Nylon copolymer has been around since the mid 1930s. That’s quite a long time compared to fluorocarbon.
At first it was very stiff and didn’t knot well. However, it did have properties that dacron (which was popular at the time), silk and braided horsehair didn’t—that’s abrasion resistance. These days, nylon copolymer is a staple in the world of fly fishing. Most anglers are introduced to this type of line from the get-go as anglers mostly use nylon for dry fly presentations due to its ability to float.
Modern Nylon Copolymer
With different manufacturing processes nylon has become incredibly versatile. You see things such a “bi-color” or “tri-color” indicator lines these days for the ever-popular methods of modern nymphing. This is achieved by certain modern chemical processes during the manufacturing stages. Additionally, low light refraction coatings (like on the fluorocarbons you see today) have been introduced to take away glare that would otherwise create a very shiny product and reflect sunlight. How far we’ve come!
Why Use Nylon Copolymer?
- It floats. I know a lot of people who run fluorocarbon full time and dress it up to float but, nylon floats as it is. This makes it ideal for any time you intended to fish flies on the surface.
- It’s less dense than fluorocarbon, therefore it doesn’t sink at the same rate.
- It’s incredibly supple, which makes it ideal for delicate presentations with small flies.
- Like our fluorocarbon, the recipe is new. The strength to diameter ratios are very high, so you get an exceptionally strong product in very small diameters.
When Should You Fish Nylon Copolymer?
Nylon is best for surface/film presentations such as dries, emerges or wet flies you want near the surface. Some people still run it for streamer applications, but its strength is at or near the surface.
How Do You Size Leader and Tippet?
An age-old rule for this is matching the leader and tippet size to the fly size. So, if you’d be fishing size 12 dries you would be using either a 4x or 5x leader, with 4x or 5x tippet to match it depending on if it’s a heavily dressed bug or something a bit sparse. The smaller the fly the thinner the diameter. As a general rule of thumb, use the following:
|Fly: Size 4-8||Size 10-12||Size14-16||Size 18 and smaller|
Sometimes you may want to fish delicate drifts at distance, for which you can use a heavier leader with lighter tippet. In this case you might use a 3x leader and 5x or even 6x tippet that’s connected with a tippet ring. This will give you better turnover power at distance.
When Should You Change It Up?
You can get away with heavier tippets on days that are heavy with cloud cover or when the light is fading quickly. Fish don’t seem to be so shy to leader flash at those times. If the venue you’re fishing is a highly pressured one, going smaller and lighter with your tippet sizing is usually a problem solver. These fish would be educated to seeing fishing line on a daily basis so give yourself the advantage and go smaller.
High current speeds also pose a bit of an issue at times with microcurrents and surface tension. You’d be struggling while fishing say… a high gradient stream with 3x and a size 10 beetle. If you were to downsize your tippet sizing to say 5x and a size 12 bug you will notice a different in drift times allowing you bug to be on the water longer and keeping the fly within the strike zone much longer.
What Are Some Special Tips for Using Nylon Copolymer?
Degrease your dry fly leaders. This is one of the most overlooked steps when fishing dries and emergers. Leader flash is a detrimental thing for anglers and can make or break your day. It’s simple to solve, though. Find some soft mud and gently wipe it on your leader, using your thumb and forefinger, gently rub it in and wipe it off. Presto – flashy free leaders!