Tippet Talk: Tippet vs Leader

Each and every Postfly subscription box is equipped with the tools you need to chase and land fish: the gear, the flies – and YES! – the leader.

OK, what’s Leader?

Leader is the material that connects a fly to fly line. Most commonly (and always in our subscription boxes), leader is typically 5-9 feet long, tapered (thicker on one end, thinner on the other) and made of monofilament (think synthetic/plastic material).

So what’s tippet?

Tippet often becomes leader, but not always. It is, again, a monofilament length of line made in specific gauges (e.g. 0x-7x) and it’s able to be cut to a specific length, which then attaches to your fly.

Then what’s the difference?!

The difference between tippet and leader though, is that while leader gauges can be built upon each other (tied together) to create a long length of tapered line (i.e. leader), tippet can also be used in individual sections (typically 12-18 inches in length) to tie on additional flies to your primary fly (i.e, tandem rigs…hopper-dropper anyone?!).

But what does it all mean??

Postfly includes leaders in every monthly subscription because it is a critical piece to the fly fishing puzzle. Often, it’s easier to catch fish on a fly rod when a leader is attached. But there’s some math and science to the equation: leaders and tippet come in various lengths and gauges for a reason and the right combination depends on the fishing situation.

The higher the “number” (gauge) on the leader (i.e., 7x) the “lighter” the “test” (strength, in a sense) and thinner the line/less visible the smallest gauge section of line will be; and the lower the number/gauge, the thicker the line and stronger the “test”. So, 1x or 2x tippet has a higher “test” and is better at handling higher pounds of pressure pulling on the other end (big fish!). For instance, if you’re chasing heavy, 15lb+ steelhead, you’re going to want a heavier gauge (like 2x) to ensure it will be capable of bringing that fish to the net. On the other hand, if you’re chasing skittish fish in still water, you’ll want to use a longer, smaller leader/tippet size (like 7x) to help the fly reach the fish without your line spooking it.

Got it? Then go get ‘em!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *