Does fly fishing tippet go bad?

Tippet has a shelf life of 1 to 2 years. However, this schedule varies depending on a few different factors. For example, exposure to moisture, heat and sunlight can dramatically reduce the life of the tippet. In the meantime, storing your tippet in a cool and dry place can extend its lifespan to 2 or 5 years.

Manufacturers used to label tippet reels with expiration dates, but what you can find now are reels that come with a blank space to write the date of purchase. Use this blank space to note the month and year you purchased the tippet to find out how old it is. A general rule of thumb is to replace nylon every one or two years because it breaks down more quickly due to UV exposure, heat, water, etc. At the beginning of every season, I buy new tippet reels because it would be heartbreaking to lose a good fish due to the wear and tear of the nylon tippet.

If you fish less, you should store the nylon tippet in a cool, dry place and use it for 2-3 seasons. Nylon monofilament takes an average of 600 years to fully biodegrade. May weaken with prolonged exposure to water, UV light and temperature. However, the temperature must exceed 125°F for it to affect.

It may sound loud, but to put it in perspective, the trunk of a car on a hot day can easily overcome it. Fluorocarbon is stronger and is not affected as much by UV rays and water absorption as nylon. In general, fluorocarbon will last longer than nylon, because fluorocarbon is impermeable to UV rays; however, it can become milky with prolonged exposure, making it more visible to fish. As a general rule, I would replace the material every two years unless it shows signs of degradation and then throw it away immediately.

Because of this, anglers of narrow-line nymphs (nymphing euro) like to use fluorocarbon, since the tippet spends much of its time under water scraping rocks and sunken logs. Veterans have told me that leading technology and tippet is the biggest advance in fly fishing in the last half century. Then I buy a new reel and tie the old tippet to the new one and roll the rest onto the new reel. The fluorocarbon tippet is considerably less prone to such problems and has a considerably longer break time than nylon overalls, so I think it's worth its higher price.

And I've found the unwanted twist when balancing Harvey Night Flies, so I use at least ten pounds of Maxima Chameleon for those flies at night. I only change the tippet when it breaks (which only happens on a hitch) or when I cut it too short to use it. Join the best resource for news, features, flies, tips, deals and resources around the world of fly fishing. So yes, the material of the fluorocarbon tippet is monofilament, and so is the usual material that we all used until about fifteen years ago, that is, nylon.

Sometimes yes, but on a whole day of fishing I think something happens that makes some entanglements. Trout attacking streamers and big night flies aren't shy, but they can be the fish of a lifetime, so again, I use the largest diameter I can get away with. I have discovered with this style of rod and leader that I rarely have entanglements of any kind, even with straight monkey tackle caught with the Belgian cast.

Tabatha Homiak
Tabatha Homiak

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