Leader & Tippet

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Yes, if you’re fly fishing, you’ll need a leader and tippet. A leader is the tapered monofilament that attaches to the end of your fly line. It’s absolutely necessary for the transfer of power in your cast. Tippet is the line that connects your leader to your fly, so it’s one of the most important links in the chain of fly fishing. Keep the “fly line-leader-tippet-fly” chain of your rig in order. 

In fly fishing, tippet is the light yet durable portion of material that attaches the fly to the leader. Think of it as the “tip” of the leader. 

The difference between fly leader and tippet is that the leader, a thicker and longer section of line, ties directly to the fly line to aid in a delicate presentation of the fly. The tippet, an almost gossamer portion of line, connects the fly to the leader to complete the presentation.

We consider the Orvis SuperStrong and Mirage Fluorocarbon Knotless Tapered Leader to be the best fly leaders for trout. The best tippet size for trout when fishing nymphs and dries is 4X–6X. When fishing streamers for trout, 2X–4X is ideal.

5X tippet means the line is .006" in diameter, and it’s good for trout, especially if you’re using dry flies and smaller nymphs.

Yes, you can put a 3X tippet on a 5X leader. The general rule is never to drop more than two sizes of tippet at a time. 

Use a 4X leader when you’re casting smaller streamers, nymphs, dry flies, or wet flies for trout.

You can use fluorocarbon as tippet, and we offer our Mirage tippet in fluorocarbon. We also offer fluorocarbon tippet from Scientific Anglers.

In general, the size of the fly divided by 3 gives a good approximation of the “X” rating of the tippet. For example, a size 12 fly is normally fished with a 4X tippet (12 ÷ 3 = 4) and a size 18 fly is commonly tied to a 6X tippet (18 ÷ 3 = 6). 

How much leader and tippet you should use depends on what you’re fishing and the water conditions. Generally, a fly-fishing day can be handled with a 6- to 12-foot leader, and most anglers start with a 9-foot leader. Our video by fly fishing expert Ben Sittig walks you through how to choose your leader and how much to use. Every knotless, tapered leader has a tippet of at least 18 to 24 inches.

Fly-Fishing Leaders & Tippet

Orvis has the fly-fishing leaders and tippet you need for angling success and enjoyment, in a range of strengths, sizes, lengths, and constructions. Our nylon, fluorocarbon, and wire leaders are ready for your toothy critter obsessions. The SuperStrong nylon and Mirage fluorocarbon leader and tippet pack both make a great all-in-one combination for grab-and-go convenience to get out the door and on the water fast. Our Mirage fluorocarbon leaders and tippet are unmatched to use in subsurface nymph and streamer casting for those wary, highly pressured fish we all love to obsess over tricking. Use the sinking poly leaders for all your days casting for salmon and steelhead, or throw one on when it's time to find that huge king brown trout that calls the bottom of the pool its home. As anglers, we need the best gear. As a leading fly-fishing outfitter, Orvis stakes its reputation on supplying enthusiasts throughout the world with the best rods, reels, and flies to help you pull in the fish of a lifetime. The enjoyment of a perfect cast is possible only with a precise leader and tippet setup. Find the most reliable, durable leaders and tippet in this collection.