Meaning no disrespect a side effect of shopping at stores that offer bargains but no knowledge is you have to ask things you'd get for free at a flyshop. You might have saved a dollar or two over a local flyshop but the things you learn are often worth their weight in gold. You might not have a local flyshop, that is understandable. However contacting a real flyshop by phone perhaps will get you a lot of information as well. Sorry for the mini-lecture...
The difference between a leader and a tippet is:
- A leader is the whole segment of mono between the fly and the flyline
- A tippet is only the final section where the fly is attached
A leader graduates from thick to thin to aid turnover of the fly, consisting of butt, taper and tippet. The butt is stout and should transer the energy from the fly line to the leader. The taper steps the diameter down to blend the butt with the tippet. It is a transitional piece between the two.
The tippet is the final piece that provides the presentation of the fly to the fish. It can be a different material from the rest of the leader, for instance low visibility flourocarbon. It is typically a straight (level) diameter.
One-piece leaders have no knots because they are extruded as one tapered piece. You only need tippet to replace the end of the leader after wear or to adjust it for certain flies and fishing.
Or you can use blood-knots to make your own leaders. Both work fine. I prefer to make my own because the cost savings are huge and you can fine tune for specific applications (e.g. fine trout leaders, long Spey casting, sinking lines, floating lines, bonefishing in wind, striped bass in surf, etc.). Tying your own teaches one a thing or two about leader design.
Hope that helps! Also if you post your home area maybe someone can direct you to a good flyshop, if you are interested.
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