Tippet rings are a valuable piece of fly fishing gear that makes life a little bit easier when it comes to making a tapered leader and using your leader and tippet more efficiently. Join me as we discuss how to use tippet rings.
What Is A Tippet Ring?
A tippet ring is a tiny little ring that is made from a nickel alloy material. They come in packs of 10, are light as a feather, and are so small that they float and won’t break the surface tension on the water unless pulled down by a fly.
What Are Tippet Rings For?
The answer to this question is in the name ‘tippet ring’. They are designed for attaching to the end of your tapered leader so you can quickly add tippet and swap it out with ease. You can also use them to build a tapered leader, putting a tippet ring between each section of the leader as you taper the leader down.
If you want more information on How To Make a Tapered Leader, see our post here.
Why use tippet rings?
The main reason to use tippet rings is to save you money as you can re-use leaders again and again with them, and time when changing a rig or doing a fly change.
Once your shop-bought leaders are spent, what do you do with them? Most likely swap them out for a fresh one. Well, with a tippet ring you can continue using them instead. Just tie a tippet ring onto the butt of your leader and then add a long bit of tippet to it, and you’re ready to continue fishing.
The same goes for a fly change. If you need to change your tippet from 4x to an 8x or your dry fly fishing rig to a nymph rig or a streamer, just snip off the old rig at the split ring and tie on the new one.
Are Tippet Rings Strong?
Some anglers worry that adding a tippet ring to the leader line will compromise its strength. Since tippet rings are made of a really tough nickel alloy material, they have a breaking strain of 25-30lbs, and will never fail before your leader, knots, or fluorocarbon tippet does.
Check out our post here as well on Tippet Shootout.
Do fish get put off by tippet rings?
Tippet rings are super tiny and when you attach them to your leader, they are the same size as a normal knot would be. No fish is going to notice one or be put off by it, even the wisest trout will let it float by without being put off.
You might struggle to believe me until you have seen one, but once you have held one in your hand at your local fly shop, you’ll understand.
Can you use them for dry fly fishing?
Yes. Thanks to their low weight they float on the surface and being so small have very little or no drag. This means you can fish a dry fly or multiple dry flies with ease.
I know it doesn’t make sense to put a tiny metal ring in your leader, and it’s not the classic approach, but using tippet rings to fish a dry really does work, and I do it often.
Could you use tippet rings for nymphing?
Nymphing is where tippet rings come into their own. By using tippet rings tied in your leader you can create a dropper nymphing rig by spacing out each tippet ring with a few feet of tippet.
You can then add a nymph to each tippet ring, and another nymph at the end to create the ultimate triple or double nymphing rig.
You can, of course, make a similar leader using knots but it becomes a pain to manage. With tippet rings, each nymph has its own side of the line, and its own knot, and to change the tippet out takes a few seconds, and will save you time on the water.
Do tippet rings stop your flies turning over as well?
Tippet rings are so light that they make no big difference to your flies turning over, even when fishing a streamer. They are as light as or weigh less than a knot, so fly fishing with a tippet ring is the same as using a homemade leader with knots in it.
Where on your leader should you attach a tippet ring?
The best place to tie a tippet ring onto your leader is at the end of the line where you want your thin tippet line to start, usually about 6 feet in.
If you’re using brand new shop-bought leaders, cut off about 3-4 feet of it and put your tippet ring there. If you’re using olf leaders, then about 5 feet into it is perfect.
Tips for tying on tippet rings
Tying on a tippet ring is simple and the first tip is a point all about knots.
You are probably used to tying a blood knot or surgeon’s knot when making leaders without tippet rings. They are tricky knots, with tippet rings you tie a clinch knot instead, which are far simpler, easier to tie, and take less time.
If you’re not familiar with a clinch knot, here is how to tie it:
The next point, now we have left those blood knots behind, is to always tie on your line to the tippet ring while it’s on the set (usually a swivel). Do not remove the tippet ring from the set first, or it’ll be impossible to tie the line onto because it’s so small.
Once you have tied your leader onto the tippet ring, you can remove it from the set, and now it’s time to tie your tippet to the other side, using the same clinch not.
Now you can pull out as long a length of tippet as you like, cut it, attach your fly or flies, and ahead out fly fishing on your favorite water.
Tippet rings, should you use them?
In my eyes, 100% capital YES. They are going to save you time and money that you can spend fishing on the water instead. They might not the classical old-school fly fishing approach that is so ingrained in us all, but they are a useful tool worth using.
Thanks for reading my post, I hope you enjoyed it and are convinced about tippet rings. you know I am.
If you have any comments or questions you’d like to share about the post you can leave your comments below. Until next time, tight lines.