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Old 04-12-2011, 04:59 PM
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Default Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

I've always heard to use the divide by 3 rule for tippet size to use on the size fly (hook) you are using. I've also heard the 4 rule. I have always taken that for granted on dry flies mainly. When nymphing or using streamers what is the rule for choosing the correct size leader/tippet for the fly. Sometimes we (flyfishermen) use #14 nymphs without beads and some with beadheads. Now we have a difference in weight along with the difference in fly size. I've also heard never ty tippets more than 2 sizes smaller to you leader unless you ty a small section of in between tippet first. Is this a "feel" thing or "how does your fly react" when casting. Does it also depend on conditions of the stream. Ex: Very calm versus more turbit. All help is welcome.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

The two rules of thumb I've heard are divide fly size by 3 OR divide fly size by 4 and add one. Ex. size 12/3=4 or 12/4=3+1=4. They usually work out to be the same.

Beadhead or not doesn't seem to make much difference to me, even tungsten beads. If your leader/tippet won't straighten it is probably too light.

The primary reason for not dropping more than two sizes tippet to leader has more to do with knot reliability than casting.

Rich
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

Sometimes I think that as fly fishers we tend to do a bit of over thinking. For those that are new or those that are very rigid this stance becomes the default position easier.

In my experience I have used 5X for nearly all trout fishing situations moving to 6X in super clear water with picky fish and sub size 14 flies and jumping to 4X for fast water and more wild fish with flies greater than a size 8-ish.

Certainly throwing a size 8 woolybugger on 6X is a recipe for disaster but I have fished plenty of little tungsten bead head woolys in size 12/14 on 6X. Furthermore, I have thrown some pretty burley woolys in a size 8 on 5X, the modern fluorocarbon 5X is some pretty strong stuff. I guess what I'm saying is try not to get too caught up in math.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

As far as where I fish, it's more about the water and the size and nature of the fish than the size of the fly. I recently went up to Montana and a guide told me to use 3x because the fish are not "leader shy." In a place like the South Platte I use 6x because they most certainly are leader shy. So I suppose my input is use the biggest leader you can get away with for strength without spooking the fish.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:02 AM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

I divide by 3 or 4 also. Hate going smaller than 6X
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

Thank You Gentlemen for your input. I do tend to make to much of a big deal out of am I using the right size leader/tippet sometimes. I usually will use 4X leaders and change my tippets accordingly. I will use 5X tippets on anything size 12 thru 16. I use 6X on 16 thru 20's. I refuse to use 7X. Tying that and keeping a fish on will make any man snap! I don't know how u guys can use 7X with say a #20 or #22 midge and ty that while on the river fishing. I envy you! Thanks again for all your thoughts.

What do you guys use to take the rolled up memory in leaders when you take them out of the package to straighten them.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

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Originally Posted by deerslayer View Post
I don't know how u guys can use 7X with say a #20 or #22 midge and ty that while on the river fishing. ...
What do you guys use to take the rolled up memory in leaders when you take them out of the package to straighten them.
Same for #26 & #28, small tippet requires a soft hand and a bit more flex in the rod. For the leaders I just give them a stretch between my two hands.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

I gave up on tippet calculations years ago. I use 4x or 5x for nearly all of my situations, using flies from 10's to 22's, both nymphs and dries. On the smaller flies I use a loop knot for tippet to fly connection which allows the small fly to move somewhat naturally in the currents and not act like its attached to a 2x4 . Very rarely do I drop down to 6x, it happens sometimes depending on the situation, but its not normally determined by the calculation of fly size to tippet.

Often, when using streamers or flies larger than a size 10 hook I will step up to 2x, also using a loop knot for fly connection.

bjweller said it best that we should use whatever the strongest tippet we can get away with without spooking the fish.

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Old 04-13-2011, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deerslayer View Post
I've also heard never ty tippets more than 2 sizes smaller to you leader unless you ty a small section of in between tippet first. Is this a "feel" thing or "how does your fly react" when casting.
This is about the transfer of power to the tippet.
If there's not smooth and gradual transition, your tippet will 'hing' making it difficult to drop your fly where you want it.
It has nothing to do with knot strength as someone stated above.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Choosing the right tippet for the fly.

7X, I hear you- If I have to use 7X and a size 22 flies I will generally replace the boxes in my vest with beers and go and find some bluegill. Seriously, I have caught a vast amount of fish and fortunately continue to do so mostly with size 16 and 18s and 5X, I can't imagine the need to move to 7 or 8X.
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