It’s been an overlooked helper for years. These tiny rings enable you to switch out tippet quickly and productively without burning through dozens of leaders in a season, because tippet rings give you a well-defined break off point. I recommend installing them in the comfort of your favorite reading or fly tying spot where lighting is good and you can see the little buggers.
Tippet rings usually come packaged on a snap swivel for on-stream or off-stream ease. I suggest you tie onto the closest ring to the opening BEFORE you open the snap swivel…or you stand a good chance of losing the ring before you even get a chance to tie a knot on it.
When time allows, open a fresh packet of leaders and carefully unfurl them. If your leaders are 9ft, they typically have a two foot section of tippet. So snip two feet up and tie on the tippet ring with an improved clinch knot. When in doubt use a tippet gauge to help ensure you are in the right spot. Save the tippet you just snipped off, if 9ft leaders are what you prefer. Tie on the tippet with another improved clinch knot and roll up your leader, as it’s locked and loaded ready for the water.
I typically make up a half dozen, which usually gets me through a season with three different rods. A tippet ring not only saves you from wasting leaders, but it also gives a perfect spot to add a dropper fly. Hopper dropper anyone?
Now, you would think a metal ring would sink, but these rings are so small, (typically made of nickel alloy) they usually just sit in the water tension and work just fine with a floating or sinking system. And before you try to argue they might be a weak point, the typically 2-3mm rings are rated from 25-30 lb test. So no chance of that being an issue.
Lastly if you're worried the fly won’t turn over well because of this little lifesaver, you need not fret. The leaders work just fine and operate as normal. Tippet rings are useful for both commercial and homemade leaders. The only obstacle you have is actually installing it.
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