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Fly Fishing Tippets

Fly fishing leaders are tapered fluorocarbon or monofilament strands that connect the fly fishing line to the fly. The fly fishing tippet is the smallest fly line on the leader, and the piece that gets attached to the fly. Learn more in this section.

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT TIPPET

The tippet is the thinnest part of the leader, and the part attached to the fly. You have probably discovered by now that there are no less than a dozen sizes of tippet to choose from – sometimes sold in single-size packages, other times sold on spools with a variety of sizes available – when you were being advised to add several different sizes of tippet to your fly fishing equipment shopping list.

You’ll be glad to know that manufacturers have devised an “X” rating system to assist anglers with tapering their lines to the right size based on what type of fish is being targeted. Tippet sizes range from the strong and stiff 03X to the light, wispy 8X for your smallest flies.

     
Chart courtesy of The Fly Fishing Basics.

HOW TO SELECT THE CORRECT SIZE

Another great fly fishing tip for figuring out which “X” size tippet to use to attach your fly is to divide the size of your flies by three. So if you grab a Size 10 Woolly Bugger from your fly fishing gear box and divide ten by three, the result is 3.3333, or in tippet terms, a 3X tippet size. On the other hand, a Size 24 midge divided by 3 results in an 8X tippet size.

Just remember that the divide by three method gives you an approximate tippet size. There’s no reason to worry if you need to attach that Size 24 midge to a 7X tippet instead.

Learn more how to select fly fishing leaders in our next section.