Are Your Tippets Snapping?

I was fishing a local river, above a friendly angler. We were swapping tips and helping out each other.

He was swinging wet flies. Hooked three. All three broke off as he set the hook. The tippet snapped.

Now, I’m not an expert, but I’ve been thinking about his situation. He was using a pretty stiff rod, I reckon. His answer was to put on heavier and heavier tippet.

IMO, I think a lighter rod is the way to go. It bends more, and so, is more forgiving when you set the hook. Because of that, you can use lighter tippet and fool more savvy trout.

As I’ve written in the past, I’ve been “downsizing” my fly rods. I fish mostly with a 3 wt. these days. I go down to a 1 wt. in special situations for panfish and for dry-fly fishing, and I’ve been able to haul in 12″+ trout very quickly with the rod.

I’ve realized over time that my light rods and tippet can handle way more pressure than I had thought. I am much more aggressive now at playing trout.

IMO, a lighter rod is particularly key on in the C&R area of the Swift, wherein very wily trout are tippet-shy and prefer small flies. With a lighter rod, you can use lighter tippet and cast small flies without spooking fish. I had good luck last autumn on the Swift with such an approach (some pics of good-sized Swift ‘bows here). Some guys even fish with a 000 fly rod!

So, if you’re finding fish often breaking off, consider going to a lighter rod.  A stiff rod will really test a tippet, more so than you want, IMO.

For me, less is more.

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3 thoughts on “Are Your Tippets Snapping?

  1. I think the lighter rod will help, but if he broke off 3 fish in a row there's a good chance it was a knot problem. I broke off so many fish when I started before I realized I was tying the double surgeons knot wrong.

    1. That's a great point. I should have asked him if the tippet broke clean, or if there was a curly end on his tippet, the latter of which would have indicated an unraveled knot.

  2. You can literally slam the hook in as hard as you can with a 10 foot fast tip, ultralight rod. Even with a 7x tippet. It's amazing how the rod absorbs the entire hookset.

    -Scott

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