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Old 10-08-2015, 10:41 AM
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Default How light of tippet do you go?

I have been fishing griffiths gnats lately for the first time and have been using 6x. I then started using 5x just hoping to fight the fish a bit harder.

So I was reading an article about fishing small dry flies and they had a chart showing what tippet size for smaller flies and a size 20 griffiths gnat was recommended on a 7x leader.

I have also heard to use as heavy of a tippet as you can get away with. Which makes sense to me because are people really catching several pound rainbow trout on 7x line? Brookies are one thing, but bigger trout really pull.

So these are two opposing ideas as best I can tell. Unless I am missing something. Should I be trying to match my fly to tippet size for presentation or should I use as heavy of a tippet as I can catch fish on?

. Any ideas on the topic? When you are throwing a size 20 or 22 griffiths gnats to rainbows that might be 16-18 inches long what size tippet are you doing it with? Is 7x really the prevailing wisdom? Is 5x too heavy?

Thanks for the help guys. I am new to trout fishing.
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

I use 7x for size 22-24 dries, especially for leader shy pressured fish.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

For a dry early in the season, I use 5x. As the season progresses and water gets lower, I go to a 6x. I have some 7x, but shy away from using it unless it is extremely low and the trout are not too large, usually 12" or shorter.

For a dry dropper, I use 5x early for the dropper and then go to a 6x for later with low water.

I primarily fish the Smokies for wild trout where the sizes are not like stocked waters.


Most of my dries are 14-18 size and nymphs about the same.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

I often throw tiny flies for big trout. This past month we have been crushing big browns during the Trico Hatch. I have been using flies sized from 20ís, 22ís, 24ís. I use 5X when I can. (it fits the hook eye). I have become a fan of the 5.5x From Trout hunter as well. I agree that you want to use the largest Tippet possible. Years ago, I played the game of using very small tippets 6x, 7x and sometimes 8x. Yes, I landed some great fish, but I also lost many. The past few years I have been upping my tippet size. I often fish 5x and land these big browns all day long. Now, the water I am fishing is not crazy fast current, so I am basically fighting the fish only. (not fish and fast current). Specifically, this last season, I used lots of 4x tippet on dries. I have been impressed with the hook up and landed fish ratio. I have not experienced a drop off in takes using the 4x tippet.

This is my rule of thumb for my local waters. If fishing fast currents I use 4x & 5x to help turn the fish. If I am fishing slower currents but with Big Fish, I use 5x and 5.5x most often. https://www.cutthroatfurledleaders.c...et-detail.html

This is only my opinion and many others will have thoughts of their own, but I believe if you get a good presentation, with a good drift and proper mending, the larger tippet size will not spoke fish. There have been a few decent studies done, showing fish taking dry flies on very heavy tippets when the fly and tippet were simply free flowing down river (not attached to a rod & line). This tells us that when a proper drift is created, the tippet size has little effect.

I will admit that heavier (stiffer / stouter) tippet is more difficult to get a perfect presentations, but it can be done. Best of luck.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

I'm in the 'as heavy as you can get away with' camp.
If the tippet is spooking the fish, or you're afraid it might be, then go smaller.
You can lean on and land a fish much faster with heavier tippet than with really light.
I carry everything down to 1 lb., but don't use the really light stuff unless I have to.
Usually, I'm in the 5x-4x range.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

For trout fishing I carry 3x to 7x, but I usually use 4x or 5x. I rarely go finer than 5x, and for really fussy fish I will try 6x fluorocarbon (which is supposedly less visible to the fish than nylon) before going down to 7x. On the stout end, I also rarely use 3x, and when I do, it is for large flies that cast better with the extra stiffness.

I haven't had too many problems breaking off fish with 6x, but I find that the finer the tippet, the easier it is to tangle and the harder to untangle.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

I usually stick to the chart, I use 3x for sizes 10-14, 4x for 12-16, 5x for 14-18, etc. I can go up or down from there but don't often
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

I mostly use 5x and 6x. I carry 7x but only use it for small brookies. Truth be told it's hard to see without putting on the cheaters and I'm to impatient/stubborn to dig around for glasses every time I change flies.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

Thanks for the responses guys. I am glad that I am not crazy for using 5x tippet. I was using the 6x but lost a nice trout on it. I learned how to play the fish with the drag and feel confident with 6x now but I wouldn't want to go lighter.

But I will stick with the 5x for now unless I notice a problem. Trout really fight hard and with the 5x hopefully I can really feel it and get the rod bent. I have been having to let the drag do the work so much with the 6x.


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Old 10-08-2015, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: How light of tippet do you go?

I live my whole trout fishing life with two spools of fluoro, an 8# and a 4#. I don't do much with dries. Now and then I wish I had something lighter for the tiniest midge larvae but in general I fish big flies.
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