Updated: Apr 29, 2020
In the first episode of this article series we covered the topic of colors. Now it's time to talk about tippet material and its affection on your catch rates. Basically there's a huge amount of tippet variations from a number of brands. They all claim that their tippet is the best, of course, but how important is the tippet in terms of what the fish can distinguish. Let's talk.
Fluorocarbon or monofilament doesn't matter
Ok, I know what you're thinking. For real, is he dumb? Let me tell you, I'm smart but I'm sure as hell not wise, and there is a difference which my grandfather always used to say. During my years of fly fishing I've tried all kinds of monofilament and fluorocarbon tippet materials in different colors and diameters. If the fish don't react I tend to go through the fly box, my presentation as well as my tippet to find explanations. I scratch my head so this is a text as much for me as it is for you.
It is true that monofilament reflects light to a greater extent than fluorocarbon
But, in this text I'll cook it down to only the tippet. It is true that monofilament reflects light in a greater extent than fluorocarbon which according to some fly fisherman makes the fluorocarbon invisible to the trout. That is a misconception because the trout sees both of the different tippet materials. I mean, if we can see them both on the surface and from down under I'm pretty sure the fish can too, they are much more adapted visually than we are under water.
What tippet should you use? We've established that trout see the tippet no matter diameter. So my friend asked me, why do the fish even eat the fly if they can see the tippet? My answer to this would be that first of, the trout needs to correlate the mayfly to the leader and I'm not sure they can think in an abstract way about this. I doubt they know what a tippet is and they don't care whether it's fluorocarbon or monofilament in terms of vision. The thing though that makes all the difference is the presentation of our mayfly. By reducing the diameter we get the flies to act like the natural insects. If you're fishing a #22 Baetis you can't fish a 3X tippet 'cause that's gonna create micro drag and it will be harder to control the fly. The fish will be spoked. It would be interesting to know what happened if we we're able to use a 1X tippet and get that size 22 fly to behave naturally, would the fish take it? I do believe so. If we get the fly to act like food, i.e drifting and moving, and the fish believe it's food he's going to eat it.
This was a short text about essentially the vision of a trout. I could write an essay about the difference between monofilament and fluorocarbon but that's for later. If you have any suggestions on topics, feel free to comment. Stay safe and tight lines!