Selecting the right tippet for the right situation.
After spending all winter tying the best hatch-matching patterns you’ve ever tied, investing in the best gear you can afford, and spending countless hours practice-casting on the lawn, there’s no greater sensation than stalking and fooling the fish of a lifetime. On the other hand, there’s no greater sorrow than watching that same fish swim off with your best-tied pattern because you failed to check the condition of your tippet—which is ironic, because that final length of light, wispy, nearly invisible material is the last critical connection between you and your quarry. Like your fly line, most tippet has a limited shelf life, and on the water, can become brittle, weak, or damaged, so it’s important to change it after any indication it might be impaired. (Hint: if you gently run it through your fingers and you feel imperfections, it needs to be changed.) Here are a couple other things to keep in mind about tippet and ways to extend the life of your leader, as well as a look at some spools from leading manufacturers.