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Understanding Fly Leaders & Tippets

 

One of things that seems to confuse novice fly fishers is the proper selection of leaders and tippets. Leaders for fly fishing are a tapered piece of monofilament or fluorocarbon, thicker in the butt and tapered to thinner at the front. This not only provides a separation from the fly line to the fly but also aids in casting the fly. The tippet is a piece of level monofilament or fluorocarbon about one or two feet in length that is added at the end of the leader. It must be the same diameter or one size smaller than the end of the leader. The tippet is primarily a sacrificial piece of line that allows you to cut off tangles or tie on new flies without shortening the tapered leader. By doing this you will extend the life or your leader. When the tippet gets too short, just add a new length and your leader remains intact. One of the common mistakes made is purchasing leaders/tippet based on breaking strength rather than fly size. Leaders/tippet are assigned an X designation based on diameter, the higher the number the finer the material. The size of the fly you are using should dictate the size of leader/tippet you use, not the size of the fish you are pursuing. The chart below is the rule of thumb for fly to leader ratio:

TIPPET SIZE DIAMETER(in.) FLY SIZES
8X .003 24-26-28
7X .004 20-22-24
6X .005 16-18-20
5X .006 14-16-18
4X .007 10-12-14
3X .008 8-10-12
2X .009 6-8-10
1X .010 4-6-8
0X .011 2-4-6

The other common mistake made by fly fishers is the "mixing" of materials. That is using one brand of leader and a different brand of tippet. Even though they may be the same diameter and breaking strength the "hardness" of the materials can be different causing one to cut the other. If you use RIO leaders use RIO tippet, if you Climax leaders use Climax tippet etc.


Previous Fishing Tips & Facts

(1) Selecting the right fly

(2) Road Trips

(3) The Roll cast

(4) Fly-fishing for Pike

(5) Walleye Tip

(6) Mountain Lakers

(7) Hints For Dry Fly Success

(8) Survival Strategies For The Silly Season

(9) Local Advise

(10) It's A Pink Year

(11) Ice Fishin Safety

(12) Third World Travel

(13) Casting Angles

(14) The Rocky Mountain Whitefish Rig

(15) Using Sinking Leaders

(16) The Pike Fisherman's Vest

(17) Walleye Tips

(18) Trophies Are In The Eye Of The Beholder

(19) The Right Tool For The Job

(20) Respect The Weather - Expect The Weather

(21) Approach

(22) Gearing Up For Ice Perch

(23) Do It Yourself Excersions

(24) Shots

(25) Atlantic Salmon Fishing Techniques

(26) Fishing Etiquette In Crowded Conditions

(27) Swinging Caddis Flies

(28) Selecting a Fishing Rod

(29) Pike Angling Retrieves

(30) Detecting The Strike

(31) Unmatch The Hatch

(32) Off The Grid Air Travel

(33) Practise

(34) How Deep Are They Biting?

(35) Netting and Landing Your Fish

(36) Texas Travel Tips

(37) Quick Tips for Triggering Strikes

(38) Be the Last Man Standing

(39) Water Temperature & Trout

(40) Visiting Reindeer Lake

(41) Stillwater Stratagems

(42) Those Crazy Cohos!

(43) Leaders & Tippets

(44) Big Water Strategies

(45) Small Stream Stealth

(46) DO I GET UP EARLY?

(47) ACCESSIBLE PLACES TO FISH

(48) Travelling Angler Tips

(49) Choosing The Right Fly

(50) They come out at Night - Our Friends that is

(51) Fishing at Night

(52) Having Troubles Catching fish?

(53) Having Troubles Finding Fish?

(54) Stay Skinny To Catch Fish

(55) Tips For Fishing With Kids

(56) The Wonderful Woolly Bugger

(57) Wading Safely

(58) Double Your Fun

(59) More About The Red River

(60) Rookie Rod Buying Tips

(61) Hook Sharpening

(62) Going Light

(63) Hopper - Dropper Rigs

(64) Tips For Buying A Pontoon Boat

(65) Fishing Tips and Facts for Sturgeon

(66) Three Flies to Live by

(67) Reading Rise Forms

(68) Tips and Facts for Early Season Success

(69) A Fly for All Seasons

(70) Ice Shelters – Seeing is Believing

(71) Effective approaches to working small streams

(72) Unburdening the Travelling Angler

(73) 5 Flies for Anyones Fly Box

(74) Road Trips

(75) Dry Flies for High & Dirty Water

(76) Tips For Dealing With Biting Bass

(77) Summertime and the Fishin’ Ain’t Easy

(78) Depth and Light

(79) Rigging Large Dry Flies

(80) Best Rod for Spring Angling

(81) Stream Etiquette for Floaters

(82) Tackling Whites Through the Ice

(83) Angling Tips for Finding Books

(84) Winter Smart Open Water Angling

(85) Fall Primer for Pike

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(87) Tips and Tackle for the High Country

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(93) Tips for Mexican Bonefishing

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(95) Understanding Fly Leaders & Tippets

(96) Catfish on the Fly

(97) Get Your Backswimmer On

(98) Reading the Sonar

(99) Insect Identification Made Easy

(100) The Sinker and Floating Plug

(101) GADGETS & GIZMOS for "OLD GUYS"

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(103) Stay On Fish

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(127) The Lure of Lake Whitefish

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(129) A Simple Approach to Ice Fishing

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for Early Season Fish

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(138) Trout Fishing is Red Hot

(139) Dealing With Fishing Pressure

(140) All I Want For Christmas

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(143) Where Did All Those Walleye Go?

(144) Keep an Eye on the Weather, Fury of a Storm

(145) Great and Affordable Fishing on the West Coast

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(147) Prime Time for Lakers

(148) A Slip Bobber is so Much More

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(150) Catching a Big Pike

(151) Purchasing a Rod

(152) Catching Rainbows through the Ice

(153) Gearing up for the Snow and Ice

(154) Gearing Up For Pike

(155) Getting the Most out of Your Fly Fishing Set Up

(156) The Bottom’s Up in Fishing

(157) Fish Where They’re Biting

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(159) Two Early Season Presentations for Pothole Trout

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