Beginner: Rigging line to reel [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Beginner: Rigging line to reel

03-28-2004, 01:02 PM
Hope it's ok to post a beginners question here, didn't see a beginners section on this board. I just got my first rod/reel combo and was rigging the line to my reel. I've already put on the backing, fly line, and leader, but I'm stuck at the tippet?? I'm basically using websites to learn which type knots to use. What's the difference between a tippet and a leader? Are they the same? My starter rig came w/ backing, fly line, and 4x tapered leader. It didn't come w/ a tippet? From reading some websites it shows you step by step, and refers to fly line to leader, leader to tippet, and tippet to fly. Do I need a tippet, or can I tie my fly directly to the leader?

03-28-2004, 01:27 PM
The term 'leader' covers the mono from fly line to fly; the 'tippet' is just the last section attached to the fly. As such, it will be the 'finest' segment of the leader. (Also the one that gets replaced most often as it get the brunt of 'ware and tear.')

(Over generalization here) Leaders come in two general types: continuous and 'step down.' The first will have no knots and is extruded from a larger/stiff butt section down to the final 'line test' (the tippet end). 'Step down' leaders are 'hand tied' and will use several sections of different leader testages (again, the butt being the heaviest, down to the last section ... the tippet.

How many sections is a function of how long you want the leader to be and the action you want it to impart in turning over the fly at the end of your cast. If you hit the search feature above you'll find one or more very good threads where folks really go into what they like and why.

Forgot to add!!! Welcome to the Board and your first post.

03-28-2004, 02:12 PM
Lab0302 -

What a great idea! I've taken the liberty to create a new section called "getting started" and moved this thread to be the #1 item in this sub-forum.

Thank you for the good idea and WELCOME!

03-28-2004, 06:44 PM
Lab- I often buy a tapered leader slightly shorter than what I want, then add a section of tippet (which comes in spools of different tippet diameters) of the same or slightly smaller diameter to the end of the leader (blood knot). This allows one to keep adding tippet as that section gets shortened with successive ty-ons, extending the life of the leader. PVDF fluorocarbon leaders are a little pricy (Orvis Mirage leaders go for $13 per 2 pack, but are stealthy and tough. The diameter of the end section (tippet or end of leader) you use depends on the size of the fly you want to cast, often gauged by hook size of the fly (the larger the number, the smaller the hook). A table correlating tippet diameter to hook size is often (but not always) printed on the back of many leader packets; here's one from an LLBean 2x leader:
0x- hook sizes 2 to 1/0
1x- hook sizes 4 to 8
2x- 5 to 10
3x- 10 to 14
4x- 12 to 16
5x- 16 to 20
6x- 20 to 24
This is just a guide; the best leader tippet diameter for a given fly depends on situation and presentation required for that situation, with thinner/stealthier tippets for more spooky/finicky fish (like trout). For stripers, most use leaders rated at pound test (similar to mono fishing line) in the 6 to 20 pound test range, adjusted again for size of flies and size/spookiness of the fish. Thinner is stealthier, but you can get more break-offs with big fish if the hook set is too aggressive or if the fish is played to hard.
Hope this helps!

03-29-2004, 09:05 AM

The difference between leader and tippet has been covered above, but to keep this simple.

Use a surgeon's knot (very easy to tie) to connect about 2-3 feet of your TIPPET to the end of the leader. Tie the fly to the end of the tippet.

As you lose/change flies you will shorten the tippet. When it gets too short clip the tippet off of the leader and tie a new one on.

You get more life out of your leaders this way. If you are a beginner you're probably not going to notice any major performance differences between leaders. 4x leader with a 5x tippet is a good place to start for trout.

Good luck.

03-29-2004, 09:07 AM
Lab- Welcome Aboard; great lead question!

Juro- Kudos! - great place to focus this kind of info in.

Lab re-read this; taken from flydoc's post:

"The diameter of the end section (tippet or end of leader) you use depends on the size of the fly you want to cast, often gauged by hook size of the fly (the larger the number, the smaller the hook)."

So, translated (and I'm sure you already recognize this), your tapered leader finishes or ends at the 4X point.

You'll find a ton of good knot info in the Internet, which will identify instructional websites as well as cool books and where to get them- so, go have a look around and enjoy the tour!

03-29-2004, 11:47 AM
Lab, welcome to the Board!
One more point of information, when tying on tippet, try to match the end of the leader diameter to the diameter of the tippet section you are tying on. As a general rule, stay within 1 or 2 "X" change. So if you leader ends with a 2X diameter, a 3X or 4X tippet will be OK, a 5X tippet would not be as good, so in this instance you would tie on a short piece of 3X and then the tippet at 4X or 5X.
The reason for this is twofold, one, you want to turn over the fly and a large variation of diameter will hinder this, second the knots will generally be stronger with similar sized diameters.

Make sure you match diameters as listed on the tippet spool and do not rely only on the "X" designation since various manufacturers and materials can vary greatly. Try to stay with the same manufacturer for your tippet and your leader and this matching will be a lot easier. Match by "eyballing" the two sections you are tying together.

Specialty leaders and knots will come with time.

03-30-2004, 02:53 PM
I use leader rings on al my leaders.
You can buy them at almost every flyshop in different sizes.
Tie them at the end of your leader. This allows you to change your tippet as many times as you want without shortening the leader.


03-30-2004, 04:21 PM
Rob, I've seen several references to these on the UK board, but your comment is a first?

What's the object of these vs. just tieing a knot?

03-31-2004, 08:36 AM

Every time you use a knot to change tips, you use a bit of the leader to tie and cut of the remaining end. So after changing a tippet or four, your leader changed from a 4x to a 3x/2x.
When you use leader rings, you use only once a little bit of your leader. then tie the tippet to the ring. If the tippet is to short, cut the tippet at the ring and tie a new one to the ring. You never touch the leader again.


03-31-2004, 08:59 AM
we call those `otis bugs' on the rogue:hehe:

04-06-2004, 01:37 PM
why not simply throw in a loop at the end of the leader -- does the same thing as the leader "rings"!??!

04-06-2004, 02:20 PM
Here, here jared. Just gotta go with the loop.