by Guide Blog


It seems that most of us anglers are fixated with rods, reels and fly lines, after all these are the common glues that bind us, right? This obsession seems to prevail the world over, but what about that crucial connection to the fly; the magic ingredient that helps us fool the fish with our fly? I’m talking about the tippet.

Why don’t we obsess as much with this as we do with the shiny stuff? After all, this is the connection which allows us to attach our fly line to the all-important business end!

Today, we are lucky to have many tippet materials at our fingertips and in a vast array of diameters. This variety helps us in all manner of fishing situations and applications. They allow us, with the help of some careful casting and of course the fly, to dupe the species that we’re after.

To succeed in fishing, like most activities, you need to get the fundamentals right. Choosing the correct tippet for the job can, at times, be crucial; achieving the presentation needed to get the strike. This, in turn, means more and bigger fish and, quite often, a far better day on the water!

RIO Fluoroflex Strong

Fluoroflex Strong is touted as the World’s strongest, thinnest fluorocarbon and has incredible tensile strength and, being 100% pure fluorocarbon, it’s almost invisible to fish. Fluoroflex Strong knots well and is very supple meaning your flies will fish more naturally, and look like the ‘real deal’, result!

There’s Science behind this tippet’s success: The refractive Index of Fluoroflex Strong (1.42) in water (1.33) compared to nylon (1.62) makes it almost invisible to fish, and with a Density of 1.72 compared to Nylon (1.15) it breaks surface tension more easily and sinks readily.

In a nutshell, it’s tough for the fish to detect and features a sink rate that pulls your flies down through the surface tension quickly. So, it’s awesome for nymphing and lures. No wonder so many anglers choose this tippet here in the UK!

This tippet also comes in a “3-Pack”, which includes three, 30-yard spools of tippet packaged in a reusable, clear plastic cup. The 3-Packs are available in both a 4X, 5X, 6X option, & a 3X, 4X, 5X options.

RIO Fluoroflex

This is a workhorse tippet; the kind of gear you know you can rely on! It’s a tad stiffer than Fluoroflex Plus, so it’s an ideal option for those anglers targeting migratory fish or indeed anglers looking to target bigger trout with ‘meaty’ flies! The competition fraternity love it too!

Fluoroflex has been acclaimed throughout the world and has an excellent reputation for reliability. Highly abrasion-resistant and slightly stiffer than RIO’s other tippets; delivering the fly where you want it, even in strong winds.

RIO Powerflex Plus

This Nylon is a standout choice for when you’re employing more subtle fishing methods. Powerflex Plus is softer and manoeuvrable, even thinner for its’ breaking strain than other tippets. For my dry fly fishing and good old-fashioned wet fly, this hi-tech copolymer takes precedence over fluoro. 

Powerflex Plus is actually the strongest nylon tippet materials ever made, with tensile strengths up to 20% more than regular tippet. Astonishingly, 5X diameter gets you 6lb test here. All without compromising knot strength or suppleness. Simply put, this is the strongest, most reliable tippet ever made.

One of the other benefits is it’s stretch, with a certain amount of ‘give’ it lets you get away fishing light, approaching spooky fish with ease. Its’ my go-to tippet for fishing near the surface, as unlike fast sinking Fluorocarbon it allows me to fish higher in the water; keeping my flies in the zone for a whole lot longer.

RIO Suppleflex

When fishing running water with small flies and delicate presentation, we need a super soft, ultra-thin tippet. Wild fish are wary creatures indeed, and we need to be sure that we don’t do anything to give the game away: It’s ‘go light’ or go home.

Suppleflex has the answer. RIO’s softest tippet material gives featherweight presentations and does not impede the natural movement of a fly in the current. It’s our best chance of long, drag-free drifts. Couple it with a Suppleflex tapered leader, and your presentation is spot on. A fantastic material, and my favourite for fishing small flies on the river.


The US loves the old X tippet rating, but we seem to be confused by it all? The X size relates purely to diameter – or thickness. The lower the X factor; the thicker the tippet. Across different products, 5X won’t always have the same breaking strength though. Stay tuned for more on why diameter and breaking strength are both factors to consider when choosing tippet.

You’ll always find both the diameter (X) and strength (LB) on RIO tippet. Check out our product charts for all the info and options.

Steve Cullen

Steve Cullen Fly Fishing

Steve Cullen YouTube Channel

You may also like