Ask a Pro: How Long Does Tippet Material Last?

Here’s a question I’ve been asked several times, and I haven’t had a good answer until Now. Former Orvis Product Developer Tim Daughton explains the variables involved:

“This is a difficult question to answer, as there are so many variables aside from time to consider—UV exposure, temperature, humidity, chemicals (DEET, sunscreen), etc. The one factor that many people fail to consider is heat, especially the kind that is generated in a car trunk or on the deck of a boat in midsummer. These extreme temperatures can, over time, break down the material quickly, even though it is not exposed to UV.

You should store excess leaders and tippet in the house—not your vest—preferably in a cool place; some people even keep them in the freezer. Your vest/pack is actually the worst place to store leader and tippet. Take what you need to fish that day or on that trip, and leave everything else at home.

In general, fluorocarbon is going to last longer than nylon, because fluorocarbon is impervious to UV; it can, however, get milky with prolonged exposure, which makes it more visible to the fish. As a rule of thumb, I would replace material every two years unless it shows signs of degradation—then I would chuck it immediately.”

So now you know. . .and you have a good response ready when your significant other asks why your fishing gear is stored next to the tater tots.

10 thoughts on “Ask a Pro: How Long Does Tippet Material Last?”

    1. So true. Tippet and leaders on sale may not be a good deal. Especially the stuff they sell at the expos or trade shows. I have been suckered a few times and learned the hard way. This stuff needs to have a production date on it.

    2. Exactly, I bought Orvis flouro a few months back and it is not consistent—snapping easy when I pull on the line. They need to put a born on date on their line.

  1. “trunk or on the deck of a boat in July” – July? that is mid-winter for half the world.

    I like this guideline – use the shampoo TV ad test – if the line looks dull and lifeless it is – ditch it.

    1. ““trunk or on the deck of a boat in July” – July? that is mid-winter for half the world.”
      Well considering Orvis is a US based company July would be the dead of summer for the majority of their locations here in North America. I do agree with the eye test. Looks can tell a lot and if the tippet looks or feels bad definitely pitch it.

  2. My experience suggests that old tippet material – mono or fluoro – regardless of age or heat or UV exposure, will perform just fine until you have a really big fish on.

    1. Yeah, I have some rarely used spools of tippet that are probably 15 years old and seem just fine. Mostly stored indoors, though certainly with some time living in the car.

  3. You need to replace your tippet two or three times throughout a day of hard fishing. It may require more replacements depending on how much abuse it sees. If you regularly change flies, you’ll be replacing it when it gets too short. Keep at least a foot of tippet on your leader. Roofing Denver Colorado

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