The tiny tippet ring may have escaped your notice on the display rack of your local fly shop or catalogue page. I have been testing and using tippet rings for two years and think they might be an overlooked fly fishing accessory. They have made my time on the water more productive and less frustrating.
A tippet ring is a very small 2mm or 3mm solid ring with no seams or burls . It is used to make the connection between your leader and tippet material. Once you have incorporated tippet rings into your system it makes your leaders last longer. Adding, replacing or modifying your tippet on the water becomes EASY! Easy as tying a clinch knot! The clinch knot is a proven connection. I have been tying this basic fisherman’s knot since I was about 8 years old and its ingrained in my muscle memory and brain synapses.
I have used and tied the blood and surgeons knots to replace or extend my tippet to leader connection . I have watched in amazement as a guide or fellow angler with cold hands does this deftly and quickly standing in current ,wind blowing, the light fading, fish rising with fine 6x tippet. I salute you ! This process for me ended up in #@%&$ words. We all know one of the keys to catching fish is to keep a line in the water. Tippet rings get my fly back in the water faster and with less hassle.
So now you may wonder why your FWFF fly tying guy is writing about tippet rings? Because here is the key. Set up your leaders, rings, tippets in advance while at your tying bench. You have the benefit of good light, magnification, and no rising fish.
Step by Step / Also see video link below for a great tutorial.
- Remove a fresh new knotless tapered leader from the package.
- Carefully unwind the leader
- Find the point where the leader tapers down to the finer tippet portion. Usually 18″-24″ from the end of the leader.
- Cut the leader and tippet at this point. Save 18″-24″ tippet.
- Tippet rings usually come 8-10 rings in a pack on a safety pin type closure. Leave them on the safety pin or risk losing them !
- Put the end of you leader through the first tippet ring that will come off of the safety pin/clip. Tie a clinch knot . Use the safety pin as a grip to provide tension to cinch down knot.
- Carefully open up safety pin and slide the ring that you tied your clinch knot to. Close safety pin.
- You are then ready to take the 18″-24″ piece of tippet you set aside and attach it with another clinch knot to your leader with the tippet ring already secured to it.
- Carefully wind your new leader , tippet ring set-up back -up and place it back into leader package. I typically do this with every new leader I buy. Once you get the hang of the process you can set-up a dozen leaders in 30-45 minutes.
- On the water : If you need to replace or extend your tippet due to repeated fly changes , break offs etc. simply cut the used tippet portion of line from the tippet ring and re attach a new section of the length and test you desire with a clinch knot. Fast and easy !
I have used these tippet rings on my 3wt rod with 6x tippet, a size 20 dry fly and have had no problems keeping them afloat and drifting naturally. The surface tension of water keeps the tiny rings afloat. A dab of dry fly gel or floatant can also be used on the ring if needed. I have also landed some bruiser bass and carp using the 3mm tippet rings with 8-12lb fluorocarbon tippet.
Tippet rings can be purchased at:
Our local Cabela’s or Backwoods
Or online at: