The "X" designation for leaders/tippets Compromised?? - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 01-14-2007, 06:31 PM
chromedome chromedome is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NIAGARA
Posts: 140
The "X" designation for leaders/tippets Compromised??

I recently purchased a spool of tippet made by a leading supplier labeled 1X. I've always believed that by definition this material should measure 0.010" in diameter, or at least be much closer to 0.010" than the diameter for the next X designation. The material on the spool measured 0.011" in diameter almost exactly. To me this is a product that is seriously out of spec because in reality it is 0X in size, again by definition. I then tried to get this same product from a very well known mail order/online supplier. Again it came to me as exactly 0.011" in diameter. Yet a third order for 1X tippet of another brand from yet another retailer was even larger in diameter than 0.011". A common thread here is that all material was made in this one same foreign country whereas some earlier bought tippet, that was in spec, was made in the USA.

On top of that, I came across an article on this new and improved tippet material from a well known, respected supplier where they are promoting this improved tippet material. They basically are saying the new stuff is so good in a certain X designation that they can make it a little thinner (and still call it 5X). I read that and said "WHAAAA". Specifically they say "As an example, previous generation 5X fluorocarbon measured .17 mm in diameter, whereas (the new and improved) 5X measures .16 mm." Hmmm! Now just by definition, 5X tippet is 0.006" in diameter. By my math, correct me if I'm wrong, this turns out to be 0.152 mm. So the unnamed supplier, while boasting of being able to decrease diameter size, is still selling an over sized product at .16mm. But to me that's not the worst part. It appears that this supplier doesn't see the connection between the X designation and diameter even granting that there is surely a +or- tolerance on the diameter.

It seems to me that if the trend shown in these observations continues we'll have an eroding in the meaning of the X designation and a degree of chaos in being able to rely on the X designation for knowing the diameters of our tippets.
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