a little better, and last a little longer.




WbranchApril 25th, 2015, 9:57 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2484
Hello Cory,

Welcome to the Troutnut forum. I've entered my responses within your inquiries in bolded text.

http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/choosing-equipment/equipment-articles/474-how-to-choose-the-right-tippet-size I'm not sure what this is (I'm lazy and don't feel like opening it but assume it is some sort of chart that defines the relationship between hook sizes and tippet diameters)

What I mean by that, is at least from this chart, it seems that you should use a certain tippet size for a certain size fly you are using.Yes, that is correct. To provide the best conditions for your fly to move properly in the water, and yet have enough strength and stiffness to cast the fly and not break too easily, there are guidelines to what the diameter of your tippet should be in relation to the size of your fly. They are guidelines only and not set in stone. Most charts will indicate that too. If you are using a #12 fly the optimum tippet size might be 4X but some times it might be very windy and you will need to "punch" the forward cast out to straighten out the cast so you would select 3X as it is a bigger diameter. Conversely you may have seen a big trout rising and he won't rise to the 4X tippet so you add a piece of 5X to gain a more stealthy presentation.

My specific question in relation to that, is do you also need to change the leader size to match the tippet size?No, not at all. Most leaders, no matter if they are 7 1/2', 9', or 12' are going to have approximately the same butt (big end) diameter and be tapered from large end to small end progressively. A heavier butt (something I have always preferred) provides for a much smoother transition from the end of the fly line. For a given leader, depending on manufacturer and end use, a leader butt diameter may be from .022" - .027". To carry my comment a step further I would use a smaller diameter leader butt for a #3 line than I would for a #7 line.

For example do I need a different leader as well as tippet if I am going to cast a size 24 fly on my 5 wt rod. Or am I fine with the leader, and just need to use a smaller sized tippet?No, you can use the same leader just attach a lighter tippet. For a #24 fly you should be adding a piece of 7X. Some guys who are experts and very light handed will go with 8X. I though always go with the strongest diameter tippet that will still get the trout to eat the fly so I would most likely try 6X first. On very small flies the lighter tippet allows the fly to move much more naturally.

There is a relatively new gadget/gizmo that will let you use one leader for the entire season and never lose any of it's original length. Of course you can change the whole leader if you want to use one with a heavier butt or tippet. It is called a "Tippet Ring" and it is a seamless micro sized stainless steel ring of between 1mm (.039") and 1.5mm (.059")that you clinch knot to the small end of your leader and then add a length of tippet 24" - 36" onto the other end. Then when your tippet starts getting shorter and shorter from changing flies or you get one of those pesky wind knots you can just cut it off of the tippet ring and tie on a new tippet. They are so tiny, and almost weightless, that you can even use them when dry fly fishing as the miniscule weight will not pierce the surface tension of the water.

Also would I need a larger tippet and/or leader for using a heavier fly such as a wooly bugger? It seems clear you would want a heaver tippet, but I am not sure about the leader.(my 5x tippet clearly does not turn over wooly buggers at least with my technique) Yep, same response, but in reverse, as the one I provided above. Heavier flies are much more resistant to the wind and a light tippet just collapses when you are completing the forward cast and there is not enough stiffness to turn the fly over. Remember though it is all a matter of fly size; If you are using a #10 Woolly Bugger you should be able to turn it over with a 4X tippet of no more than 2' - 3'. But if you are using a #2 Woolly Bugger you are going to want to use a 0X - 2X tippet. I fish lots of big streamers and catch many big trout and it is my opinion that since you are usually, at some point in the cast, pulling the fly away from the fish that you don't need to adhere to the general tippet diameter rules. For fly sizes #6 - #2 I would never use less than 1X tippet and for #1 - #2/0 flies I'll use 0X or even heavier.

Finally I have 2 final questions.

What sized tippets should I own for fishing for trout and panfish mainly(I currently have 5x mono and 5x fluorocarbon?Fluorocarbon usually costs three times as much as monofilament and I'm not convinced, by any means, that it is three times more effective. I used fluorocarbon, for years, for all my dry fly fishing. Don't ask me why but I did. Then two years ago I went back to monofilament and my catch rate has not gone done at all. I still use it for much, but not all, of my sunken fly work. I use it when nymphing to get the effect of the almost invisibility it provides. But when I streamer fish I use stiff and strong mono/nylon. For your trout and panfish I'd suggest having spools of 3X - 6X all the time and a spool of 7X for the instances when you need to use really small flies and the waters you are fishing are very low and clear and the fish are very spooky.

What is a good floating line for a beginner that is durable and good quality, yet not too expensive?

Rio makes a line called "Avid" for $55 that provides "supple, self lubricating coating that stays slick." I bought an Avid for a bonefish trip I went on knowing I didn't need the best line in the world for a one week trip. Scientific Anglers manufactures the "Frequency Trout Fly Line" for $50 that "improves distance, high floating head for superior line control". Both have welded loops on the small end of the line so you can do a loop to loop connection. Here is my opinion on loop to loop; they are very east to complete and are very strong but I still prefer a well tied nail knot with a coating of Loon UV Knot Sense for the smoothest line to leader transition.

I hope this will have answered most of your inquiries.





Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Cptenn94April 25th, 2015, 3:28 pm
Chattanooga

Posts: 17





There is a relatively new gadget/gizmo that will let you use one leader for the entire season and never lose any of it's original length. Of course you can change the whole leader if you want to use one with a heavier butt or tippet. It is called a "Tippet Ring" and it is a seamless micro sized stainless steel ring of between 1mm (.039") and 1.5mm (.059")that you clinch knot to the small end of your leader and then add a length of tippet 24" - 36" onto the other end. Then when your tippet starts getting shorter and shorter from changing flies or you get one of those pesky wind knots you can just cut it off of the tippet ring and tie on a new tippet. They are so tiny, and almost weightless, that you can even use them when dry fly fishing as the miniscule weight will not pierce the surface tension of the water.



Yep I have heard of tippet rings. In fact 2 of my leaders that I bought(I bought 2 furled leaders to try them out) have tippet rings. Eventually I will probably buy some tippet rings for my tapered leaders.

Yep, same response, but in reverse, as the one I provided above. Heavier flies are much more resistant to the wind and a light tippet just collapses when you are completing the forward cast and there is not enough stiffness to turn the fly over. Remember though it is all a matter of fly size; If you are using a #10 Woolly Bugger you should be able to turn it over with a 4X tippet of no more than 2' - 3'. But if you are using a #2 Woolly Bugger you are going to want to use a 0X - 2X tippet. I fish lots of big streamers and catch many big trout and it is my opinion that since you are usually, at some point in the cast, pulling the fly away from the fish that you don't need to adhere to the general tippet diameter rules. For fly sizes #6 - #2 I would never use less than 1X tippet and for #1 - #2/0 flies I'll use 0X or even heavier.



Wouldnt having a larger diameter tipper than the end of the leader affect the casting though?



Rio makes a line called "Avid" for $55 that provides "supple, self lubricating coating that stays slick." I bought an Avid for a bonefish trip I went on knowing I didn't need the best line in the world for a one week trip. Scientific Anglers manufactures the "Frequency Trout Fly Line" for $50 that "improves distance, high floating head for superior line control". Both have welded loops on the small end of the line so you can do a loop to loop connection. Here is my opinion on loop to loop; they are very east to complete and are very strong but I still prefer a well tied nail knot with a coating of Loon UV Knot Sense for the smoothest line to leader transition.

I hope this will have answered most of your inquiries.



Well so far I have been using the nail knot myself. I actually have not used loop to loop leader connection yet.

Thanks for all your answers.
WbranchApril 25th, 2015, 5:24 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2484
Cory,

Wouldnt having a larger diameter tipper than the end of the leader affect the casting though?


I'm not sure that I understand your question. The butt (end closest to the fly line) is always going to be a larger diameter than the end furthest from the fly line and attached to your fly.

The use of a larger diameter tippet must always be viewed though with what size fly you are planning to tie on. If you select a 3X tippet and attach it to a #16 fly (assuming you can get the end of the tippet through the eye of the hook) the clinch knot is going to be quite bulky on that small fly and the inherent stiffness of 3X is not going to allow the fly to move very naturally on the end of the leader.

A larger diameter tippet will turn over larger flies better than a smaller diameter tippet because the larger diameter has the stiffness to support the fly in it's forward flight.

Like I said in one of my other comments I always prefer to use the strongest tippet that will still induce a trout to rise, or strike, my fly. I hate breaking off fish and I believe fly presentation, and line management skills, are of almost equal importance to tippet size. I always believe the fish will still eat the fly attached to a heavier tippet if my presentation is flawless.

BTW I mentioned an arbitrary tippet length of 24" - 36". You can use whatever length you want as long as you are a proficient enough caster to turn over a longer tippet or are using a extra long tippet to perform a "puddle cast" and pile most of the tippet up below you and let the current take the fly, and coiled tippet, downstream for a longer drag free float. I seldom would ever use a 24" tippet when fishing dry flies but I often use tippets as short as 20" when nymph fishing. Sometimes on really windless days and rivers that are very clear with big spooky trout I'll tie on a piece of 5X that might by 4' long and wind up with an 18' tapered leader.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MotroutApril 26th, 2015, 1:08 pm
Posts: 319
I'll take a crack at this, even though everything has probably been covered.

-The strength of the leader itself is relatively unimportant. The only thing you'd probably want to avoid is using a tippet that is heavier than what the leader tapers down to. But as long as your tippet is as light/lighter than what the leader tapers to you're fine.

-You will certainly want to adjust tippet size to fly size, for operational reasons as much as anything. If you are fishing a #20 fly, 2x tippet may not fit through the eye, and even if it did, would be massive in relation to the fly and mess up the drift royally. On the other hand, using 6x tippet to toss streamers is going to cause you just as many problems. The fish you hook will tend to be larger, strike harder, and break your tippet before you even get into the meat of the fight.

-As a GENERAL rule (I highlight general, because it varies a lot based on the situation) for flies #12-16, 4x-5x is usually pretty appropriate. #18-22, I usually use 6x, and anything smaller is probably 7x, but I rarely get into that territory myself. If I am fishing woollies or other small streamers (ie #6-10) 3x is pretty appropriate, or 2x in more turbulent conditions. Like the really small stuff, I rarely toss the massive streamers that require chain-link fence for tippet, so I'm not the one to ask there.

-Use common sense based on the situation. If you are fishing silky, smooth water (ie a spring creek, or slow pools in a freestone) then you will want to go lighter to avoid spooking fish. If you are fishing a bouldery, pocket water stream in the mountains, or a lightly fished creek, you can get away with tippet that is a lot heavier than what you think would work. And sometimes, you have to throw out the rulebook altogether. I was fishing a mountain tailwater this summer with unusually large trout, and even when nymphing, the locals (rightly) suggested tippet anywhere from 0x to 2x...because anything smaller results in dead fish from excessive fighting and a lot of breakoffs. So, like anything in the world of fly fishing, it depends.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Cptenn94April 28th, 2015, 6:52 pm
Chattanooga

Posts: 17
Wbranch

What I meant was about since in general from the line to the fly, the lines generally taper down. So lets say i have a fly line that is 3 mm in diameter. Then I have a butt section of a leader that is say 2mm. And then that leader tapers down to .8 mm.


So my question had more to do with leader tippet diameter differences, than it had to do with tippet length.


My question was more of wouldnt a tippet that is larger in diameter than the end of the leader affect the casting?

So in a sentence would a line that is 3mm, butt section that is 2mm and a leader end of .8 mm ultimately be affected in casting by a tippet that is larger than .8mm?


To me it seems that the transfer of energy wouldnt be as smooth at least.



However after doing some thinking, I think I understand the answer to my own question. That would be this.

A tippet that is equal to, or less than in diameter to the end of the leader will present a fly more smoothly and perhaps accurately than using a tippet that is in larger diameter that the end of the tippet.


Ultimately though the performance in general is not affected very heavily, unless you use a tippet that is greatly different in size.(say a 1.6 mm tippet paired with a .8mm end section of the leader)






I do not think this question is very important.


A more important question would be this: Are fas snaps worth using, or do they just affect the sensitivity and hook setting ability to much?

Here is a picture of fas snaps



My personal experience is that they definitely make changing out flies simple and quick, and at least they are useful for finding out what the trout are keying in on. Also they can serve as a secondary hook(my first fish caught on a fly on the Hiwassee River, was a creek chu that somehow managed to get hooked by the fas snap, instead of the hook. Also the fas snaps are quite strong and do not bend easily.

A clear downside of the fas snaps is the fact that they cannot be used on very small flies, and that they sometimes can lose a fly(so far this has only happened with a off brand version)


I like them for fishing with lures on spinning rod fishing, but I am on the fence about them for use in fly fishing.





Thanks for all the answers so far, and I look forward to having success and sharing it with you guys!
WbranchApril 28th, 2015, 8:36 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2484
Okay, I'm not an expert but in my experience I would say that in 99% of the time you are fresh water fishing the tippet end of the leader (the end closest to the fly) is going to be of a smaller diameter than the butt end or the end closest to the fly line.

There are instances in salt water where a much stronger, and thicker, tippet is attached to the leader. This is used when salt water fish have sharp teeth and also where there is the possibility the hooked fish will try to run into mangroves or wrap the line around pilings and the much stronger tippet will provide significant resistance to abrasion. I don't salt water fly fish very often but I think that is called a shock tippet. A Bimini Twist knot is used to attach monofilament lines of great differences in diameter. Here is a fish where I used a shock tippet. The actual leader was 9' 12# test with a 18" long piece of 40# mono attached as a bite/abrasion tippet.



Here is a real mouthful of teeth! I used a wire leader.



I'm not a fan of the Fas Snaps except when fishing bigger streamers. It really doesn't take very long to tie a clinch knot or a loop knot when fishing streamers. In my experience when you use the small Fas Snaps it is very hard to get it off of the fly if you want to use another pattern.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Cptenn94April 30th, 2015, 3:14 am
Chattanooga

Posts: 17
That is a nice looking barracuda!

I have only caught one of them and that was while trolling when I was on a sailboat as part of the coral reef snorkeling/sailing program of Seabase(a boy scout high adventure camp)

I did see plenty of them when snorkeling, and boy did they always look menacing just sitting there suspended, with all those teeth.

I did catch a mahi mahi, a cobia, and a bonnet head shark as well during that trip.


You mentioned using fas snaps on streamers, did you notice any performance issues/differences while using them?

I personally can get the flies off the small fas snaps just fine. My main concern is that they may affect performance/action and sensitivity of the fly, both during cast and when the fly is on the water.
WbranchApril 30th, 2015, 6:51 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2484
I personally can get the flies off the small fas snaps just fine. My main concern is that they may affect performance/action and sensitivity of the fly


I just don't like seeing an appendage hanging off a small fly. It is unnatural looking. My point is it is so easy to tie a clinch knot why would anyone want to add something that might hinder the effectiveness of the fly?

Here is a link to a tutorial on the non slip loop knot. I use it on streamers as it allows the fly to move freely. This knot may allow the streamer to move more freely but it takes more time to tie than a clinch knot.

http://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/non-slip-loop-knot/
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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