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Old 11-20-2008, 09:29 AM
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Default Guidelines for matching rods, lines, leaders, tippets and flies

I have some general questions regarding matching rod weight, line weight, leaders, tippets and flies. On my way back from a trip yesterday I stopped at a small lake late in the afternoon and decided to wet a line. I had my 4 wt and 6 wt in the car and I decided to pull out the 4 wt as I thought my chances were mostly going to be for sunfish. Turns out the only flies I had with me were size 10 through 6. I put on a conehead woolly bugger and could not cast it to save my life. I am new to all of this so this was my first experience trying to throw a bigger fly with a smaller rod. I'm sure my newbie casting skills played a large part in my demise, but it was catastrophic. I got such a tangled mess on my leader with the light waning that i had to just cut if off. Anyway when I got home I did some reading and found some things that talked about matching tippets with flies, etc... So I have some questions:

I read somewhere that a general rule of thumb is to divide the size of the fly by 3 to get the size tippet to us. Is that a good rule to go by?

Is there a rule as to what size of fly to use with different weight rods? For example, never use larger than a size 12 fly on a 4 wt? Or maybe a size 14 if it is weighted with a cone or beadhead?

In hindsight I should have rigged up the 6 wt, but being new the thought never crossed my mind about the fly size and the 4 wt. Anyway, I would appreciate any direction on this area. Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Guidelines for matching rods, lines, leaders, tippets and flies

Hi txbevo,

Your problem can be confusing. Here is a FAQ post that will help you with the tippet/fly size. I have pasted the FAQ post below in case other beginners are also having a problem. There are other FAQ post that a beginner will find useful and if you have not checked them out you should take a look. In your situation a heavier and shorter tippet may have been useful. It is important that you use the correct fly line weight for your target fish and fly weight. Remember you are casting the fly line and the fly goes along for the ride. So you need a line heavy enough to carry the weight of the fly you are using. You would have had much better results with the 6wt rod.

Frank

What size tippet do I use?
The size and weight of the fly determines what size tippet works best with that fly. A 3wt rod is for smaller flies and the leader will have a lighter tippet. If you were fishing a size 16 fly a 5X tippet would be used. If you were fishing an 8wt rod with a size 6 fly, a size 2X tippet would be called for. The companies making the leaders size the butt of the leader to match a group of fly lines it might be used on. All you have to worry about is what size tippet you will be using for a particular sized fly.

Here is a very handy chart that you may want to copy and keep handy.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here is a quick way to calculate the best size tippet to use on the water. You take the fly size and divide it by 4 and then add 1. For example, take a size 6 hook, divide 6 by 4 and you get one. Add one to that and you get 2. So for a size 6 hook use a 2X leader. You will note that the chart says 1X or 2X will work. The formula is a guide to get you close to the proper sized tippet on the water. In this case you use the leader that is most appropriate for the size of the fish.
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Guidelines for matching rods, lines, leaders, tippets and flies

^that's a great chart. Thanks Frank.
I've got to buy a couple of more sizes.
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