Difference between tippet and leader? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Difference between tippet and leader?

06-25-2004, 03:32 PM
Hello to the fly fishing aficionados around the world.

I'm a neophyte just picking up fly fishing and would like to have two questions answered.

1) What is the difference between a tippet and a leader?

2) Do flyline "eyelits" work really well? (It is needlelike and you insert the eyelit into the flyline and then tie the leader to the eye)

Thank you. :)

06-25-2004, 04:25 PM

The leader is the length of nylon or fluro, usually tapered, that makes the "invisible" connection between the fly and the tip of the flyline. The tippet is the thinest part of the leader the the fly connects to. I generally start with a store-bought tapered leader of 9 or 12ft and chop the last few feet off and finish the end in a tiny loop. I can then add a couple of feet of whatever tippet I'm using with a loop-to-loop and replace it as needed. As you keep changing flies, the tippet will get shorter.

You can also setup your own tapered leaders using lengths of different diameter mono. Get hold of a copy of "Practical Fishing Knots" by Lefty Kreh and Mark Sosin. It's a real gem and will explain all you need to know in easy to follow diagrams.

I've never used eyelets and never met anyone who has. I wouldn't trust them personally but that's just my opinion.

06-25-2004, 05:41 PM
As Adrian clarified you attach some monofilament to the end of the flyline on the 'business end' because that's the end the fish sees (or doesn't see in this case). This is referred to as the leader and you can get them in one piece tapered for $3-5 ea. or tie your own using gradually lighter line as you go forward. A hand-tied leader is composed of three parts: (1) the butt (2) the taper and (3) the tippet.

The tippet is the finest part that is attached to the fly. It is often replaced or changed to meet conditions whereas the butt is never changed and the taper changes number somewhere in-between.

It's typically about 20% of the overall length of the leader.

You can also use a 'bite' tippet which is made of wire for toothy fish.

Those little barbed inserts would probably work for small fish but I would not trust them while fishing for anything of size. Learn the nail knot and you'll be set.

07-04-2004, 10:08 PM
I have had the straight nail know fail under heavy stress by pulling the coating off the flyline, so do not use it when fishing for larger steelhead or salmon.