Driftless Trout Anglers

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#1 Posted : Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:43:14 PM(UTC)
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Is tippet absolutely necessary? Or, can you get away with just using leader?
#2 Posted : Tuesday, July 26, 2016 8:57:39 PM(UTC)
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TedderX wrote:
Is tippet absolutely necessary? Or, can you get away with just using leader?

Depends what you're after. Tippet is a must for trout due to the small fly sizes and generally clear water. On the other hand, for bass fishing you might be able to get away with straight leader, as long as it's not real heavy. Think 10-15 pound test.
West Branch  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, July 27, 2016 5:22:44 AM(UTC)
West Branch
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For my usual setup, I get a 9',5x tapered leader. Sometimes I'll use just like it comes out of the package until a few fly changes have shortened the tippet. At that point the lleader may be more like 4x and closer to 8' long or less.

A morning of dinking around on the stream can make a long 5x into a short 3x with a few re-ties, a snag or two, and a wind knot. I usually carry 3x through 6x tippet with me and keep re-building my leader for whatever I'm doing at the moment. If fish are eating midges, a length of 6x will get tied on. For 'hoppers or big nymphs I might use 4x.

Fly fishing is activity for people who aren't opposed to doing quite a bit of fussing with tackle.
#4 Posted : Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:05:22 AM(UTC)
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West Branch wrote:
Fly fishing is activity for people who aren't opposed to doing quite a bit of fussing with tackle.

I nominate this for ,"Understatement of the Year".

"Fussing with tackle", whether it relates to to:tying flies, dickering with leaders and tippet, deciding which fly rod to use that day, what fly to use and how many flies to carry with. Are all the both the bane of my existence and some of the few simple joys I extract from this life. BigGrin
#5 Posted : Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:26:15 AM(UTC)
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I would also mention as a miser that tippet will increase the life of your leader exponentially. Much cheaper to put at least a foot of tippet on and replace it once in a while than be using up and replacing your tapered leader all the time.
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:48:13 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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In the past I was strictly a leader only fly fisher - and it worked well for me. Then, the price of leaders went through the roof. It wasn't uncommon for me to burn through two or three during an outing. This year I vowed to give tippet a fair shake. I even went so far as adopting tippet rings, and in the last few outings, using a furled leader. Tippet rings make it much easier to tie on tippet, then to tie tippet directly to the leader.

As Dan mentioned, your leader will last much longer if you use tippet. However, I've found that cheap tippet is not worth it, and the better stuff (like fluorocarbon) can get expensive. Another advantage of tippet is that you can easily add extra length of your setup to match conditions. A shorter tippet may be fine for nymphing, but on flat clear water a longer one can be critical.

Casting is a little different with tippet rings and tippet. For me, I needed to adjust my back cast slightly to get a proper loop and line roll out. I think it's easier to to cast into a head wind with just a straight leader.

I can't say using tippet is generating more strikes or catching more fish than a straight leader. If you switch flies often, or need to change up your rig to match conditions, then tippet is the way to go. It is easier too to snap off flies that are hopelessly snagged and irretrievable, without shortening your leader to the point where that too needs to be replaced.


Edited by user Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:55:00 AM(UTC)  | Reason: added text

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
#7 Posted : Wednesday, July 27, 2016 6:56:42 AM(UTC)
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I agree with saving cash by using a tippet.

I've even started tying my own leaders to save more money. The stores sell 'bass leaders' that are heavier but too long for what I want and a 2-3 parts leader of 5-6 feet will work just fine.

Trout formulas call for 6 piece leaders but my 4 weight casts fine with a 4 piece so far. Fun to experiment.

The only issue is in lakes like the Madison Chain where the gunk will get caught on the knoyts, but you rarely go 2 casts without getting your fly gunned up anyway on those lakes.

And I think skirting a fly on top of the water is easier with a tapered leader.
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