What size tippet do I use?


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Truckee, CA.
I almost always use the biggest tippet that will fit through the eye of the hook.
Then mud so they can't see it. I have many times used 2x mudded to fish very large flies to large spooky fish. I use 3x almost daily for big dries.....rarely fish 4x, and 5x is asking to lose a fish here.
Don't even carry 6x anymore.......anything smaller is silly.
Hate to see a guy following a fish around till it gives up.....
Use something that will allow you to indicate to the fish, which way it should go. And then take it there. ASAP
If you can't do that.....you are either too light on tippet choice, or it's Walter.....in which case....
the outcome is in doubt no matter what tippet you use....
I have many times seen fish move away from a lye after being lined....if they don't, it's probably because they know what you're up to, and just won't play anyway.
Had a guy out the other day...He wanted to cast across, right out of the gate.
(We saw a riser out in the middle...)
But I warned him that the water below him has fish too, and if he cast across and swung through their water below him he would put them down. So he drifted first, straight below him and scored a 5lb fish on the first drift. End of clinic...........from this day forward he will fish the water before wasting it.......
After landing the first fish, and resting the hole....we went ahead and caught the riser.....I don't believe in unfinished tasks....

Silver sharing the comment about a scardey fish is good. We have a few of those here.....
Pretend you are the best salesman in the world, and Walter is buyer averse.....
If it doesn't work......you aren't the best at sales yet. Keep at it.
The universal fisher would blame the fish, weather, fishing pressure, and anything else they can.
Fish are the final judges of your abilities.......and tippet.

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British Columbia
I was taught to divide the fly size by 3 and 4 (i.e., a size 16 hook could use 4x or 5x), and to use those numbers in connection with the known fish characteristics (if any) and the water / weather conditions to determine how fine the tippet will be. But I agree with the above posts regarding the use of the strongest tippet possible for one main reason: to quickly fight the fish with an eye to releasing it well. I think to do otherwise creates more problems for the fish which falls into unethical stewardship.


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Boise, Idaho
I almost always use the biggest tippet that will fit through the eye of the hook.
This is what I always told new guys, then I would show them a Palomar knot. More fishing, less talking.