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Why Should You Use Tippet Rings?

Why Should You Use Tippet Rings?

Tippet rings have become popular in fly fishing in recent years. They offer several benefits, and they can really save you time on the water.

These small metal rings offer a very easy connection between your leader and your tippet material. They are very smooth and designed so they will not chafe your leader or tippet.

Tippet rings can eliminate tying extra knots, they can make your leaders last longer, and they can really simplify your whole fly fishing rig. They are basically a rigging hack to make your days on the water easier.

This article will dive into the benefits of tippet rings, and why you may consider using them in the future. There is a fair amount of confusion on the topic, but tippet rings are actually very simple.

Little items like this can really improve your fly fishing productivity. Less time spent on rigging will mean more time fishing. And we all want to fish more, right?

Tippet Rings – No More Blood Knots – No More Surgeons Knots

At the end of a tapered leader, fly fishers normally add tippet. There are many ways to attach tippet, but blood knots and surgeons knots are the most common. For beginners, these knots can be tricky. They add time to your rigging and they mean you’ll spend less time fishing. You can get faster at these knots after lots of practice, but it takes awhile.

Tippet rings are attached with a clinch knot, or an improved clinch knot. The clinch is much easier to tie and even beginners can master it quickly.

So at the end of your leader, simply attach the tippet ring with a clinch knot, and then attach your desired tippet with another clinch knot. Then you will also use a clinch knot to attach your flies. This series of clinches really simplifies how to rig your setup. You can basically go fishing with only one knot that you must know.

We do recommend learning the surgeons and blood knots, as they are a foundation of fly fishing. However, I have mastered both knots and I still love using tippet rings to save time.

Your Leaders Last Longer With Tippet Rings

When a fish breaks you off, your tippet does too. This will make your leader a little shorter every time you break off. With a tippet ring, you can keep your leader length the same for months on end. I will often fish the same leader for an entire season, just by using a tippet ring.

Although nylon leaders aren’t that expensive, fluorocarbon leaders are very expensive. Often $15 per leader. Either way, making your leader last longer = more money saved.

The key with this is to use a larger leader and smaller tippet. I like to start with a 4x leader, add a tippet ring, and then add 5x tippet. This way when I break off, the 5x will snap and my 4x leader will remain intact.

You don’t have to use these tippet sizes, though. If you use a 0x leader (15 lb test) and 1x tippet (13 lb test) the scenario is still the same. The 1x will probably break first, leaving your 0x leader intact.

It is quite satisfying to fish the same leader for a whole season. Thinking about all the leaders I would have bought, but didn’t have to.

Tippet Rings Work For Dry Fly Fishing!

The cool thing about trout sized tippet rings is that they can float. Even though they are metal, they are small enough to not break through the waters surface.

So for you dry fly fisherman, you’re in luck! You can use a tippet ring for dry fly fishing without any problems.

Usually I will add a bit of floatant to my tippet ring. My favorite is Loon Aquel, but Gink works too. This will just ensure that my tippet ring will stay floating.

Keep in mind that I am talking about the small, trout sized rings here. If you use a 45 lb test steelhead ring, it is more likely to sink due to the weight of it. It is possible to float one, but it’ll probably start sinking a bit.

Dry fly purists may dislike the idea of using a tippet ring, and that is fine. I am just letting you know that they will work for any dry fly scenario.

They Are A “Split Shot Stopper”

When nymphing, most fly fisherman will add split shot above their blood or surgeons knot. These knots act as a stopper, ensuring that your weight won’t slide down to your fly.

The tippet ring is an even better stopper in my opinion. Since it is wider than a knot, your weight definitely won’t be sliding down your leader.

In recent years, tippet rings have definitely become my favorite “split shot stopper”.

Tippet Rings Are Pretty Affordable

Usually coming in at less than $1 a piece, most fly fisherman can afford a pack of tippet rings. They aren’t super cheap, but nothing in fly fishing is cheap.

Usually they come in packs of 10, and they are on a sealed holder so they can’t be lost. Once you unhook the latch, you can remove a single tippet ring at a time.

I like to keep the rings in their original packaging. Usually this is a ziplock style baggie. The loose holder is quite small, and it can be lost easily.

They Work For European Nymphing

Tippet rings are a must have for Euro nymphers. Since you are normally building your own leaders, using a ring will save lots of time.

Prepackaged Euro leaders will almost always have a tippet ring on the end. It allows you to attach very dissimilar tippet sizes. You can go from a 12 lb sighter down to 3 lb tippet just by using a tippet ring. If you were to try to knot 12 lb to 3 lb, it would break super easily. Trying to knot dissimilar tippet sizes usually means a very weak knot.

A Final Tip On Tippet Rings

Since these rings are so small, there is a proper way to tie them onto your leader. If you try to hold an individual tippet ring, it is quite difficult.

Do this instead: keep the rings on their holder and find the ring that is closest to the opening. Tie your clinch knot onto the ring before removing it from the holder. This will ensure a better knot and also you won’t drop the ring onto the river bank.

Make sure not to tie on a tippet ring that is in the middle of the bunch. You will have to remove all the other rings to get it off the holder. When you do this, you may drop some on the ground and they will be lost.


There are so many new products flooding the fly fishing market. Some are gimmicky and just don’t work. Tippet rings DO serve a purpose and they are a great tool. Trying them out can make your time on the water more enjoyable and productive.

There are naysayers who will bash tippet rings and not use them. I encourage you to give them a try before writing them off. They have really helped me with my rigging techniques and I will continue to use them.

When a new tool comes along that makes my fishing easier, i’m all ears. Why not simplify your gear when you can?