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  1. Default Leader/tippet help?

    Alright, I just got into fly fishing and what not as some of you my know. I went down the river today and started practicing casting a fly rod, I must say I'm getting the hang of it, but by no means am I ready to fight some fish.

    Now the question, what is a leader/tippet? Are they the same thing? I need some help because Im going to be purchasing some extra for my fly pole for fishing. There is a clear line already on the end of the fly line I don't know if its a leader or a tippet or whatever it is LOL its like pretty fat at the top, then it slowly gets skinnier and skinner.

    Any help is appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    If you bought a rod/reel/line package deal the clear line is probably a tapered leader. The very end (where you tie the fly) is a smaller diameter than the butt end that connects to the fly line.
    Because it's tapered after you've tied on a few flies and kept shortening it by doing so you soon get into the thicker portion. When you've shortened it a foot or so it's a good idea to tie on a short "tippet" section of a diameter to match what was originally the "tippet" section of the leader.
    If it was a 7X leader that means the very end was .004 diameter and you should use 7X tippet to replace what you cut off.

    To convert the X designation to actual diameter (in thousandths of an inch) simply subtract the X number from .011 - a 1X would be .010, a 2X would be .009, a 3X .008, and so on.
    The tippet is always measured by diameter (X designation).
    Mike

  3. Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    Quote Originally Posted by wabi View Post
    If you bought a rod/reel/line package deal the clear line is probably a tapered leader. The very end (where you tie the fly) is a smaller diameter than the butt end that connects to the fly line.
    Because it's tapered after you've tied on a few flies and kept shortening it by doing so you soon get into the thicker portion. When you've shortened it a foot or so it's a good idea to tie on a short "tippet" section of a diameter to match what was originally the "tippet" section of the leader.
    If it was a 7X leader that means the very end was .004 diameter and you should use 7X tippet to replace what you cut off.

    To convert the X designation to actual diameter (in thousandths of an inch) simply subtract the X number from .011 - a 1X would be .010, a 2X would be .009, a 3X .008, and so on.
    The tippet is always measured by diameter (X designation).
    My rod/reel came with 5WF line and a 5X tippet. So just buy some 5X tippet and keep replacing it off of the leader?
    16 years old
    Akuma Cascade 5WT

  4. #4

    Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    Buying a spool of 5 x tippet to add is a good idea. You might want to pick up a spool of 6x and 4x. The 6 can be added if trout are leader shy and the 4 can be used if the tapered leader gets cut back too far. You'd add a section of 4 then the 5. It's also good to pick up some tapered leaders 4-6x for dries and nymphs and 2 and 3x if you're doing streamers or bass bugs.

  5. #5

    Default Leader/tippet help?

    First of all, welcome to the wonderful world of fly fishing, and this forum.
    Wabi and William gave you great advice.
    The leader is a very important part of your fly fishing setup. The tapered leader is what helps you get that graceful presentation that you want. Helps with your fly line turning over and gracefully transferring the energy of your cast all the way out to that tiny fly on the end of your line.
    Like Wabi mentioned, your tippet keeps you from cutting your leader everytime you change or lose a fly. (Trust me, you will lose flies. We all do.). Different size tippet will work better with different flies. For example you won't want to use a 1x tippet with a #24 fly. You'll never get it tied. ( if you do manage you'll have a noticeably massive knot) you would want to go with a 6x or 7x tippet which is very tiny. Tippet also allows you to be stealthier when your quarry is spooky. Smaller tippet will be less noticeable but has a downside...obviously, its not as strong.

    All of this knowledge will come with time. Till then, were always here to help. Don't be afraid to ask questions. We all learn from each other.
    Hope this helps some.
    Seth

    It's not what I catch when I'm fishing, it's what I lose that matters to me...
    ----------------------------------------
    Good decisions come from experience...Experience comes from bad decisions...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    Roger that. The term 'leader' is the whole thing from the fly line out to the fly. Most leaders have at least three sections: Butt (the fat bit), belly (mid section) and tippet (the end bit).

    As noted above the 'end bit' is what needs to be replaced over time. Or to put this another way think 'transmission of energy (from the cast through the fly line) to the leader. Even with a leader tippet of 5#, the butt section will be at least 15 to 20 pounds of breaking strength and 'mike down' to the 5#. Reason for this is if you just tied a bit of 5# right off the end of your fly line the leader material would just fold back ('hinge') against the line during the cast.

    To give you a simple visual example of how the 'taper' works take a 3 foot stick/bit of wood dowling and tie 3' of 5# leader to that and cast same to see what the leader does (damned near nothing). Now snip that off and tie on a 3' section of 10# to the doweling and tie the 5# bit to that. Repeat test.... now this is starting to lay out there.

    Snip off the 10# and insert 4' of 15 or 20 pound in front of the first two bits and cast ..... you'll find the whole thing will lay out in front of you ("transmission of energy").

    The above may sound a bit silly, but you're looking at the 'how and why' of a tapered leader. There are lots of thoughts on how (and with what) to build your own leaders but the simplest is the '60-20-20.' Or 60% butt section, 20% belly and 20% tippet. For heavier leaders that simple 'formula' works just fine.

    Fred
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    There's a lot of good information in the FAQ subforums
    http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/fo...ame-thing.html
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    Hi,

    Welcome to the forum and a good place to find answers to your questions. Generally a leader is a tapered length of clear mono filament however many people use lever mono filament as leader for certain fishing applications.

    The fellows have you on the right track, stay with us and they will guide you right along to becoming a fly fisher.

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Leader/tippet help?

    First Off, welcome to Fly Fishing. You have received some great advice from the previous post/replies. Most guys spoke of tapered mono leaders. These are the leaders that hang in all fly shops across the country. They have their place in our sport for sure. Many guys actually tie their own-knotted leaders. Using various diameter tippet materials, you can create a taper using smaller and smaller tippet diameter as you move to the end of the leader. This process can be fun as well as aggravating and not normally tackled by new fly fishers. Then there are furled leaders. A furled leader is continuous no-knot taper that is made of a continuous length of material. Materials can vary from mono / fluorocarbon and thread / silk. You have to tie a length of tippet material to the end of the furled leader. Most furled leaders come with small ring or loop to attach tippet too. When the tippet gets to short from multiple fly changes, you simply tie on anther piece of tippet. The great thing about furled leaders is that your leader never changes in design/length. Meaning you never end up with a short tapered leader that will not turn over your fly. Many fly fishers believe that Furled leaders have many benefits. Like with everything in fly-fishing, you will see/hear multiple philosophies. Some fly fishers hate furled leaders, and many others such as myself only fish with furled leaders. The best part about using a furled leader is not having to deal with tapered leaders that are always coiled up and difficult to straighten. Energy travels through a straight line, if your leader does not straitening out during the cast, you are loosing energy and your casting / presentation is diminished.
    There are a few people that make and sell furled leaders here on this forum, myself included. Because I believe in furled leaders so much, and love to see new guys/gals enjoying the sport, I figured I would add my two cents. If you search furled leaders in this forum, you will read many post about the topic.
    I am always more than willing to answer any questions you may have.
    Again, welcome to the sport of fly-fishing, which is a life long journey….

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