What is the difference in regular line and tippet line?
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Thread: What is the difference in regular line and tippet line?

  1. #1
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    Default What is the difference in regular line and tippet line?

    You can buy 300yards of 2lb test line for like 5 bucks or you can buy 30yards of :tippet line" for $5 to $15. I have always wondered what the difference is. Anyone have an answer?

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  3. #2
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    Not much difference, however, one should consider the following

    1. 30 Yds of tippet will probably last until the spool dry rots.

    2. Tippet spools that are the same brand generally snap together making management easy when toting a spool caddy. lanyard, or tender.

    3. 2 Ib test really has no useful application. If you choose to nymph with 2 Ib, you will loose many wet flies, nymphs to snagging. I rarely go smaller than 5x which is 4.75 Ib. Also playing a fish out with light line is not really ethical, and is regarding by many as gauche.
    dbeam, and Fishscalz like this.


  4. #3
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    Tippet will generally be a bit stiffer, and smaller diameter, that regular mono of the same breaking strain.

    The additional stiffness will help turn the fly over consistently during the cast, and the smaller diameter may alarm the fish less in really clear water. I wouldn't bet one way on the other on alarming the fish in current, but maybe in still water.

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  6. #4
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    For 95% of the fishing that I do, the most significant difference between tippet and regular mono or flouro is size and weight of the spool. I can carry 4 spools of tippet in my overly burdened fly vest and cover most every possible scenario for a regular day of fishing. When I flyfish from my kayak, I never carry my fly vest or my tippet. I use whatever spools of fishing line that are on board. The subtle differences in the actual material will be more of a concern when fishing for heavily pressured fish in gin clear water. In those situations, every advantage that can be utilized could be the difference in bringing fish to hand. My personal limitations in catching fish has always been casting accuracy and line management. Placing the fly in the feeding lane and mending for a drag free drift will imo be more important than the material tied to the fly.
    Fishscalz likes this.


  7. #5
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    Thank for the replies guys. I was only using 2 lb test as an example. I did nt mean to imply that I would carry 300yds of line. What I was thinking was to spool used tippet spools.

  8. #6
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    Thank for the replies guys. Fishscalz got me thinking. I did a little research on line strength and diameter. What I found was floro tippet is almost twice as strong as regular floro fishing line.

  9. #7
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    In my experience, unless you are fishing nymphs/midges smaller than 16 or so, there is not enough difference in diameter to matter. Floro knots can be tricky, be aware.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpossumtail View Post

    3. 2 Ib test really has no useful application. If you choose to nymph with 2 Ib, you will loose many wet flies, nymphs to snagging. I rarely go smaller than 5x which is 4.75 Ib. Also playing a fish out with light line is not really ethical, and is regarding by many as gauche.
    I think that depends on where you're fishing and how. It's been a few years since I chased FW trout, but I can recall many times when 6X or even 7X were necessary fishing small dries and midges on spring creeks, tailwaters and small streams. With larger tippets you just wouldn't get bit. I'd agree that 5X is the practical limit for most nymph or wet fly fishing, most of the time.

  11. #9
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    Basically, tippet is guaranteed to be of a specific, uniform diameter, rather than have a specific "test" strength. As a result, the rated breaking strength of tippet materials of the same diameter (that is, the same X rating) can vary wildly. Tippet material will generally have a higher rated test strength relative to diameter than your standard spools of gear line.

    That said, I have a buddy who is an engineer for a an aerospace contractor, and he's conducted extensive tests of actual breaking strength of various tippet materials and conventional lines. What he found is that almost all lines, tippet or conventional, can actually absorb more force without breaking than their nominal, on-the-box/spool test strength (sometimes by a wide margin; most of your "12 lb test" conventional lines require more than 20 lbs of force to break). He also found that, regardless of the nominal test strength, lines of a thicker diameter were in every single case, stronger than thinner lines. That was true for all formulations of nylon monofilament lines and tippets, and was true in comparisons between fluorocarbon lines as well.

    tldr version; tippet material is thinner, weaker, and more expensive
    sboro likes this.


  12. #10
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    That is very interesting. I am no scientist, I just read whats on the box and what is on the internet by different company. Thats how I came to my conclusions. When I went to their site they gave x rating diameter size and lb. test rating. lb rating was over double with the tippets as to regular fishing line. Now is that a marketing scheme? To get 3 times the profit. From you friend's tests, it sounds like it could be. Put a pic of a trout on it and it goes up by three times.
    Fishscalz likes this.


  13. #11
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    This is a great post, very informative

  14. #12
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    When fly fishing for Bass or Bream, I use standard line for leader and tippet. You really don't need anything fancy for Bass and Bream because they are aren't quite as finicky as a trout in shallow, clear water. For Trout, I normally use tippet material just due to the water conditions that you fish for trout in and a trouts proclivity to be more selective in their feeding than Bass or Bream.

  15. #13
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    I fish in saltwater most of the time using 10. 12, 14, 17, or 20 lb test as my final line (unless I need wire). But in fresh water, I have to consider the size of the eye on the hook. You have to be able to fit the tippet through the eye of the hook in the fly you are using. Thank goodness for guides with eyes younger than mine and nimble fingers that can deal with really light tippets.

  16. #14
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    One thing to note is that the labeled breaking strength of mono line is a wet strength, which is lower than its dry strength. So any testing on dry line is meaningless and will always be on the high side. Floro and braid are essentially the same wet or dry.

    The larger diameter being higher in breaking strength is pretty easy to explain, a 0.1” to 0.12” diameter difference (20%) has 44% more area. So it is no contest for similar materials when it comes to effects of diameter with material rated by force per unit area.
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  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitefish115 View Post
    Thank goodness for guides with eyes younger than mine and nimble fingers that can deal with really light tippets.
    AMEN brother!!!!

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