dreamstime_xl_2294565When you book a guided fly fishing trip in Estes Park with Kirk’s Fly Shop, we’ll provide all the necessary gear and tools to get you fishing. However, if you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy your own gear, you may be wondering about some of the terminology used in setting up your rod. Today, we’ll take a look at two of the most important, yet least discussed, parts of your fly fishing setup: the leader and tippet.

The Leader

The leader is the thick, clear material that attaches to your line. Most leaders are tapered with the thicker end attaching to your fly line and the thinner end attaching to the tippet or the fly itself, depending on your personal preference. Since most fly lines come in bright colors, the clear leader is needed to give the illusion that your fly is a living insect. If a fly was attached to a brightly colored line, it would be more difficult to fool a fish. Most anglers use leaders with lengths between eight and nine feet to provide enough distance between the line and the fly.

The Tippet

The tippet attaches to the end of the leader and secures your fly to your setup. While it is technically an optional piece of equipment, the tippet can dramatically extend the life of your leader, especially if you plan on changing flies often. The fly is tied to the end of the tippet and must be cut off if you need to change to a different lure.

Tippets are typically much thinner than the leader and allow the fly to rest on the surface of the water more naturally. The light weight reduces the amount of drag the fly has in the water and makes it a more tempting target for the often wary brown trout of the Big Thompson. Kirk’s Fly Shop can help you find the perfect tippet for your new rod.

Stop by Kirk’s Fly Shop today to learn more about the best way to set up your fly rod before hitting the rivers and streams of Estes Park. Our experienced staff is happy to pass their knowledge onto you!