March 20, 2014

My tippet

I've had a few folks ask me what tippet I use. In my mind it doesn't really matter, since the majority of tippets materials produced now days are generally high quality and share very little difference. Sure, there are a couple notable duds on the market but they are few; most tippet produced today will work just fine.

Fluorocarbon versus Monofiliament 

I use fluorocarbon in 90% of my fishing. Why? I'm not sure. I don't fish a lot of spring creeks with ubber skittish fish, rather I fish mountain streams with opportunistic fish. I am aware that fluorocarbon may have some advantages in that it is heavier, or denser that mono (fluoro is 1.75 to 1.90 where as mono runs 1.05 to 1.10; with water being 1.0). It has a refractive index of 1.42 more closely matching water's 1.33, whereas mono is closer to 1.62. Does this make fluorocarbon harder to see underwater? I don't know what trout see so I'm not sure.

I'm also aware that fluorocarbon has increase abrasion resistance over mono and that it is also more UV stable than mono. Fluorocarbon also doesn't absorb water like mono, and it has reportedly better knot breaking strength. But is this why I use fluoro?

So why do I use fluorocarbon instead of monofilament nylon? Now that I think about it, I don't rightly know! I haven't done a head to head comparison between the two types of tippet fishing the waters that I fish to compare catch rates. So, I have no data, sorry. No data, no facts.

My Tippet

I use Rio Fluoroflex Plus. I carry one spool: 5X. Also, I prefer the guide spool instead of the regular spool since it is much less likely to run out on the stream, thus making me go back to the car to get more. The guide spool has 110 yards while a standard spool has 30 yards. The spool is the same size so the guide spool takes up the same space in my chest pack as a regular spool.

My guide spool. It has lasted over 2 years (years, not seasons. I fish year round) and still going strong.

Standard spool. Note the different look and yardage between the two.

Why Rio?

Why do I use Rio? Call me silly, but I use it because it is an Idaho company and I've met Jim and Kitty Vincent. They don't own the company anymore but they are a nice folks, so I use their products. Trouthunter is also an Idaho company, so why don't I use their products? Because they are fly fishing snobs. Every interaction I've had with one of their employees has been rude or indifferent, unless you are going to hire a guide or buy a $600 rod from them. I'm sure their tippet is a good product, but I won't support snobs. You may have had a different experience, but that's been mine.

So I use Rio. It works for me. No gimmicks, just function. After all, that's all I can ask of any of my gear.


  1. I have found that for most any small-stream situation a 5x tippet will suit any fishing anyone might do with the 'standard' tenkara rod (if there is such an animal). But you don't ever use a lighter (6x) tippet? Such as when using a seiryu rod like the Soyokaze 27, a Suntech Kurenai or a Nissan Air Stage? I think Chris Stewart who sells many a seiryu (ultralight) rod sometimes even suggests a tippet as light as 7x for some of those rods.

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Yes, on occasion I'll use a 6X tippet. That said, most of the streams that I fish don't have the size of fish that will tax a seiryu rod. 5X gives me a good compromise between tippet strength and rod protection. If I'm using a seiryu rod and suspect that I may pick up a larger fish, I'll use 6X to protect the rod. I agree with Chris's recommendation.

  2. Do you have a blog talking about your line choices. Furled, level or which you use? I read your post on the Dragontail Talen rod. I have purchased the Talen for bikepacking but haven't fished in 40 years and consider myself a beginner in fishing. Would love to read more of what you have to say. Plus what was your setup for the Dragontail Talen I'll be fishing similar waters in Oregon as I see in your videos.

    1. I only use level line. The Talon works well with a #3.5 level line. Many people like furled lines but I'm a big believer in keeping the line off the water. I can't do that with a furled line while fishing upstream.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.