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Guide Reviews: Leaders and Tippet

02/27/16 at 11:45 AM by Vince Puzick


We asked the Guides at Angler’s Covey for their go-to leaders and tippet products.  Surprisingly, there was a lot of agreement on their choices.  Kenny Romero may have captured the overall gist of the Guides’ responses, though: “use the right size leader and tippet for the conditions.  Having a wide variety of different size leaders and tippets keeps you in the game regardless of the conditions you’ll meet on the water.”  How do the Guides’ choices line up when it comes to leader and tippet? 


orris super strongNeil Luehring: I primarily use the Orvis Super Strong Nylon. I used some of the new improved stuff earlier this year, and it does seem better than the previous product. It seemed to be a little more supple which helps to ensure the knots are good and tight. I don’t like fluorocarbon for dry fly fishing, but I often do use it for sub-surface presentations. The Orvis and the Trout Hunter products are both very good.


David CarragherOrvis Super Strong Leader and tippet and Mirage Fluorocarbon.  I use the Super Strong for dry flies because it seems to float better and Fluorocarbon for subsurface (streamers and nymphs).  Fluorocarbon is less visible in the water and is stronger in the cold weather.   


Kenny Romero:  I use monofilament leaders and fluorocarbon tippet. I generally stick with Orvis Super Strong leaders and Mirage fluorocarbon tippet or Rio Powerflex mono leader and Flouroflex tippet.  I just don’t think you need the fluorocarbon attributes of invisibility and strength in a leader; however, I am a firm believer and never fish without fluorocarbon tippet material. I generally use 7.5 foot leaders ranging from 2x to 7x depending on whether I’m fishing ultra-wary winter fish in low flow conditions or 2x when stripping streamers for big trout and pike on Spinney. My riostandard guide set up during the summer is 4x or 5x leader and 4x or 5x tippet to my first fly, followed by 4x or 5x tippet depending on water clarity and flows.   During high run off I use a stronger leader and tippet, maybe even 2 x or 3x during the rainbow run in high, fast stained water.  During low, clear water conditions like winter I’ll generally use 5x leaders and tippet.  When fish are rising, I’ll use 6x fluoro to size 22 and 24 flies and 7x to smaller flies.  If you don’t want to invest in a separate streamer rig, you can just attach a Rio Versiflex sinking leader to use when stripping streamers.  The moral of the story: use the right size leader and tippet for the conditions.  Having a wide variety of different size leaders and tippets keeps you in the game regardless of the conditions you’ll meet on the water.


Zack Tokach: For the tricky tail water trout I really like Orvis Mirage tippet and leaders. The combination of strength and fluorocarbon in these products makes them effective.

orvis mirage


Greg Blessing: Frog Hair products for both. I go with fluorocarbon for nymphing and film presentations because of the stretch it gives you.  You’re more successful getting fish to the net.

frog hair


Paul Martinez:  I am partial to the Orvis Super Strong Leader, and Trout Hunter Tippet.  The Super Strong leader is supple enough to fish small dry flies, yet strong and very abrasion resistant when nymphing and your leader is rubbing against rocks. I like the Trout Hunter Tippet for the same reasons I like the Super Strong Leader.  Plus Trout Hunter does not curl up on me when I tie knots with 6X tippet.

trout hunter


Watch our blog for their reviews of rods, reels, waders, tippet … and more in the next couple of weeks. 



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