I’ve talked quite a bit about how important it is to correctly select the proper tippet size when your fly fishing for trout. Most fly fisherman have no problem grasping this, after all, small fly patterns generally call for using smaller tippet and big fly patterns call for larger tippet, right? Well, that’s a general guideline most anglers fish by on the water, but it’s not the only factor fly fishermen should use when choosing what size tippet to fish with. Equally important in tippet choice by anglers is how clear or stained the water is that’s going to be fished, and also what level of fishing pressure the water sees (how educated the trout are).
Choosing the Right Tippet Size Guide
(This is your typical text book guide you would find for a beginner wanting to learn to match the appropriate tippet size with fly pattern size. For the most part it’s spot on, but I think it’s important to point out and understand you don’t always have to follow it exactly)Tippet Size Hook Size 0X 2, 1/0 1X 4, 6, 8 2X 6, 8, 10 3X 8, 10, 12, 4X 10, 12, 14, 5X 12, 14, 16, 6X 16, 18, 20, 22 7X 18, 20, 22, 24 8X 20, 22, 24, 26, 28
Take for instance hopper fishing. Most anglers would say that 3X tippet is the appropriate size tippet to use if we’re talking about fishing with a good size foam hopper imitation. I would agree this is correct and it’s probably what I use most of the time for this type of fly fishing, however, I’ll never forget floating out west a few years back where my buddy opted instead to use 4X tippet and he dominated us and was the hot stick that morning. The point being, we as anglers shouldn’t always stick to the book when it comes to how we rig up and fish. That morning we were both fishing hoppers. I was in the bow of the boat with 3X and my buddy was in the stern with 4X. I had several refusals at the last second from trout, and on multiple occasions my buddy in the back of the boat caught those fish. It just goes to show, it might be worth putting up with a few line twists if you’re going to catch twice as many fish. It’s not all about presentation always, sometimes tippet size is the deciding factor on whether or not a trout eats your fly.
Have you ever been on the water where you were certain your tippet was the correct size? So certain in fact, that you ruled it out completely for you not catching fish, and just kept on fishing and changing fly patterns? It happens to all of us, particularly on water that is super clear or when we’re fishing to trout that have been super pressured. The one important point that I didn’t mention in the previous story where my buddy showed me up with 4X tippet hopper fishing, was that it was during the tail-end of the season. Many of those trout had already been caught a few times on hoppers during the season and many of them had also obviously smartened up and had become wise to tippet size. Don’t get caught in a routine and think you know everything. If you’re not catching fish and you’re covering plenty of water, most of the time it’s because something in your rig is wrong.
We’d also like to provide a very humorous post from a very active Gink & Gasoline follower Mike Sepalak. He posted it on his blog back in September 2010. It’s a very good read that describes the unpleasantries of using fine tippet in fly fishing. Check it out.
Keep it Reel,Kent Klewein Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com email@example.com Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!