Gearing Up to Fish Small Flies

“The first thing is small hooks require small tippets. The weakest link in your tackle is not the small tippet but the knots in the tippet. Carefully form your knots and lubricate them with water before pulling them tight. Test them to ensure that they will hold.” Guide John Berry offers four or five good tips on equipping yourself properly to fish for big fish with small flies in the Baxter [Arkansas] Bulletin.

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  • I enjoyed John Berry’s piece about fishing small flies. His comments on getting knots to pull up tight are good. This is a critical part of landing lots of big fish on 6X and 7X tippets. However I’ve found that with the new fluorocarbon materials, water is not a good lubricant like it is with the older monofilaments we used to use. The best lubricant I’ve found is lip balm like Chap Stick or something equivalent. Put a little on your lips and then before you tighten the knot, put in between your lips and rub off a little lip balm on the coils. Then they will pull up super tight and give you a knot that will be closer to 100%. Also, the best know I’ve ever found for tying on tippets is the Stu Apte Improved Blood Knot. Just double over the smaller tippet section and tie a normal blood knot with the loop in the tippet section. Pull all this tight, clip off the loop and other pieces and you’ll have a knot that is very close to 100%. Now, if you break off, you’ll break off the fly and not the whole tippet section. On the Spring Creeks here in Montana our clients use a lot of 7X and learning to tie good strong knots, and using the best fluoro is a must. The best new material out there is the new Seaguar GrandMAX FX. This is a softer but very strong fluorocarbon that is new this year. Try it.

  • Good advice, George. Do you find that fluoro in smaller sizes has better abrasion resistance as well? I still wonder about whether the heavy stuff that we use for shock tippets is as resistant as softer monos like Ande.