What is a tippet fly fishing?

What is a tippet fly fishing?

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In the world of fly fishing, a tippet plays a crucial role in ensuring a successful and enjoyable angling experience. But what exactly is a tippet in fly fishing? In this article, we will dive deeper into the topic, exploring its definition, purpose, materials used, and how to choose the right one for your fishing needs.

Definition and Purpose

A tippet in fly fishing refers to the final section of the leader, which is a tapered monofilament line used to connect the fly line to the fly. It is typically thinner and more transparent than the rest of the leader, allowing for a more delicate presentation of the fly to the fish.

The primary purpose of a tippet is to provide a smooth and invisible connection between the leader and the fly. It acts as an extension of the leader, allowing for accurate casting, natural drifts, and better control over the fly. Additionally, the tippet provides strength and abrasion resistance, ensuring that the angler can successfully land and handle the fish.

Materials Used

Monofilament and fluorocarbon are the two most common materials used for tippets in fly fishing.

Monofilament tippets are made from a single strand of nylon, which offers excellent knot strength, flexibility, and visibility. They are less dense than water, allowing them to float on the surface and create a more natural presentation. However, monofilament tippets are more visible to fish and may require additional stealth and skill to fool wary fish.

Fluorocarbon tippets, on the other hand, are made from a denser material that is nearly invisible underwater. They have a refractive index similar to water, making them less detectable by fish. Fluorocarbon tippets also have superior abrasion resistance and are less affected by UV rays, making them more durable. However, they tend to be stiffer and sink faster than monofilament tippets.

Choosing the Right Tippet

When selecting a tippet for fly fishing, several factors need to be considered:

Strength: The tippet should have sufficient strength to handle the targeted fish species. It should be able to withstand the fish’s fighting power without breaking easily.

Diameter: The diameter of the tippet should be appropriate for the size of the fly being used. A thinner tippet allows for a more delicate presentation, but it may be weaker and more prone to breakage.

Visibility: Consider the water conditions and the fish species you are targeting. In clear water or when fishing for wary fish, a more transparent tippet like fluorocarbon may be preferred. In murky water or when fishing for less selective fish, a monofilament tippet may suffice.

Length: The length of the tippet can vary depending on personal preference and fishing conditions. A longer tippet allows for better reach and natural drifts, while a shorter tippet offers more control and accuracy in casting.


A tippet is an essential component of fly fishing, providing a seamless connection between the leader and the fly. It allows for delicate presentations, accurate casting, and better control over the fly. Choosing the right tippet involves considering factors such as strength, diameter, visibility, and length. Whether you opt for a monofilament or fluorocarbon tippet, understanding its purpose and characteristics will greatly enhance your fly fishing experience.


– Orvis: www.orvis.com
– Trout Unlimited: www.tu.org
– Fly Fisherman: www.flyfisherman.com