View Full Version : Tippet knot strength problem

08-21-2008, 01:48 PM
Anyone use Rio powerflex tippet on here? I have been using it over the past 3 months. I tie non-slip loop knots on all streamers, and poppers. The knots have been breaking either at the knot or in the middle of the loop. Did not have the problem with Orvis S/S or with plain mono. I been tying this knot for years so I don't think it is me!
Could it be the heat or direct sunlight breaking down the tippet strength, as I carry it on a lanyard and its in my car with other gear during the day with the windows up? I have replaced it with fresh off the shelf Orvis S/S for now. Looking for possible answers. Thanks.

08-21-2008, 05:25 PM
Don't know about the Rio, but I've had experience with the Orvis SS breaking that I'm sure came from being left in the truck. Maybe Rio ships their tippet in un-airconditioned trucks. I always break 7 or 8x if I don't lube it enough too. Maybe the rio could use a tiny dab of floatant or something instead of spit. Good luck.

08-21-2008, 06:07 PM
I use Rio most of the time, either Powerflex or fluoro. I seldom break tippet, more often I pull the dang tiny hooks out. Really, I'd question whether the problem is the brand of tippet.

Sunlight can do terrible things to leaders if you leave it exposed long enough.

Another of the many mistakes I've made from time to time is using last year's tippet -- don't do it!

As long as I use good fresh stuff, I'm pretty amazed at the strength of modern tippet materials.


08-21-2008, 08:46 PM
The tippet I have been having trouble mainly is 3x Rio powerflex. Bought a couple of spools over the past 3 months. The change in brands will hopefully solve the problem. I read several bad reviews on it along with the fact it has a bad twisting problem after several cast.

08-21-2008, 11:51 PM
Rio Powerflex tippet material is all I use. For my smallie fishing, 1X thru 3X, depending on water clarity, 2X being used the most it seems. However, I do not use a loop to tie on. I guess I'm stubborn and still use a clinch knot. It has always worked well so I don't see a need to change.
I wonder if leaving your tippet in the truck in a heated up (from the sunlight) cab isn't the culprit. I've read many times about sunlight and excessive heat really deteoriating mono.


08-22-2008, 08:40 AM
I use Rio in the smaller sizes 4x-6x. I also use loops;uni, mono, Kreh. and sometimes a triple surgeon loop dragging the fly thru the loop. I lost a good fish on the Caney recently from a failed knot tied with Rio. I've been blaming myself and my poor knots. Blame it on Rio. In further disclosure I hardly protect my tippet material from hot and cold elements. I understand the trunk is not a protective humidor.
I always liked Orvis tippet. I may go back to it if Rio is my culprit, or improve my knotting capacities. We pay too little attention to knots until we hook a big fish. Then we look painfully at the pig tail, evidence we didn't tighten, spit, balance, and tug. A season of small fish can lull us into thinking we have a tidy line, arbor to hook. How many of us have lost the fish of a lifetime because our own knots came apart?

08-22-2008, 01:31 PM
To my knowledge, most tippet materials other than flurocarbon are usually some type of nylon monofilament. While nylon is a very chemically stable polymer, there are some things that can damage a fine strand. One of the most common of these is heat. A typical nylon 6/6 is heat resistant up to about 125 C, but as the temperature increases, its tensile strength and its modulus decrease. Long term exposure to heat will permanantly degrade the strength of the material. Thus, storing your tippet in your truck, especially with the summertime heat can become problematic. The interior temperatures of a closed vehicle in the sun can climb well above 125C. This will literally "cook" the flexibility and strength out of a polymer exposed to this environment. Another thing with nylon polymers that is important for breaking strength is moisture content within the polymer chain. High temperatures inside a vehicle will "dry" the material out, making it more brittle. Over time, it will re-absorb moisture and regain strength, but that doesn't happen in a few minutes.

Another thing that can degrade some materials is UV light. Depending upon the polymer being used, this can dramatically impact the tensile strength of the material. However, nylons are not affected by UV exposure, so generally you don't have to worry about this.

With respect to knots, the heat caused by the friction between the loops of the knot as it is tightened can cause a localized high temperature and degradation of the tippet material. Pulling several loops tight in a clinch knot can generate enough heat to bring the material above what is known as its glass transition temperature, and the tension being applied to the material can actually stretch the tippet, effectively reducing its cross section, and thus the breaking strength. The easiest way to combat this is to wet the knot before pulling it tight.

So try to keep your tippet material away from heat, and lubricate the knots prior to pulling them tight, and you may notice an improvement in performance.

08-22-2008, 02:14 PM
See, This is how a thread is supposed to work! Thanks to everyone for their input. I have already removed the tippet from the vehicle. Guess on those days I go after work, I will have to bring the gear inside by my desk! I will have to start tightening knots underwater or work up some better spit!:p

Flat Fly n
08-22-2008, 07:41 PM
OK, I don't know anything about spit and pH but after that impressive lecture on nylon I thought I would throw that out. You ain't a chawing no Copenhagen when you lubricate that knot are ye? LOL

Actually my Dad worked for DuPont for 37 years making nylon. It was a seven story production downward from the time the raw material went in until the finished product came out.

I did read somewhere the average temp in a car in this area is around 140F so it probably would weaken the nylon. I like the RIO myself. I really prefer Umpqua but it's hard to get. Orvis tippet material in 6x makes great rib material for your flies, the heavier stuff is good for weed guards on saltwater. "That's all I have to say about that"

08-22-2008, 10:00 PM
No bacca usage for me anymore, TMJ problems was reason enough to quit, along with that "your gums will rot out thing" !
Flat, I've never been a fan of the Big O for rods, but the S/S tippet has always served me well. Going to do some field testing on 2 and 3X this weekend to make sure.

08-22-2008, 11:49 PM
A typical nylon 6/6 is heat resistant up to about 125 C, but as the temperature increases, its tensile strength and its modulus decrease. ...The interior temperatures of a closed vehicle in the sun can climb well above 125C. I think you might be mixing temperature scales. A car interior will hit ~140 degrees F, not C. I suspect nylon is indeed stable to 125 degrees C, but I'm no expert on that subject.

08-25-2008, 08:29 AM
Gary, I'm definately behind on this one but I was reading all this with interest b/c I've had the same problem. I'm using 3x and 4x powerflex and I've even had trouble with it breaking at the surgeon's knot tied to the leader. I've broken it several times at the clinch knot when I've "tested" my knot after tying a bass bug on. It has absolutely had some serious twist problems especially with the small poppers and the stealth bombers.
I, too, keep mine in the truck year round so that may be it. I'll have to try some other tippet and see what gives because I intend to continue fishing out of my truck, it's too inconvenient to tote everything inside 3 or 4 times a week. I'd get to the river and realize I'd forgot something important!http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon10.gif

08-25-2008, 10:16 AM
Bran, did you buy the powerflex at BPS while you were here? The last spool of 3X was bought there and maybe it was old stock. I believe the main problem is a breakdown due to heat from it being in a hot vehicle during the day. I fished this weekend with 2x Orvis S/S and had no problems either with twisting or breaking. I learned a lesson from this and hope everyone else did to. Don't leave tippet or leaders in a hot vehicle even if its packed away in a bag or vest.

08-25-2008, 11:15 AM
I can't remember for sure Gary but I don't think I did. I know I bought one spool of 6x at SM angler in g-burg, and a spool each of powerflex and fluoroflex at LRO but I think they were 5x?? I believe I already had that 3x and 4x before but I don't remember where I got it for sure. Senior moments, gotta love em!

Flat Fly n
08-25-2008, 08:58 PM
I believe the "triple" surgeon's knot is stronger than the double. Just go through once more for the trifecta. Using the TSK forever, although yes I occationally break one off. Triple sugeons is as strong as a blood and far easier to tie.

Biggest killer on tippet is an overhand knot (wind knot) that gets in there and weakens the tippet or leader. Change and change often is my rule, although I tie knots for a living and don't have a problem.

PS. Can't figure out why they call it a surgeon's knot anyway?

Gerry Romer
08-25-2008, 10:17 PM
May or may not be appropriate here, but ever since reading Plateau Angler's rave about the performance of Seaguar in Colorado last year, that's all I've fished. I've had far fewer problems with Seaguar than I have had in the past with Orvis Super Strong and Frog's Hair. It may cost a bit more but in my book it's worth the extra $$.


08-26-2008, 10:59 AM
I'm not hard to convince. I'll try that trifecta next time I'm on the water. As far as the surgeon's name, I always assumed that was how they tied stitches at one time, with a double pass through.?? I don't have anywhere close to look at this "seagaur" but I'll research it Gerry, sounds like it has treated you well, thanks.