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Old 12-06-2012, 09:45 AM
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Default 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

Hi - I love my 6 weight and use it mostly with medium flies (6-12) for warm water fishing. Usually I use 8 pound test as tippet and have absolutely no problems.

I'd like to throw some more soft hackles in the 10-14 size, and would like to step down a little in tippet size for these flies, particularly the 14 size.

What is the lightest tippet you'd use on a 6 weight (given that you have one) without having to underplay the fish due to risk of breaking off? Could I get away with 3-4x? 3X is about the same dia as most brands of 4 pound test (0.08), so I don't know whether I should trust it.

Thanks!
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

The #6 I used most of this past season is the smooth and powerful ECHO3. Yes I threw some large flies with it but I also fished #16 dry flies on 5X tippet...no problem. While I fish more #5's and 4's trout fishing, I consider modern light weight 6's to be under-appreciated. Having a bit more line mass is a big advantage in many situations.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

The size tippet you can use on a 6 weight rod depends on a lot of things; the rod action, your skills at playing fish and if the fish is large enough, the smoothness of your drag etc.
I can land fish quite readily using 5 and 6X tippet on my 6 weight but then it has a nice soft tip that helps absorb the loads of a head shake. The type and action of the rod I feel is the biggest determinant of how light you can go on tippet.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

I'm with sweetandsalt and Jackster on this one, as I have had to use 5 and 6x on a number of occasions with my 6wt. But like Jackster, the action on the rod helps absorb aggressive action by the fish.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

Rod action is going to have a lot of influence on this as is species being caught and the angler.

If you have a a rifle fast 6wt, it might not be up to the task of protecting real light tippet. If you have a very moderate or progressive action rod, it might.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

The weight rating of the rod usually has very little to do with what tippet you use. Tippet size is usually defined by conditions and fly size. I don't have the chart in front of me, but sizes 10-14 would likely be a 2x-4x tippet. I would think that you could use the 3x (or line equivalent) and be just fine.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

What these guys said about rod action is true, however you can, if you have good reflexes and play the fish entirely by hand, get away with really small tippet and big fish that fight hard. The longer the rod the better off you are. You can do a lot with a long rod to keep a fish from busting you off. Here is a pretty nice Smallmouth caught with a 2lb. tippet on a 15' 8/9 wt. rod. The real trick is getting a fly with any weight to it any distance on tiny tippet.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

THAT is a good looking small mouth! I downplay rod action or rod tip "softness" in fighting fish with trout sized rods. Even a super quick #5 or 6 should not pose a problem with tippet protection. Actually a rapid recovery tip should better communicate the fish's every shake and thrust. This is much more an issue of angler sensitivity to the actions of the fish-fighting-for-it-life (it thinks) with the rod angel, reel drag setting and your fingers tuned to the give and take. I'll bet that smallie pulled like heck.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

Dan and SweetandSalt have it on the money! Using your line hand not the reel is the key to light tippets . Hand sensitivity ,when to give and take is what it's all about with light tippets. Even on SW fish. Four lb plus Summer Flounder on 2lb tippet from the deep all with hand control no reel!
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: 6 Weight rod, lightest tippet size can I get away with?

I agree with all of the above, it really depends on the species of fish you’re going for? When I nymph fish with my 6wt I have a 5’ in length fluorocarbon furled leader made from 4lb test, I then tie in a 2’ section of 8 lb test and splice in a 3’ section of 4lb test fluorocarbon for my main tippet. It turns any fly I throw with ease and no drag problems; I also use the same set-up for my 4wt & 5wt rods.
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