I was out of town last week on business and whenever I fly I always get a handful of magazines to read during flight and lay over’s. I picked up a couple fly fishing mags in the group and read some awesome articles. Out of all the articles I read the most interesting one was from Fly Fisherman June/July. The article was called the 2012 tippet shootout. They took all the biggest brand names along with a few other names known for their reputation and put them all to the test. Besides reading who they chose as their champ it was awesome because they listed a ton of statistics and numbers from all tippets tested such as diameters, breaking strength, stiffness and so on. They did have a few different categories like nylon, fluorocarbon, spool design and knot strength. I was kind of surprised to see their winners. Below is a break down taken directly from Fly Fisherman Magazine. Go get a copy to get the full article.
#6 Frog Hair Nylon
Frog Hair proved to be an exceptionally strong and produced some of the loudest tippet “pops” when the material finally snapped. Frog hair also had the strongest 4x in our test, while still measuring very close to the industry standard diameter. Once we included the 2x and 6x average diameters however, it did run somewhat oversize compared to other brands. Frog Hair is one of the hardest nylons we tested, which lends itself to above-average abrasion resistance.
#5 RIO Fluoroflex Plus Fluorocarbon
Overall, we found that Rio Fluoroflex Pus offers anglers a good material at a reasonable price for fluorocarbon, but it did run somewhat oversize. While 6x measured very close to the standard, 2x measured slightly larger than 1x, and 4x measured about 3.5x. Even running larger than other fluorocarbon materials tested, its knot strength was weaker. One advantage that hardcore fly fishers and guides appreciate is the fact that it is available in 100-meter guide spools with well-marked spool tethers, making it easy to distinguish the tippet size
#4 Stroft GTM Nylon
Our top pick for overall strength, Stroft has found a place in our vests. By incorporation half sixes into their product line, Stroft offers more versatility on the stream. Since it is one of the stiffest materials we tested, beginners may struggle to get a perfect drift with this material, but for casting accuracy, we feel Stroft is second to none. The only downsides are a poor spool design and higher average cost than other nylons.
#3 Rio Powerflex Nylon
Powerflex offers anglers the best ban for their buck out of any of the tippets we tested. It was one of the top materials for knot strength and stayed close to standard diameters, actually measuring slightly smaller in most sixes. RIO Powerflex is definitely the winner of the price-conscious anglers, which is why we see this material in more guide boats that any others.
#2 Seaguar Grand Max Fluorocarbon
Seaguar Grand Max has been very popular here at our shop, providing us with confidence on the water for more than 10 years. Seaguar’s double structure design consistently placed it at the top for knot breaking strengths. The only downside is the cost. At 69 cents per meter it is the most expensive material we tested.
#1 TroutHunter Fluorocarbon
In our closest shootout ever, TroutHunter is our 2012 tippet shootout winner by a hair. While TroutHunter’s double structure fluorocarbon consistently produced exceptional breaking and knot strengths throughout our tests, what really set this material apart from the competition is sits price and outstanding spool design. While the $22.95 price per spool may produce sticker shock, at 46 cents per meter it is still a great value. You get 50 meters on each spool of TroutHunter compared to 23 to 30 meters on their competitive spools. This fluorocarbon pulls off the spool perfectly with no line memory or damage to the tippet. The color-coded bands are both water and UV-proof, which protects your material from the elements.
Well, those were the results. I found it very interesting and informative. Like they say it is expensive but I am going to try the TroutHunter tippet for sure. I want to see for myself if I notice any difference when I use it.