What are Stroft Leader Rings?
Stroft Leader Rings are tiny metal rings that can be used to connect two or three pieces of line together. Also known as tippet rings, or rig rings, these are seriously handy to have in your bag and make fly fishing easier and save you money on leader material. They're especially useful if you're a beginner, aren't an expert in tying knots or if you use expensive tapered leaders.
What are the benefits of leader rings?
It's always puzzled me as to why leader rings aren't more popular with fly fishers, as they're seriously handy and can save you quite a few quid over the course of a season. They've got loads of benefits. Here are a few of them:
Prolong the life of your tapered leader:
When you buy a new tapered leader (typically £2-4 each) attach a leader ring to the end, then tie your tippet to the ring. Every time the tippet gets too short, simply tie on a new section. The tapered leader will stay the same length so will last you much longer.
Remove the need for a braided loop:
Rather than using a braided loop, I attach a 1 to 1.5m section of thick leader to the tip of my fly line with a nail knot and then attach a tippet ring to that. I can attach a leader of any length to the butt section, and presentation and strength are much better than with a braided loop.
Make adding and removing droppers easier:
By using a couple of leader rings along the length of your leader, you can add and remove droppers as and when you need them. If the dropper gets too short because you've been repeatedly switching flies, or if it tangles, you can quickly replace it. It's also great if you struggle with knot tying. The downside is that there are more knots that could fail and you need to tie three knots to attach a dropper instead of one.
The weakest point in your leader is generally where it's knotted to your fly or to your tippet. Stroft reckons that connecting two pieces of line via a leader ring can increase that connection strength by up to 100%, so you could get fewer snap-offs. The rings themselves are so strong that you can rest assured that the ring itself definitely won't be a weak point in your leader.
How do you attach these tippet rings?
Unlike the Riverge Leader Rings, which come in a tiny packet, the Stroft Leader Rings are supplied attached to a tiny clip. There are some significant benefits to this. Firstly, tippet rings are remarkably fiddly to hold and the loose rings are so tiny that you're unlikely to find one if you drop them.
Attaching the tippet rings to a clip means that there's less risk of losing them all if you drop the packet and it also makes them easier to attach. With loose tippet rings, the best approach for attaching them is to wet your finger, insert it into the packet and pick up a ring and place it on your palm, then push your line through it. However, it's fiddly and I've lost count of the number of rings I've dropped over the years.
With the Stroft tippet rings, you simply pick the leader ring closest to the top of the clip, then tie your line to this while it's still attached to the clip. Then carefully open the clip and remove the ring and clip it back together. As there's a bend in the top of the clip, the chances of you losing any of the other rings are very low.
What size tippet rings are available?
While the Riverge Leader Rings are available in a fairly small range of sizes, the Stroft selection is much bigger, with sizes suitable for fishing light leaders for tiny trout on small streams to bigger rings for salmon and sea trout anglers fishing on massive rivers. Some of the larger ones are seriously strong, meaning it's going to be almost impossible to break one.
For most fly fishing in the UK for trout and grayling, I'd go for the sizes from 1 to 3, which have diameters from 2mm to 3.1mm and can handle from 17.6lbs to 35.3lbs. The biggest sizes can handle an astonishing 330 pounds, meaning your leader, fly line and rod are likely to snap before the tippet ring does...
|Type||Diameter||Breaking strain||Recommended line diameter|
|1||2 mm||8kg / 17.6 lbs||0.05 to 0.18 mm|
|2||2.5 mm||12kg / 26.4 lbs||0.08 to 0.22 mm|
|3||3.1 mm||16kg / 35.3 lbs||0.12 to 0.28 mm|
|4||5.3 mm||60kg / 132.3 lbs||0.16 to 0.35 mm|
|5||7 mm||100kg / 220 lbs||0.20 to 0.45 mm|
|6||8.1 mm||150kg / 330.7 lbs||0.25 to 0.60 mm|
What are these rig rings like to use?
I've used Riverge Leader Rings for many years and think they're excellent. I've tried a couple of other brands during that time and they've never been as good, with sharp edges and an uneven finish which led to snap-offs, so I'd always gone back to the reliability of the Riverge ones.
However, the Stroft rings seem to be just as good as Riverge's. They're very neatly made, have no noticeable unevenness or rough edges and knots tied to them have all held well. I favour a grinner or uni knot and when moistened well, it's never failed. The clip provided makes them easier to attach the Riverge ones, and they're harder to spill or lose in your bag too.
Stroft says the rings are made from high-grade corrosion resistant alloy and pass through a number of clever manufacturing processes designed to make them smooth and strong and ensure knots hold tightly. Not only are they drum-polished to get rid of any rough edges that might cut through leader under pressure, they're anodised and have a grey-black colour to keep reflections down and add friction to keep knot strength as high as possible.
They work brilliantly. A smaller packet might be handy. The tiny clip is easy to lose so keeping it inside a packet helps you find it a bit more easily, but the one provided is a little on the bulky side.
How much do they cost?
Stroft Leader Rings cost around £4 per pack and come in a pack of 10 which is pre-attached to a clip. That's a fraction more than to the Riverge Leader Rings I usually use which cost about £3 per pack, but the Stroft ones have the added advantage of the handy clip and come in a wider range of sizes. Mixed packs containing various sizes are also available.
More information: WAKU GmbH