Light Euro-Nymphing - Part 4: The Tippet

Light Euro-Nymphing - Part 4: The Tippet

Euro-Nymphing: Fish lighter to improve your nymph game

Part 4: The tippet

This is a series of articles to help you fish lighter for improved euro-nymphing success.


This topic is always a point of controversy in the nymphing (and fishing) world, but the fact is that thin fluorocarbon tippet has less resistance, which provides a faster sink-rate and better, more natural drifts. It also sinks faster than mono / nylon.

Tippet is often overlooked by most anglers, but to me it is one of the most crucial part of the rig, only secondary to my flies.

Some claim that 4x is good enough. Unless you need to retrieve logs out of the stream, 4x is entirely too heavy, in my opinion. If you speak to most competition anglers, most won't even have 5x on their tippet spool holder.

Sensitivity-wise, the same thing can be said for light tippet that is said about light leaders. While using those lighter tippets, you can feel your flies and your drift a lot easier than using something heavier.

If you're worried about anything at all, start at 5x and work your way down. I personally use 6x and 7x. Light tippet is a weird concept to gain confidence in, but it pays off in the long run.

Speaking of confidence, a lot of anglers have a distrust or lack of confidence in lighter tippets, because of their potential for losing fish. While this is true for any tippet, there are a few tweaks to some habits that can really effect why your tippet breaks, and lighter tippet always seems to be the scapegoat for these habits.

Here are those things:

  • Your hook-set may be too harsh. If you have to question it, it is. Mine is. Thats one of my biggest flaws as an angler that I continually try to correct.
  • Not changing your tippet frequently. Your tippet gets majorly beat up from rocks, trees, sticks, tangles, and knots. An easy check is to just run your hands down it, and if it feels gritty, or coils, it's time to change. Taking a few minute to change your tippet is better than losing any number of fish.
  • Check your tag knot. A lot of good anglers use blood knots to connect their tag to their tippet. This is arguably the strongest connection. I use a double-surgeon's knot because my blood knots aren't fast enough for me. Weirdly enough, I would suggest against a triple-surgeon's knot, as I've seen it puts too much pressure on the knot and breaks more easily than the double.
  • Check your connection knots. I use a davy knot to connect my flies because of speed and strength. If that's not strong enough for your preference, use a good clinch knot.
  • Your rod is too stiff. Mentioned in Part 2: The Rod, euro-rods are designed to protect delicate tippet. If you're using a rod thats not designed for euro-nymphing, chances are you'll break off on hooksets more often.
  • You're not using good tippet. There is "bad" tippet out there, and its usually cheaper or very old, sold on a discount website.


Speaking to that last point, I've had anglers ask me, or i've seen it floating around on the internet, "what is good, cheap tippet?" - and the answer I always give is, "no cheap tippet is good tippet." When people experience cheap tippet or large spools of fluoro, they seem to have more distrust for thinner tippets because of this. If you spend the money on tippet, you'll see a drastic difference. On that same note, if you're fishing on a budget, spend less on the rod and reel, and save money for tippet. Investing in your tippet pays dividends.

My favorite tippet brands are:


Please feel free to share your favorite tippet brands, questions, or general tippet talk in the comments below.


Next, we'll discuss Casting and Landing angles.


- Nick Meloy



  • Joe B.

    I’m curious about the double versus triple surgeons knot. I was under the impression you need a triple when using thin tippets (5x-7x). Is that not the case?


    The reason I go to heavier tippet is because of tangles. Some days something is off and I tangle light tippets.

  • Stephen Ruiz

    Dude! This is an excellent series of articles. As I’ve had a fair amount of success at it, I was recently asked to present on Euro Nymphing to a small club (uh, I had 48 PowerPoint slides – geez!) and the guys and gals loved it. I spoke about a lot of the things you’ve mentioned in this series. I just wish I had found your blog in preparing my presentation – great stuff! I’ve been asked to present to a larger club later in the year and I plan to tweak my presentation material to cite your blog. Much appreciated!

  • Jack Walsh

    I like the Cortland Ultra Premium too. I also have used lots of Frog Hair floro

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