Fluorocarbon tippet - different than fluorocarbn line?

smarty140

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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
 

dakotakid

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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.
 

williamhj

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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.
 

silver creek

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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:



Now compare with the commonly sold fluorocarbon 3X tippets:











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

There is no free lunch.
 
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MoscaPescador

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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
 

throssing

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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.
 

brookfieldangler

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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.
 

silver creek

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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.

 

bigjim5589

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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.

Results will always vary!:rolleyes:
 

silver creek

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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.
 

jeep.ster

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I've been using mono for tippet for many years. 2lb (.006") and 4lb (.007") fluorocarbon and 6lb (.009") to rebuild leaders 6/4/2/2. I don't think the brand name is important but you have to order it because you don't find 2lb and 4lb in stores that cater to the 10 and 20lb needs. Fly shops should be stocking light mono for tippet. The same price for 250 yards verses 15 yards should make people question this at the fly shops. It's not that it's cheap material it's that the fly fishing industry must think very highly of their profit margin on mono labeled tippet. The difference in quality for the ridiculous high price is 1.6lb (.001"), and maybe it's more subtle for that .001" but I doubt it. I can make mine more subtle by running it through my fingers.
 

silver creek

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There is a rule of thumb in equipment that says the further you get from the end of the cast, the less important the equipment is. OK, so I made up that rule but I think it is a good one. Fly -> leader -> fly line -> fly rod -> reel -> vest, wader, etc. The single exception is the skill of the fly fisher.

The weakest link that connects us to the fish is the tippet. It is not where I would choose to save a buck but everyone decides for themselves.
 

bobbrown

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I'm with silver creek on this one. If your having trouble getting strikes start be eliminating the variables. The first place I start is tippet. I'm always using flouro...so that solves that option. But, then I immediately drop to 6x. That will normally solve several issues....then I. Go from there.
I always use the same brand flouro throughout the leader system.
 

smarty140

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Thanks to everyone for your replies. I'll admit to feeling a little silly for not checking the diameter vs strength myself... do that anytime I'm trying to figure out what type of line to buy for a spinning or baitcaster, but didn't think to check different types of fluorocarbon.

My takeaway from all the different posts is that (like pretty much anything) the "right" answer depends on the fishing situation. For more difficult fishing situations with clear water and/or "smart" fish the premium for fluoro tippet should be the way to go. For other situations where a little larger diameter shouldn't matter as much due to dirty, fast water (spring steelhead fishing in this area comes to mind) a spool of fluoro "line" would be an good upgrade from mono tippet, but a better price than fluoro tippet. The same line could work when flyfishing for smallies.

My original question was prompted by a question from a friend I was helping prepare for an upcoming trip to MT with his family, none of whom have flyfished before. He has lots of fluoro line for walleye fishing here in MN, and it would be awfully expensive to buy a spool of fluoro tippet for himself and 3 sons, so they were going to use mono tippet. I wasn't sure what advice to give, but it seemed like the fluoro line would work, at least for nymphing.

I'm going to have to study Silver Creek's chart some next time it's time to restock on fluoro tippet!

Thanks again.
ryan
 

cab

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Some freinds and I tested floro vs. mono on the South Platte (Dream Stream).
There were 3 of us, and we tried every type of test we could think of. The floro rigged rods caught more fish. Period.

This strech of river is a very heavily fished tailwater, btw.


CAB
 
T

turbineblade

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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.
If I believed the printed breaking strength on a tippet spool I might agree.

My experience with very "non-scientific" testing is that breaking strength of lines (within line type, e.g. not comparing fluoro to mono) is VERY, VERY dependent upon diameter -- I don't care what the print says.

I like limp mono like Maxima Green in the 0.007" diameter (4 pound test) -- limpness matters more to me than visibility. I think the fish can see everything you put out there, including fluoro. I use the 4 pound for bluegill and trout exclusively and catch plenty of fish.

I have some fluoro spools but I don't use it often because I can barely break it off when I get snagged on the bottom when using 8+ pound size. So yeah it is strong, but fairly stiff IME.
 

itchmesir

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I buy Trilene Vanish fluorocarbon fishing line. I carry 2# 4# 6#... None of the trout here seem to mind... Even in the dead of winter.

I also use 10# and 14# for freshwater.

nice thing too is vanish comes in small 110yrd filler spools. Steal some hair ties from the gf and use them to keep my spools from unwinding. the filler spools are as wide as a tippet spool too
 

krikau27

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Very interesting thread. I learned quickly by other fly fishers that fluorocarbon was the way to go, because it's invisible to the fish. I fish saltwater for seatrouts.
What some people has tested and put results on a chart is a matter of trust. Have they been payed by the various companies? , have they tested the tippet the right way? Also what happens in a laboratory stays in the laboratory. It's a controlled environment and as some one else said, it's not fishing.

I use Photonic fluorocarbon tippet and Akron fluorocarbon tapered leader. It's expensive, but if I buy fluorocarbon I want the real thing, not the fakes.

Kim.
 
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