Every now and then there are new accessories or techniques that come into fly fishing and truly change the sport.
Simple as it may be, the tippet ring surely falls into this category. It’s become a mainstay for guides and DIY anglers alike, and the benefits of using them far outweigh any drawback that comes from adding another piece to rig. Not only do they create anchor points for split shot, but they also allow for quick and easy transitions between rigs for those times when a hatch comes out of nowhere and the trout are boiling. They’re beneficial for those who like streamers, nymphs, dries, and any combination of the above!
When you tie tippet directly onto the leader using a variety of knots, it can be cumbersome to switch rigs. Going from a dry-dropper to a full nymph rig can sometimes require different size line, and even swapping monofilament for fluorocarbon. It’s time-consuming to tie those knots, and if they aren’t done well it’s an easy breaking point for a big fish. The tippet ring saves the day in this situation by creating an easy anchor point at the end of your leader, so when these changes have to be made, all that’s required is tying the new section of tippet onto the ring with a strong clinch knot. It’s strong, easy, and saves anglers a ton of time swapping setups for those times when a hatch kicks up and presents an opportunity for some surface action.
Weight Anchor Point
Have you ever attached a split shot onto a nymph rig only to see it slide down right on top of the fly after a few casts? We’ve all been there, and it’s frustrating to constantly stop what you’re doing and move the weight back up, attempting to clamp it down more each time. Not only is this time-consuming, but it can increase the odds that the weight frays the tippet and thus creates a weak point. Tippet rings can save the day here as well! By attaching a tippet ring onto the end of your leader, you’re creating a perfect anchor point for which weight cannot slide down closer to your flies. You can then dictate just how far away the weights are from your flies by carefully tying on a certain amount of tippet from the ring down to your flies. The weights won’t ever slide down right on top of your flies, and if you feel the weights are too close (or too far away) from your flies all you have to do is put a new section of tippet on with the different length and you never have to fuss with taking weight off, then putting it back on once that new adjustment is made.
Let’s say you have a 4X leader tied onto your fly line and below the tippet ring there’s a section of 5X tippet that leads down to your first fly. That’s a common situation for trout anglers and it makes total sense that you’d want to taper the line diameter down as you get closer to the flies. But what happens if the fish become a bit shy and move away from the 5X? Instead of re-tooling the entire rig and putting on a thinner leader, you can just tie a second tippet ring onto the 5X tippet and extend things out with a section 6X below that second ring. Since they’ll be tied with a clinch knot, the adjustment won’t take very long, and rest assured it’s a strong knot that won’t greatly increase the odds that a snag or nice trout will break the whole thing. The ability to quickly and effectively extend a rig out to further taper your line makes the tippet ring an invaluable tool!
Tippet rings can transform your time on the water by making many aspects of the day quick and easy. Whether you’re switching from dry flies to nymphs or looking for a place to anchor split shots, tippet rings are the tool for the job. These handy little fly fishing accoutrements are worth their weight in gold, and should be carried by fly anglers of all skill levels regardless of how they like to fish or what they’re fishing for!