Tippet..Leader ?? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tippet..Leader ??

08-17-2002, 07:50 AM
I was under the impression that the fly is attached to your leader on the narrow skinny side. I was just reading somewhere that you attach your tippet to the leader and your fly to the tippet:confused:

08-17-2002, 08:10 AM
You're using a tapered leader. The thick end to the fly line the skinny end towards the fly. At the skinny end of the leader you attach a short section of tippet. Then you attach your fly to the short section of tippet. The tippet is there so that you don't have to clip off your leader everytime you changed a fly. Probably dates back to when we used leaders made of cat gut. Tapered leaders are cheap enough that if you want to clip your leader I don't think anyone would say much about it.;)


08-17-2002, 09:57 AM
Thanks John

That was my line (no pun intended) of thinking. But for the tippet, what line do I use ? Is 4lb test fishing line ok ?

08-17-2002, 10:31 AM
The 4# test line will probably work fine as tippet stock for panfish. What you want to make sure of is that the tippet is the weak link in your rigging. For example if you use a 7.5', 3X leader the 4# line will be the weak link. If you don't do this after the first time you snag a fly you will be back to the tippet being the weak link.

The 3X, 4X, etc goes back to the cat gut days when it refered to the number of times the tippet was pulled through a reducing die. Now it refers to the line diameter in thousanths of an inch less than 0.011" e.g. 1X = 0.010", 2X = 0.009", 3X=0.008", etc.

I hope this helps.

08-17-2002, 01:14 PM

Jdesjardins has hit it right on the head. Without getting to complicated here, basically you can use a tippet to save your leader. For panfish any fishing line that is less than or equal to the test of the tip of your leader is fine. For instance lets say that you have a 9 foot 4X leader and the leader's tip is marked as being 6lb. You would want to tie a short section of tippet to the end of the leader (say 18 inches) that was 6lb or less. If the fish are getting picky you can go down in size of your tippet. If you are yanking the out 1,2,3 then you can leave your tippet at 6lb. The same formula fairly well applies to whatever size leader you are fishing with and whatever length. As you get more skilled as a fly fisher you'll begin to expetiment with leader length, taper, size etc.


Nooksack Mac
08-17-2002, 04:26 PM

Not to overwhelm a rookie with tech-talk, but leaders (and flies) are the big variable in fly tackle, something that's changed to suit different conditions. You may need a 16-foot, 2 lb. leader under some circumstances, and a 5-foot, 14 lb. leader on another, all with the same rod and reel.
Knotless tapered leaders are ready-to-go, but you'll quickly use up the tippet end after changing or breaking off a few flies, and your 9' 5X becomes a 8' 4X. So unless you keep buying new leaders, you buy a few spools of tippet material and learn a strong leader-to-tippet knot or two: the uni-knot or the double surgeon's knot.
Like a lot of vet. fly anglers, I haven't used a "store-baughten" leader in decades. With an assortment of sizes (Maxima is great for the heavier sections), you can tie your own leaders, top-to-bottom, save a bundle and be set for every condition you can encounter.
Leaders are important. Chosen correctly, they make your casts perform, they fool the fish, they hold the fish. Maybe you can't afford deluxe rods and reels, but for a few bucks, your terminal tackle can be as good as anyone's.:cool:

08-18-2002, 08:04 AM
Thank you folks for the replies. Indeed this is a learning experience for me. But once I learn something, it really comes together. God only knows how many years it will take me before I finnally know the basics of flyfishing. At first it all seems overwhelming, but I will take it slow. The most importanant thing to me is that I catch fish and have fun.