What is the script with my Tippet?

I have had a bit of a bad year with tippet material. At the start of the season I bought some “Frog Hair” and really liked it. It turned over well and had a good fine diameter. For some reason it started to deteriorate rapidly. About half way through the spool I noticed that when I was testing my knots it was snapping very easily. I put it down to a bad batch and bought another one. In fact if memory serves me right I bought two spools at this point, I bought some Rio tippet material as well. They were both in the 3-4lb mark. The exact same thing happened to those two spools of tippet material as well – what the monkeys is that all about? After the first batch I thought hard about it and decided that when taking tippet off the spool I would be careful to take the little band off just in case it was rubbing the line and weakening it or something, nope it did not work.
I have been racking my brains the whole season; I keep them in my top left hand waistcoat pocket, which is my tippet pocket so don’t keep anything else in there. I know that mono can deteriorate when left in sunlight but they very rarely see the light of day unless I am actually changing my leader. On closer inspection it is possible to actually see the deterioration – you can see where the tippet gets thicker and thinner when you examine it closely. I is just ordinary mono, I don’t like using fluorocarbon for two reasons. One- I find the stuff fiddly and prone to tangles even when fishing with a single fly and two- the stuff takes an age to degrade, much much longer than ordinary mono. In this day and age I don’t want to leave a massive “Fluoro” footprint behind me.
Anyone else had this problem with tippet material ?


  1. Trout Underground · December 9, 2006

    I’m with you on the fluorocarbon stuff.

    As for you tippet, maybe it’s new to you, but it’s been hanging around in the dealer’s window for a year or two.

    I once got a spool of tippet that was twisted all to hell, but never anything weak.

    I’d get some from a place that sells a lot of the stuff (so it turns over quickly) and see if you have the same problem.

    Do you have a tippet gauge? Be interesting to see if your tippet really varies in diameter, or if it’s an optical illusion.

  2. Wyatt · December 9, 2006

    I’ve always had bad luck with the Rio tippet. I now use Scientific Angler exclusively and have had good results.

  3. mike · December 9, 2006

    I’ve been using Stroft for the last season, for both trout fly fishing and grayling bugging. It’s the best stuff I’ve come across, when you take price, suppleness, reliability and general joy into account. Worth trying anyway, you can’t go wrong for 4 quid for 100m.
    Personally, I think you want you tippet material to be pretty limp. You get the turnover from the main leader length, but it’s much better to have a nice soft tippet (at least for dries) to reduce drag. This is especially true down our regular other river.

  4. Jack · December 9, 2006

    I’ve had the same experience with Frog Hair. For whatever reason, the stuff just seems to degrade no matter what is done to preserve it and no longer purchase it. I now use Maxima Clear and Green exclusively and have not had any problems; I’ve found Rio to be pretty decent as well. Both are tough, easy to work with and seem to last forever.

    As for fluoro, I think it much ado about nothing. It’s way too expensive (comapred to mono), isn’t environmentally friendly and let’s face it, we’ve done just fine without it for generations fishing-wise.

  5. billy · December 9, 2006

    The best mono lines I’ve used for dry fly, is Racine Tortue (Dannys Den), and an old line called Luxor Kroik, although I don’t know if you can still get this one. Also Hardys Copolymer is good but Ive heard they’ve stopped making it.

  6. Alistair · December 9, 2006

    Glad i am not the only one who has problems with Frog Hair, now that I come to think about it I think Alex had some problems as well.
    Might buy Racine Tortue and Stroft for next year, tippet material is just so damned expensive i would expect it to last longer.
    I bought my tippet from the Glasgow Angling Centre, I would imagine they ahve a high turnover, maybe it was because I bought it at the start of the season ?

  7. Trout Underground · December 9, 2006

    I’ve used Orvis the last couple years and been very happy. Only failures were due to Operator Error, and the stuff is soft enough for nice drifts with little flies.

    I am sensing the need to find a slightly stiffer tippet material for casting those big, bushy stonefly-esque dry flies as the softer materials want to furl up a bit, even in 3x sizes.

    Maxima works well on the stiffness front…

  8. Alistair · December 9, 2006

    Maxima has a high diameter though, or does it ?

  9. mike · December 9, 2006

    I think maxima is reasonably high diameter, certainly compared to the likes of Stroft and Double Strength. But as Tom says it’s a little stiffer so has its uses.

  10. Alex · December 9, 2006

    I know what you mean. Tippet material does seem to degenerate over the course of a season. I suppose it’s about getting a brand you have confidence with- I am still trying!!


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