Lots of claims are made by manufacturers about tippet materials but how accurate are they?
Back in 2015 Yellowstone Angler performed a range of tests and a wide variety of lines. It was interesting reading then and it still is now. The article can be found by following this link
The best nylon in the test was Stroft GTM. This is an excellent tippet material, but my preference is Stroft ABR. In their review Yellowstone Angler said "The only downsides were their poor spool design and slightly higher average cost than other nylons". I disagree on the cost issue, I think this is really good value for money, especially the 100m spools, but totally agree that the spool design is poor.
The smaller 50m spools are more convenient and easier to carry than the much larger 100m spools but buying the 50m spools is way more expensive. Neigher spool systems interlock which is a pity as I prefer small 100m spools that lock together, but if you only carry one or two spools this may not be an issue.
The 'X' sizing of tippet was originally used for the cutting of catgut in to strips of uniform thickness.
The same sizing convention has since been adopted by many tippet manufacturers for nylon and fluorocarbon. The original sizing was done in fractions of an inch but has also been converted into metric measurements (**the metric diameters can vary slightly between manufacturers but as we're talking about small percentages of a millimeter the variation isn't big enough to lose sleep over).
Below is a simple sizing chart for the most popular sizes of fly fishing tippet. I've kept this basic and not confused it by including breaking strains or poundage as these vary significantly between brands and materials.
It was cold today, very cold! Rod guides icing up can be a problem when winter fishing and there are a few does and a don't when this happens.
Don't try to pick or snap the ice off, this can damage your line and even break the guides. There are a few things for can use to help prevent or slow down the buildup. Lip balm, Vaseline, or even cooking oil can be lightly applied to dry guides, So be prepared and even before you start fishing apply a thin film to each guide. Don't use too much, if you need to reapply soften the ice by dipping the guides in the water before gently removing it, dry them off and re-apply your ice retardant. I have two other solutions you can try - one is Silicone Mucilin, I always have this in my pack and it works well, alternatively just pack up, go home and wait for the weather to warm up!
So just to be clear mono, copolymer and fluoro are all monofilament, in that it is all a single extrusion. However we anglers usually like to define them separately so for the purposes of this post that's what I'll do.
Mono & copolymer: Basically the same stuff. A relatively inexpensive tippet material that has good stretching properties, now whilst this makes for good shock absorption and less risk of breaking it can reduce sensitivity and bite detection. It tends to be supple and not to have memory problems and lies straight. Diameter to strength can be excellent with better brands having surprisingly fine diameters for their breaking strain and good abrasion resistance. Mono and copolymer are not UV resistant and will eventually break down in sunlight.
Fluoro: I've got to say there are some claims made of fluoro that I don't believe and that do not stand up to scrutiny.
Take a length of each material of the same diameter and fluoro will be heavier than mono, however the claims that it sinks and so is better for sub surface fishing is a load of eyewash! If it doesn't break the surface tension of the water fluoro floats just like mono. If it breaks the surface tension fluoro and mono sinks, however fluoro does sink more quickly but if fishing a wet fly or nymph it doesn't help to sink the fly quicker.
I've read how fluoro is near invisible underwater due to its refractive index, mmmm, right!! Try this little experiment for yourself - Take a length of each material of the same diameter and place them in a glass of water, both are clearly visible. Now drop the same pieces on to the water, both will stick in the surface tension, finally poke them under the water and both will sink!
Fluoro is generally stiffer and less stretchy, this is good for bite detection but bad for snapping and memory retention. Some claim knot strength is not so good, but as long as appropriate knots are well tied I don't think there is a problem, but because it is stiffer and less flexible it may contribute to knot breaks.
Finally fluoro is UV resistant so does not break down in sunlight, this one fact is why I will not consider using it. If this stuff is left lying around it's there forever, it will not degrade!
Fluoro is a good deal more expensive than mono so you have to decide if it's worth the premium.
So to conclude: there are good and bad points with both materials, it's up to you to decide which is best for you. Personally I use and recommend good quality mono or copolymer.
Having joined the throngs of traffic on Friday I crept, stop start up the A55, M56 and M6 to get to Lowther in readiness for the show.
Saturday was brilliant - hot, sunny and incredibly busy. The whole team didn't stop all day. As the crowds left we were able to relax, chat about the day, throw a few fly lines and try out some different tackle before heading off to the pub for a well deserved beer (or 2).
Sunday was wet but mild and calm. The rain was not as bad as forecast and whilst it was not so busy and a slow start we were still kept on our toes all day. No matter the weather it was a great show and I hope a successful one for the traders, stall holders and organisers.
I was encouraged to see so many people of all ages having a go at casting a fly line. If just a few take up this brilliant sport our time and effort was not in vain.
Fly tackle - the basics
When starting out the array of tackle available can be daunting, and the terminology used confusing. Below is a simple beginners guide to fly tackle.
My fly line preference is for a profile with a continuous front taper. There are a number of these on the market and some are better that others. I really like the Royal Wulff Triangle Taper Nymph (previously reviewed), The Rio Single Handed Spey and Barrio SLX. Each have their own combination of compound tapers but all fundamentally act in the same way. They have a fairly short, continuously tapered heavy head with the bulk of the weight at the back. This makes for a great line for roll and spey casting and gives the opportunity to shoot a considerable length of line when overhead casting.
The big difference is the price and quality. The SLX doesn't come with welded loops (I always cut these off anyway) and the duo colour isn't as good as it could be. The colours bleed into each other and don't clearly define the end of the head. But it's almost half the price of the competition and really good value.
The SLX features a head length of approx 33 ft with a series of compound tapers, a short belly and short rear taper . It's designed to be heavy on the scales, but feel light in the air. However be aware when overhead casting that this is a heavy line and compensate accordingly.
The SLX has two colour options, an orange head with tan running line and an olive head with cream running line.
This is a good line at a very reasonable price, I use it for fishing, instructing and casting demonstrations, and frequently recommend it to clients. I have found the service from Mike Barrio to be excellent and lines are usually delivered within a day or two of ordering.