How Do You Use a Fly Fishing Tippet?

Fly fishing involves the use of lightweight rods and reels, specialized fly lines, and a variety of terminal tackle items. One of the most important pieces of tackle used in fly fishing is the tippet.

Tippet is a thin line that connects the leader to the fly. It provides support to the leader and helps keep the fly afloat on top of the water.

The size of tippet you use will depend on a variety of factors including what type of fly you are using, what type of water you are fishing in, and how deep or shallow the water is. In general, smaller flies require lighter tippets while larger flies can handle heavier tippets. Also, when fishing in shallow or still waters, you’ll want to use lighter tippets than when fishing in deep or fast-moving waters.

When selecting a tippet for your setup, it’s important to remember that there are different sizes available and each size has its own breaking strength. Generally speaking, lighter tippets have lower breaking strengths while heavier ones have higher breaking strengths. This means that if you’re using a small dry fly on stillwater with light winds then you may want to opt for lighter tippet than if you were using a streamer on fast-moving whitewater.

Once you’ve selected the right size tippet for your situation, it’s time to attach it to your leader. The easiest way to do this is with an improved clinch knot.

This knot is easy to tie and provides maximum strength with minimal line movement. To tie an improved clinch knot:

  • Pass end of your leader through eyelet on your fly.
  • Wrap remaining tag end around standing line 5 times.
  • Pass tag end through loop formed by first turn.
  • Pull both ends tight until knot snugly against eyelet.

Once attached, it’s important to inspect your knot regularly throughout your time out on the water. Poor knots can become loose over time due to wear or vibration from casting or retrieving line which can cause them to fail prematurely under pressure from a fish strike.


Fly fishing tippet plays an important role in any successful outing as it provides support for both leaders and flies alike. Selecting the right size tippet for any given situation will help ensure that your flies float properly on top of the water while also providing enough strength and support should a large fish strike your line unexpectedly. Finally, attaching your chosen tippet correctly with an improved clinch knot will help ensure that it stays secure throughout all stages of catching a fish.

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Emma Gibson