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Old 07-26-2013, 10:43 AM
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Default Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

I've searched through some of the older threads discussing fluorocarbon tippets, and have a question I didn't see discussed: Is there a difference (other than packaging) between fluorocarbon tippet sold specifically for flyfishing and the larger spools of fluorocarbon line sold for spin fishing? I'm seeing more and more fluorocarbon line for sale in outdoor stores around here, I think mostly for walleye fishing. The 100-150 yard spools are about the same price as a spool of fluoro tippet.

So... for the same diameter / strength, is there a functional difference, or is it just that those larger spools are too big to fit in a vest and companies know that us flyfishermen tend to be willing to spend quite a bit of $ on our sport than others? Is there a difference in in flexibility, toughness, etc, assuming we're comparing reputable brands? I'm pretty sure I've got some empty tippet spools that I could rewind with 30 yards off a 100 yard spool if that's all it takes...

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

ryan
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

Good question. I look forward to the comments from the more experienced fly fishermen.

I put P-line on an empty tippet spool. I like the properties and it's cheaper than buying tippet material.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

You can use it as tippet. But in addition to strength and diameter it also matter how limp or stiff the line is and perhaps how much stretch it has. I just buy tippet spools so haven't worried about it myself.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

I have yet to find a fluorocarbon line that has the same strength to diameter as tippet material. When you compare the same diameter of fluorocarbon line with fluorocarbon tippet, the tippet material is stronger. That means you can use a thinner tippet of the same strength and get a more supple tippet that will give a more natural drift.

The popular line to use as tippet material is Pline so check out the diameter vs strength below

The 6 lb test Pline is 3X:

Click the image to open in full size.

Now compare with the commonly sold fluorocarbon 3X tippets:

Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


So you can use Pline at 6 lb or Orvis at 9.2 lbs for the same 3X diameter.

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Last edited by silver creek; 07-26-2013 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smarty140 View Post
I've searched through some of the older threads discussing fluorocarbon tippets, and have a question I didn't see discussed: Is there a difference (other than packaging) between fluorocarbon tippet sold specifically for flyfishing and the larger spools of fluorocarbon line sold for spin fishing? I'm seeing more and more fluorocarbon line for sale in outdoor stores around here, I think mostly for walleye fishing. The 100-150 yard spools are about the same price as a spool of fluoro tippet.

So... for the same diameter / strength, is there a functional difference, or is it just that those larger spools are too big to fit in a vest and companies know that us flyfishermen tend to be willing to spend quite a bit of $ on our sport than others? Is there a difference in in flexibility, toughness, etc, assuming we're comparing reputable brands? I'm pretty sure I've got some empty tippet spools that I could rewind with 30 yards off a 100 yard spool if that's all it takes...

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!

ryan
That really is the difference. Fly line manufacturers are building leader materials that are much thinner and stronger than their conventional line company counterparts. Rio's Fluoroflex Plus, Umpqua Superfluoro, Seaguar Grand Max 2x material have a diameter of .009" and are rated around 12 pound test. Various conventional line companies .009" diameter lines average around 6 pound test. It is also interesting to know that the strength ratings to diameter are different between Seaguar fluorocarbon lines versus its own fly fishing leader materials.

The reason for the high cost of fluorocarbon tippets is due to building a higher quality product and economy of scale. There is a bit more engineering in a leader material that is stronger in thinner diameters but retains the suppleness to make nice presentations. Also the economy of scale is going to favor the conventional line companies. They are just going to pump out more line.

Here's a warning. Be very careful mixing conventional fluoro material with fluoro tapered leaders. Knot strength will be greatly reduced.

Dennis
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

I agree with the assertion that fluorocarbon lines tend to be thicker than fluorocarbon tippet of equal breaking strength. For this reason I still use fluorocarbon tippet rather than substituting fluorocarbon line.

However, I feel that fluorocarbon tippet manufacturers are probably making a huge profit when they sell 25 or 30 yard spools for $15-18. I feel violated every time I have to shell out this amount for something that probably costs $.50 to manufacture.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

So, this thread really brought to light something that I never gave much thought to or even looked into all that much.

I see these tippet spools selling for the same price or close to a much larger spool of regular fishing line and always just chuckle at how much they are trying to rip off the fly fishing folks.

Until now, I had never really even paid attention to the diameter differences and am stunned at the difference. Needless to say, I just ordered several sizes/materials of tippets ranging from 20lb to 5x.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

There are several issues here.

The first is the obvious Strength per Diameter issue and tippets win over line both for fluorocarbon and nylon mono.

This is not just a theoretical advantage in fluorocarbon that is used mainly underwater. A thinner tippet has less surface area that is proportional to the square of the diameter. So not only will a thinner tippet sink faster but it will have less drag through the water to pull on the fly. So visibility is not the only issue. Thinner tippets reduce drag.

The second, less obvious reason to buy the tippet, is suppleness. In most instances tippet should be supple because they are on the end of leaders and suppleness is the ability that allows flies to move more freely. A stiff tippet of the same diameter as a supple tippet will tend to straighten rather than to fall with slack. Slack allows a drag free drift.

Not all fluorocarbon tippets are the same. Seaguar Grand Max is the most supple fluorocarbon that is commonly available in the USA and has good breaking strength.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

Ryan, I haven't purchased tippet material in a lot of years. IMO, what you decide to use will depend on how you're using it. Here's my perspective on tippet material versus regular lines.

First, I have the highest regard for the opinions of Silver Creek & MoscaPescador, as they always provide sensible opinions & world class information. However, IMO, unless you're primarily fishing tiny flies, it won't matter much for most anglers.

As far as breaking strength & diameter comparing the two materials, what they're saying is true. But you have to decide if those advantages are worth the additional cost to you. For me it's not. I would rather buy a bulk spool of line, one which I might also use on other tackle, than buy the tippet. If additional strength is needed, I simply go to a heavier material. Breaking strengths are also averages, tested & determined in a controlled manner. Fishing is seldom controlled. As long as I use a line of sufficient strength for the fishing I'm doing, I pay little attention to what's on the label.

Diameter is not usually an issue for me either, even though as Silver Creek pointed out, there are advantages to smaller diameter. Regardless, there will always be compromises. You have to decide if or how it will affect the fishing you do. If you look at the chart Silver posted above, and was to lay tippets of various brands in a similar size side by side, you would likely need a micrometer to see any difference. Minute differences, not huge.

I don't do much trout fishing, and the little I might do now doesn't justify buying tippet. The bulk spools work fine. Even when I fish smaller size flies, I can tie the fly on a heavier tippet via a loop & have little problems with drift.
I also haven't used a dry fly for many, many years. When I have fished surface flies for trout, they're terrestrials which usually plop down on the water & move around anyway. Drag is not often a problem.

I'm also not a big fan of fluoro. IMO, the "invisible in water" is hype. No one can prove to me that fish can't see it, and even if they can't, I've never believed it makes any difference anyway. I've often fished jigs with baitcasting rods & 65 lb hi vis yellow braid, where I tie direct to the jig & have caught plenty of bass. They don't know what that line is & cannot reason that it's not good. If a trout can see a size 28 midge, then chances are they can see fluoro line, or at least know it's there. Before fluoro lines, plenty of fish, including trout were caught on line they certainly could see. There might be a time that I find that fluoro makes a difference, but as yet I've not experienced it.

Drag on the other hand, or the reflection of sunlight off a line material, or even the imprint of the material laying on the surface can be an issue, but it can be with any material.

Even the advantage of suppleness aiding with drag free drift as Silver Creek has said, is not a guarantee of the end result. There are still other factors involved in getting that drag free drift. His point is valid about using material that aids in getting that drag free drift, so if you feel it's necessary to use fluoro tippet, then use it.

If you're not primarily fishing tiny flies, and particularly dry flies, then the regular fluoro or mono/polymer/copolymer lines will all work.

I was told by a fellow once, many, many years ago that I "had" to use tippet material to catch trout. I found out that Stren works too! Go figure!

There are no absolutes in fly fishing. There are compromises. IMO, if you feel that tippet material is an advantage to you which justifies the cost, then most certainly buy it & use it. If you don't feel the additional cost justifies any advantage you might gain, then don't buy it.

It's really is as simple as that.

BTW, I tie my own leaders & use Yozuri Hybrid for the leader & tippet. This is a fluoro coated material. I like the additional abrasion resistance, and it casts well.

It has worked very well for me, and I like it on some of my baitcasters & spinning reels also. Since I'm primarily a bass, panfish & saltwater angler I see no reason to buy tippet materials or to change what I'm doing.

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Old 07-27-2013, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

BigJim's approach is a sensible one.

I cannot tell you what is best for you. You must decide that.

The key problem with any approach in fly fishing and this is especially true in nymphing is that we often do not know for certain why a fish refuses the fly. When fishing a dry fly we can sometimes guess at the possible reasons because we SEE the refusal, BUT when nymphing we do not even know a fish refused the fly at the last instant. The refusal occurs underwater.

So we may be getting a lot of lookers but no takers. What can we do to improve our odds when we can't even determine the causes of a refusal?

My approach has been to eliminate or reduce the possible reasons for a refusal. That is why I use fluorocarbon tippet material rather than line.

Can a few thousandths of an inch or even one-thousandth of an inch in diameter make a difference in drift, sink rate, and visibility? Even if it does, does it make a difference to the fish? The answer to your original question is that yes there is a functional (diameter vs strength vs suppleness) difference between regular fishing line and tippet material. The next step is that you must decide for yourself whether the type of fishing you do needs tippet or line material.

For the locations I fish, my decision has been to use the strongest, thinnest, and most supple tippet I can find.
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