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Tippet Rings for Tenkara Fly Fishing

Traditional Tenkara braided line with black tippet ring
Traditional Tenkara furled line with black tippet ring

A tippet ring is a very small metal loop that you tie in between a line and a tippet that lets you change tippets frequently without having to shorten the length of your line or leader, something that inevitably happens whenever you tie tippet to it directly.

For example, I use a hi-visibility orange, flourocarbon line on most of my Tenkara rods, but it’s expensive to replace when it gets too short. By placing a tippet ring between my line and my tippet, I can tie new tippet to the ring when I need to replace it and not to the flourocarbon line, extending its lifetime almost indefinitely.

RIO 2mm Tippet Rings
RIO 2mm Tippet Rings

I’ve known about tippet rings for a while, but never got around to trying one until I tried out a Sawtooth Rod from the Tenkara Rod Company. It comes bundled with a traditional furled Tenkara line (shown above) with a 3mm tippet ring spliced on at the end. It’s a great way to preserve the quality of the furled line, especially for beginners, who will need to replace flies and tippet often when they snag flies in trees and or on submerged wood.

I use a double davy knot to tie my level flourocarbon line and tippet line to the tippet ring. It’s a very strong knot that has a small profile, so it won’t dwarf tiny tippet rings. I’ve even started using it to tie my flies to my tippet because it’s easier to tie and less obtrusive than a clinch or an improved clinch knot. 

Tippet Ring between flourocarbon line and mono tippet
Tippet Ring between flourocarbon line and mono tippet

How do tippet rings fish? I haven’t noticed any difference in casting behavior using flourocarbon lines, furled lines, or on the more traditional fly rod reel line that I’ve been using this spring on ponds and larger rivers. The 2mm RIO tippet rings I use are also tiny, barely the size of a clinch knot in 4x mono, so they have no perceivable impact on casting or floating behavior.

Have you ever tried using a tippet ring? Have I tempted you to check them out?

Disclosure: Tenkara Rod Company provided the Sawtooth Rod mentioned in this post to Philip Werner for review. A full review of this product is still under development. 

14 comments

  1. The Tenkara Rod Company should be glad then provided you with a rod. Santa must read your blog as he brought me a Teton rod last year. Tying my own lines will make life a whole lot simpler.

  2. I flyfish with a normal singlehand rod, i started using tippet rings last year and man do i love it. Im not the best at knots so they save me a tone of time and if you prepare your tippets with loops before hand its great for when your hands are stiff from cold weather.

  3. Tippet rings are great. Doesn’t that hi-vis furled leader spook trout?

  4. I mostly use a loop to loop connection but will try out the tippet rings. How is it for small dry flies?

    Lots of guys use a section of hi-vis leader when nymphing.

  5. DAVY KNOT= Brillance!

  6. Nice article
    May give this tippet ring thing a look for
    Have been using loop to loop connections
    However that is a disaster in the waiting
    Not much of a knot person
    The purists may ostracise me for not using all knots…..but at least I will continue fishing

  7. The Davy knot (and double Davy) rule! Strong, easy to tie and a tippet saver to boot, I’ve been using this knot for my fly to tippet connection for years.

  8. Your posts encouraged me to start Tenkara fishing. Just curious what length tippet you typically use and if you have had better luck with certain flies. I do love the simplicity of Tenkara…I can actually decide to fish and get out the door in two minutes.

    • Cool. It’s a nice way to squeeze out more wilderness experiences on each trip.
      I typically use 3-4′ of tippet. Less if there’s a lot of wood in the river.
      I’ve been fishing a lot of wooly buggers this year. Easy to tie, but I also fish reverse hackle tenkara flies, and utah killer bugs.
      They’re all good. The fish in NH are desperate for any food.
      Chris Stewart at Tenkara Bums sells some nice tying kits if you want some easy ones to tie.

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