By Bob Reece
I’m a huge believer in the fact that little things matter.
I believe this holds true in all aspects of life, including the world of fly fishing. In the tackle setups that we as fly fishers use, our tippet is often one of those petite items of importance.
Spools of tippet in various sizes are an essential part of a successful day on the water. Their material allows fly fishers to create the connections needed for effective presentations and bringing fish to our nets. While this is widely understood, we often overlook the small aspects of maintaining and using these supportive spools.
Many tippet spools have built in cutters that are imbedded in their plastic rims. During the bustle of a day on the water, the free end of tippet often works its way free from the metal eyelet and elastic band that hold it in place. If the tippet ends up on the same side of the band as the cutter, it is often nicked when peeled off the spool. These unintended abrasions weaken the tippet material and create the possibility of breaking off larger fish. To avoid this occurrence, check your spools throughout the day and leave a slightly longer than normal tag end when cutting off lengths of new tippet.
The same elastic bands that hold the tippet in place, can also blind us to the amount of material that we have left.
I spend a significant amount of time fly fishing waters off the beaten path. It’s more than frustrating to reach for your first round of tippet and realize that there are a few inches left of the size that you needed most. I’ve made a habit of lifting the elastic bands when I return home after each trip to see how much of each size is left. I also make sure to carry an extra spool in my pack of the most common sizes that I use.
Effective fly fishers are built from sound habits. While casting, mending and other learned habits are extremely important; the little things also matter. As you prep for your next on the water adventure, turn your focus to the petite world of tippet spools. Your attention to this detail may help you seal the deal with that fish of your dreams.
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