In this article, we go over leaders and tippets and i’ll do my best to explain how to tie a leader to a tippet. We will cover what is a leader, why should you use one, how long should it be, the type of knot we recommend to use to connect it to a tippet and how to tie a leader to a tippet.
WHAT IS A LEADER?
A leader is a section of material usually made from monofilament nylon or fluorocarbon that is connected to the end of a fly line and ends at the point in which the fly is tie and attached. Most leaders are tapered and the diameter is noticeably thicker towards the butt end or the end to which is attached to the fly line, they become thinner as you get towards the end of the leader which is where you tie on the fly.
HOW LONG SHOULD A LEADER BE?
Most leaders you will purchase will come in lengths of 7.5 ft to 10 ft depending on where you buy them from. The length to be honest is not so significant as you can always shorten them or extend them by using a tippet.
WHAT TYPE OF LEADER TO USE?
We recommend you use a tapered leader when fly fishing as this type of leader allows you to use it directly to connect to the fly or if you prefer to, you can attach a tippet and connect the fly.
As covered above the best leaders are made from fluorocarbon material which when presented under water, they appear invisible to the eye which in return increases the likelihood of catching a fish vs the older type of leaders around some years before fluorocarbon was introduced.
WHAT IS A TIPPET?
A Tippet is a section of line made from monofilament nylon or fluorocarbon material and comes in various diameters and strengths. You can purchase the tippet on spools and this is the piece of material or line we attach to the leader and to the fly line.
The tippet is usually the smallest in diameter line that you will use in your fly rig set up and with the use of modern materials they are produced in a way that when they are in the water, they are virtually impossible to see which helps to not spook fish and thus leaving just the actual fly fishing strike indicator sitting there in its most natural way.
A tippet can be used in various lengths to suit your fishing style however normally most tippets tend to be 2 to 4 feet in length.
HOW TO TIE A LEADER TO A TIPPET?
In order to tie the leader to the tippet, we recommend you use a Surgeons knot. The pictogram from 101 knots explains best how to tie a leader to a tippet.
WHAT KNOT DO YOU USE TO TIE THE FLY LINE TO THE LEADER TO?
The main type of knot used for tying the fly line to the backing is the Nail knot. It’s another pretty simple knot to tie and will make a strong knot connection between the fly line and leader.
This pictogram by Jeff E Sherry explains how to tie the fly line to a leader line using an Arbor Knot.
WHAT KNOT DO YOU USE TO TIE THE BACKING LINE TO THE FLY LINE?
The main type of knot used for tying the backing line to the fly line is the Albright knot. It’s another pretty simple knot to tie and will make a strong knot connection between the backing and the fly line.
This pictogram by Jeff E Sherry explains how to tie the backing line using an Albright Knot to a fly line.