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Tippet / Leader

Fly Fishing Line: Leader and Tippet

Most new anglers are easily convinced of the need for a quality rod and the right fly patterns, but the importance of Leader and Tippet can be forgotten. The phrase ‘weakest link in the chain’ applies quite literally here: the Leader (and Tippet, if used) are the conduit between rod and lure, and essential to fly fishing. Luckily our carefully selected premium tapered Leaders are all you need to get started.

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What is the difference between Leader and Tippet?

Sometimes they are the same thing. Let’s start with the Leader: this is the first seven and a half to nine feet (usually) of the fishing line. Line thicknesses are given in X: the lower the number, the thicker the line. The best modern Leaders are tapered, and the X measurement will denote thickness at the thinnest point of the line.

Historically, anglers would have to tie different lengths of different thicknesses of line together to achieve a tapered line, but this is no longer necessary thanks to the invention of knotless tapered Leaders, such as those we stock.

Tippet commonly refers to a line of a single thickness (mono-filament). If you buy a tapered Leader then you will only need Tippet to repair the thin end of your Leader if it becomes worn or damaged. For example: a 6X tapered Leader will be 6X at its thin end; if that end becomes damaged then 6X Tippet can be used to repair it.

Our Leaders & Tippet

All of our tapered Leaders feature Invisi-Line technology for a combination of strength (measured in pound weight), impact/shock resistance, and near-invisible appearance. A tapered Leader is all you need to start fly fishing. However the rigours of angling plus changing flies will impart wear and tear on your Leader, which is why we also sell both Mono and Flourocarbon Tippet for adjustments and repairs.

Pro tip: run your Leader (and any Tippet) gently through your lips to best feel rough spots, which are indicative of wear and possible breaking points in the line.

If you’re not certain which Leader you need, please refer to our Tippet and Hook Size Chart.

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