fly fishing tippet ring

What Is a Fly-Fishing Tippet Ring and How to Set Them Up?

Using Tippet Rings has saved me so much money and hassle that when I was recently asked “What is a Tippet Ring?” I was genuinely surprised my friend did not already know. I decided to write this, therefore, to explain to everyone what a Tippet Ring is and why it is one of my favorite pieces of Fly-Fishing kit.

What Is a Tippet Ring and What Are They Used For?

A Tippet Ring is a small metal ring tied in-between the end of a Tapered Leader and the Tippet material. Using a tippet ring at this connection allows you to cut back the tippet without shortening the tapered leader every time a new fly is tied on.

How to set up a Tippet Ring for Fly-Fishing

There are two main use cases for a tippet ring, implementing either is incredibly simple and can be done in just a minute or two.

Tippet Ring
Tippet Ring

The first case is when you are using the Tippet Ring to ensure the longevity of your Leader material and therefore tying your tippet material to it. Tying the Tapered Leader to the Tippet ring is the most complex aspect of this procedure. To accomplish this task with ease I recommend…

  1. Separating a single Tippet Ring from the many found on the D-Ring. At this point you should not yet remove the Tippet Ring from the D-Ring.
  2. While your Tippet Ring is held by the D-Ring insert the tip of your Tapered Leader and proceed to tie a clinch or improved clinch knot onto the leader.
  3. At this point you can remove the leader from the during being careful not to drop any of the other Tippet Rings as they are very small and, therefore, difficult to find.
  4. Now that your Tippet Ring is restrained by your Leader, so it is at least somewhat more easily identifiable, you can tie your Tippet material to the opposing side of the Tippet Ring.
  5. At any point in the future you can. Now just tie your Tippet material to the Tippet Ring instead of having to cut back on your expensive Tapered Leader.

The second case is when you want to fish multiple flies at one time. For example, a Nymph and a Dry-Fly at the same time. This use case is very similar in procedure to the first use case, with only one additional step required. To accomplish this…

  1. Follow the steps of the previous use case.
  2. Attach additional Tippet material to the Tippet Ring, via a clinch or improved clinch knot, at a 90-degree angle to the Tapered Leader and Tippet material line.
    This same procedure can be used if instead of a second fly you want to attach a weight to your line to help sink a Nymph fly.

Do Tippet Rings Spook Fish and do They Float?

Most small Tippet Rings will float as their weight is not great enough to break the surface tension. However, even the larger size tippet rings, they may not float on their own, will float when attached to Tippet material because the surface tension increases. The only time that a Tippet Ring should sink is if a Weight, or a weighted nymph, is attached to the Tippet Ring.

Some metallic Tippet Rings could have the possibility of spooking fish as when they hit the water a reflection from the sun may come off of their surface. Although, this is why most Tippet Rings are coated with non-reflective black paint. Another possibility is that the Tippet is made from dark metal and manufactured to have an anti-glare finish.

What Sizes Do Tippet Rings Come In?

The standard sizes of Tippet Rings are…

tippet ring 2mm
tippet ring 2mm
  • 2mm, often used for Trout fishing and has a test strength of 25 pounds.
  • 3mm, often used for Steelhead fishing and has a test strength of 45 pounds.
    However, some specialty sites also offer Tippet Rings that are…
  • 1.5mm, also often used for trout fishing.
  • 4.5mm, used mostly for large fish species or attaching many flies to a single leader.

How Much Do Tippet Rings Cost?

Prices, of course, vary amongst manufacturers but all are relatively cheap and definitely will save you money just in how much in prolongs the life of your Tapered Leader. You can get a pack of (10) 2.0mm or 3.0mm Tippet Rings on AMAZON If you’d like to check the reviews for the highly recommended use this link to Amazon RIO Tippet Rings.

Disadvantages of Using Tippet Rings?

The main concern I have heard is that using a Tippet Ring over complicates the setup. Some people find the convenience of tying a single surgeons knot, instead of two clinch knots on a ring, is more valuable than saving from not having to cut back onto the Leader material. This concern does not really make sense to me, however, because the initial knot on the Tippet Ring from the Tapered Leader rarely needs to be retied. Additionally, the Tippet ring. To me, seems like an incredibly simple yet ingenious way to attach various flies onto the end of you Tapered Leader.

Another concern I have heard is that the knot from the Tippet material onto the Tippet Ring is a weak point in the setup. This concern is something that I can sympathize with because there is nothing more frustrating than losing a fish to a broken line or a broken knot. Although, this concern can be eliminated as long as the knot is tied properly. The relative strength of the line and the clinch knot or improved clinch knot is almost equally matched. Additionally, even with a single surgeon’s knot there is the concern of a weak point created by the addition of a knot. However, again this is only a concern if the proper attention is not taken to the tying of the knot.

How to not Lose the Tippet Rings

The first, and most important, aspect to keeping track of your Tippet Rings is to always keep them on the D-Ring holder included in the packaging of the Tippet Rings. This ensures that they are all kept in one place and don’t have the possibility of getting lost in your fly box or your tackle box or even worse just spread across the ground.

The second aspect I actually already mentioned. I recommend never taking the Tippet Ring off of the D-Ring unless you already have at least one knot attached to the Tippet Ring. I recommend this because as long as you have one knot attached you can always just follow the line down to the Tippet Ring if it slips out of your hand.

Lastly, I would recommend keeping the Tippet Rings not in a tackle box or a fly box, or anywhere that will be with you when you’re on the river. I say this because as long as you keep extra leader material with you, which you already should be doing, then you won’t be caught with no way to continue fishing. And, in the very unlikely case that you do have to replace the Tippet Ring that can be done at home. This of course is if you are particularly worried about dropping the Tippet Rings as they would be easier to find on the carpet or the kitchen floor than in a canoe or, worse, in the grass.

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