Noticed some Rio Extreme tippet at the Grizzly Hackle Saturday. Pretty pricey stuff at $8.95 for a 20 yard spool. But it was on sale at a pretty attractive price, assuming that it would work for a furled leader, so I worked out a deal with the managing partner there.

Furled the 5X tippet to a finished length 70" leader with a 10-8-6 configuration and 40%-30%-30% proportions ( roughly ). The leader was noticeably stiffer than the thread furled leaders I normally use, but had no memory. It had a slimmer profile than the thread furled leader I made immediately following out of Danville 210 Flymaster Plus.

Took it out for a field test Saturday afternoon. Fished it with my Hexagraph medium fast 7' 9" for 4/5 with a Rio Selective Trout WF4F line, and fished flies from a size 6, or thereabouts, FEB Hopper off 4X mono tippet down to a size 16 ClackaCaddis ( a Walter Wiese fly ) off 5X mono tippet.

The leader turned over the FEB Hopper quite nicely and put it down on the water very softly. The stiffness was noticeable immediately, with pros and cons. The pros are how well it handled the larger fly and how much better it will work in a breeze compared to a thread furled leader. Also, it doesn't have the stretch that a thread leader has, and probably won't ball up into a twisted mess if pulled taut and suddenly released like a thread leader will. It also handled the smaller flies on the lighter tippet quite nicely. The leader seems to submerge a bit, but not as much as a thread leader - the little ClackaCaddis just kept on floating through the entire drift, every time.

The major "con" relates to the stiffness. When fished across mini-currents, the leader tends to drag or steer the fly whereas the more supple thread leader will generally absorb the mini-currents for a better drift. When fished across consistent current, the Extreme Tippet leader performed quite nicely.

As to catching - it was quite good. Landed somewhere around 15 cutthroat in about three hours of field testing the leader.

The 5X Extreme tippet leader was just about right for the 4 wt. This morning Dan and I field tested it with a 5 wt rod on the Clark Fork with 3X tippet and a large Chubby Chernobyl. The leader handled that set up just as well as it did the 4 wt line. Nevertheless, I took advantage of the sale prices to buy some 4X and 3X tippet to make leaders for my 5 and 7 wt rods. I think the 3X will make a great furled leader for the 7wt for fishing big water, big flies, and big wind.


P.S. Did I mention strong ?? It is Extreme.