Choosing the right tippet size and type will help you cast more accurately, avoid breaks, and catch more fish. In this article we have a tippet size chart, as well as all the info you need to know to choose the right tippet.
What Does The “X” Mean For Tippet Size?
The “X” in tippet size stands for the diameter of the tippet material. The smaller the number, the thicker the tippet. For example, a tippet with a size of 0X is much thicker than one that is sized at 12X.
The “X” is correlated with average break strength of a tippet, but different materials, and brands will have different break strengths at the same “X” size. Therefore, look at the break strength to determine actual strength of the tippet.
Tippet Size Chart
To help you choose the right tippet size, we’ve put together a tippet size chart.
|Tippet Size||Tippet Diameter||Fly Sizes||Approx. Breaking Strength (in lbs) *|
|8X||0.003”||22, 24, 26, 28||1.75|
|7X||0.004”||18, 20, 22, 24||2.5|
|6X||0.005”||16, 18, 20, 22||3.5|
|5X||0.006”||14, 16, 18||4.75|
|4X||0.007”||12, 14, 16||6|
|3X||0.008”||6, 8, 10||8.5|
|2X||0.009”||4, 6, 8||11.5|
|1X||0.01”||2, 4, 6||13.5|
|0X||0.011”||1/0, 2, 4||15.5|
|.012||0.012”||5/0, 4/0, 3/0, 2/0||18.5|
|.013||0.013”||5/0, 4/0, 3/0, 2/0||20|
|.015||0.015”||5/0, 4/0, 3/0, 2/0||25|
*Note that the breaking strength can vary by brand and material, so be sure to check the leader and or tippet break strength before purchasing or using.
Printable Tippet Chart Download
How Do I Choose The Right Tippet Size?
The tippet size you choose should be based on the following factors:
- Fishing conditions
- Hook size
- Species of fish you’re targeting
In general, the thicker the tippet, the easier it is to land a fish, but not necessarily to hook a fish. In clear water or when targeting spooky fish, you’ll want to use a thinner tippet so your line is less visible. If you’re fishing in heavy cover or using larger flies, you’ll want to use a thicker tippet so it’s less likely to break, and it is easier to cast larger flies.
Generally, you should always be fishing the largest tippet size you can to help cast more accurately, and reduce the likelihood of breaking the line.
- If the water is dirty or cloudy, if it’s windy, the river is flowing strong, or if the fish are strong, use a heavier tippet
- If the water is very clear, or the fish are picky, you likely need to use a lighter tippet
If the current is fast, or had unusual flows where drag is an issue, you should try to use a finer tippet. A thinner tippet will lessen drag and improve the presentation in unusual flows.
Tippets Vs Leader Vs Fly Line
For more information on tippet, vs leader, vs fly line, and learning about tapered leaders, you should read our complete guide on the subject: https://hikingandfishing.com/leader-vs-tippet-vs-fly-line/
Now that you know everything about tippet, go out and fish with confidence! If you have any questions, or need help choosing the right tippet size, feel free to reach out to us. We’re always happy to help fellow anglers. Until next time, tight lines!
Leader and Tippet Materials
Monofilament nylon is a strong and stretchy type of nylon. Its main benefit is that it floats, which means your flies will stay on the top of the water. It’s cheaper to produce than fluorocarbon, which makes it less expensive. The stretch in the line also means that knots may be less likely to slip or break.
Monofilament is more visible in the water than fluorocarbon, which might frighten fish. Because nylon absorbs moisture, it is less durable to abrasion-induced line breakage. Monofilament also breaks down with extended UV exposure, so you’ll want to replace your line more often. Monofilament is a great option for dry flies.
Fluorocarbon is generally more expensive than monofilament, but it’s more durable and has a greater stiffness that helps with difficult hook sets and sensitivity to strikes. If you like nymphing, this line is ideal for your tippets and leaders as it sinks better, and is less visible under water.
Fluorocarbon is not as stretchy as nylon, so make sure your knots are tight. Knots are more prone to slip; nevertheless, some fluorocarbon has a coating that helps the knots stay in place.
Fluorocarbon is also more resistant to the elements. It takes approximately 4,000 years for it to degrade, so make sure you bring your line out with you on a regular basis! (Which you should be doing, regardless of the sort of line you’re using.)
Many anglers keep both monofilament and fluorocarbon leaders, as well as tippet, in their fishing tackle boxes. The situations in which each is most beneficial are so different that it’s worth having both on hand and ready to use.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about