Hy-Flote Nylon Leader Mirage Fluorocarbon Tippet No-Knots System

Our fly fishing leader and tippet system combines stealth with strength.


All the advantages of a floating leader (easy to pick up and cast, easy to mend) with the stealth of Mirage as the tippet. Take your fly presentation to the next level with a Hy-Flote leader and Mirage tippet. Contains two 6' Hy-Flote leaders and four 3' Mirage Bimini tippets. Ideal for nymph fly fishing. Leader and tippet available in 3X, 4X, 5X, 6X.

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Super Strong Leaders and Tippet Material

Super Strong Leaders and Tippet Material is a co-polymer resin system developed exclusively for Orvis and is sold by no one else. This is Orvis’s best selling material of all time—a great material at a great price!

Short History of Tippet Material

The first pound of nylon produced by DuPont in 1939 cost 27 million dollars, but by the time postwar fisherman returned from Europe and the South Pacific, it was being produced at a reasonable price in large quantities and quickly accepted by fishermen. Nylon is much stronger per diameter, and made the use of smaller flies possible. Nylon is also unaffected by cold water, most solvents, has excellent resistance to abrasion, and is not weakened by age if it is left in the dark and not exposed to ultraviolet light. Orvis tippet material has a special finish applied to it, which makes it resistant to breaking down when exposed to ultraviolet light.

What are Copolymers and Cofilaments?

Prior to the mid 1970s, nylon tippet material was made from nylon 66, one of the original nylons developed by DuPont. It was sometimes blended with other kinds of nylon, where the raw nylons were melted together before they were extruded. In the 70s, monofilament manufacturers began offering two types of products. The first was a cofilament, where one type of nylon is sheathed with another type. The better product is a copolymer, where the nylons were chemically bonded to form larger polymers. All top quality nylon tippet materials, including Orvis Super Strong, are now copolymers.

We know that most of these copolymers are a mixture of nylon 6 and 66 combined with some other kinds of nylons and resin systems. The exact formulas are kept secret by the nylon manufacturers, and even if you have an exclusive with a particular formula of tippet material, you have no idea exactly what is in it. When we test tippet materials, we will be given a range of formulas to test with arcane designations like G-3 and T-1, and we then test both in the laboratory and the field.

We will often get back to the manufacturer with feedback like: “make it more supple,” or, “make it slightly more abrasion-resistant.” We then go through another round of testing. Many of the top brands are made in the same factory in Japan, but each brand of tippet has its own unique chemistry. Customers see many of the top tippet materials wound on the same type of spools and assume they are the same, but this is the same as assuming that all ice creams taste the same and have the same ingredients because they all come in the same type of container.

Benefits of Super Strong

Special Resin System = Incredible Strength: Super Strong has the highest known strength of any material we’ve tested because the nylon molecules are reinforced by a special resin system.


  • Makes Super Strong stronger than any other material on the market today.
  • 3.5 pound strength in 6X, and a full 6 pounds in 4X. This means you can use lighter tippets to fool more fish without worrying about breaking them off.

Refractory Index: Super Strong is specially formulated to be much more invisible than standard nylon material. Standard clear nylon tippet material has a refractory index of 1.62. Super Strong is 1.53.


  • Increased transparency when under water.

Very Supple: The modulus of tensile elasticity gives you a measure of a fiber’s resistance to bending — its stiffness. The higher the number, the stiffer the material. Super Strong has a modulus of tensile elasticity of .57 kilograms per square meter, making Super Strong material softer than standard nylon tippets and leaders. It even maintains its softness in very cold water.


  • Permits a very lifelike presentation to fish.
  • Improved abrasion-resistance.

Low Memory: Super Strong has very little memory.


  • Comes off tippet spools straight and very consistent with very little stretching.
  • Makes for cleaner fly presentation.

Water Absorption: Standard clear nylon material absorbs approximately 8-10% of it’s mass in water. Super Strong is specially formulated to meet Orvis’s strict demands of no more than 3.5% absorption.


  • Maintains a high level of strength over longer period of time in the water.
  • Much stronger wet knot strength.
  • Longer shelf life of product.

Specific Gravity: Super Strong has a specific gravity of 1.14, making it just slightly heavier than water.


  • Super Strong floats higher in the water while just breaking the surface tension.
  • Tech Note: Specific Gravity is technically defined as, “the dimensionless ratio of the density of a substance with respect to the density of water.” The SG of water is equal to 1.0 by definition. Any SG number larger than 1.00 will sink, and less than 1.00 will float.

Incredible Knot Strength: Tensile strength gives you a relative measure of a material’s breaking strength. Another factor critical to fishermen is how a material holds up when knotted. In a test of 4X material from four competitors (Maxima, Climax, Umpqua, Dai-Riki), six-turn blood knot’s were tied, then allowed to soak for 10 minutes (nylon absorbs water depending on the polymer makeup, and this causes knots to break slightly under a test performed with dry material). The identical tensile test was then performed and the average of the three tests was taken. Results were consistent with all tests. Super Strong broke at more than double the strength of the Maxima and Climax, and was approximately 15% stronger than the Umpqua and Dai-Riki.


Mirage Fluorocarbon Tippet

Research shows the superior quality of Mirage fluorocarbon

Tippet is perhaps the most important product we sell to guides. Guides are mercilessly fussy with tippet material, which is not surprising because if your client finally hooks the big brown trout or redfish he’s been trying for all day, it’s not the rod or reel or fly that’s going to make the difference between a bragging photo and the bittersweet memory of a lost fish. Sometimes it’s operator error, but most often fish are lost because of a bad knot or tippet that didn’t hold up.

Don’t you want to make sure that the tippet you use will survive more passes through an oyster bar or when dragged across streamside riprap? This is a good time to check you tackle bag and fishing vest to make sure that you have Mirage leaders and tippet in all the sizes you need for this season.

Dave ChermanskiWe’ve done many exhaustive lab tests that have proven that Mirage is less visible under water, more abrasion resistant, and quicker-sinking than nylon. But lab tests alone are never as compelling as seeing visual proof.

Recently, Dave Chermanski, one of our field testers and holder of 44 different International Game Fish Association world records using Mirage tippet, did some exhaustive studies of Mirage with a high-powered microscope. What he saw and photographed confirms why Mirage is so much better. Thanks to Dave for sharing both his photographs and his findings with us.

Mirage Is Smoother (Photo A)

Compare the surface of Mirage Fluorocarbon in Photo A to nylon. It's immediately apparent that Mirage has a far smoother outside surface. A smoother finish gives you:

  • Less visibility to fish because it has fewer reflective surfaces than the irregular surface of nylon. Fish can always see your tippet, but the less obvious it is the more likely they’ll be to take your fly.
  • A smoother surface has higher abrasion resistance, so when your tippet slides against the sandpaper teeth of a big striped bass, the razor-edged gill rakers of a tarpon, or along an oyster bar on the bottom, the less likely it will weaken and break.

Mirage Is Less Visible (Photo F)

Mirage fluorocarbon has an index of refraction very close to that of water. Mirage fluorocarbon has an index of refraction of .09, nylon is 1.53. The closer a material’s index of refraction (the lower the number) is to that of water; the less visible it is when submerged.

Photo F

Mirage Is Denser and More Uniform (Photo B)

Photo B

Compare the uniform cross-section of Mirage Fluorocarbon in Photo B to the irregular cross-section of nylon. Mirage fluorocarbon is also 65% denser than nylon for an equivalent diameter. A more uniform cross-section and a smaller diameter (for the same break strength) give you:

  • A faster sink rate because there is less water resistance. Your fly gets a bonefish fly to the bottom quicker without adding extra weight to the fly, thus you get a more delicate presentation.
  • The denser material breaks the surface tension quicker, getting your fly below the surface quicker.
  • The denser material does not hydroplane toward the surface when you retrieve a fly, giving you a more lifelike retrieve for baitfish and crustacean imitations.
  • A smaller diameter is less noticeable to the fish, so your fly looks more natural and you get more strikes.
  • More uniform strength and better knot strength. Those little pits and bumps in nylon make your knots less consistent and more prone to breakage due to weak spots. You’ll land more of the fish you hook.

Mirage Has Higher Abrasion Resistance (Photo C)

Photo C

Chermanski pulled each piece of material once over the edge of 80-grit sandpaper. (Photo C) This is similar to stripping in line over a rough tip-top or stripping guide, having your leader brush against a piece or coral, or being chewed by the sharp teeth of a big brown trout or passing along the skin of a shark. As you can see, the nylon is flaking off relatively large pieces that weaken its surface, while the Mirage stays almost completely smooth.

Mirage Is Impervious to UV Light, Gasoline, and Even Battery Acid! (Photo D)

Chermanski exposed 12-pound Mirage and nylon to 9 days of continuous ultraviolet light. It’s easy to see that the nylon has begun to deteriorate and weaken. Mirage is chemically inert, so it is also impervious to lots of nasty things that can get on leaders and tippet, including sunlight, gasoline, insect repellent, battery acid, motor oil, and sunscreen. Tippet that has deteriorated because of chemicals or ultraviolet light is not only weaker, it is also more visible underwater because its chalky surface reflects more light.

Photo D

However, with this benefit comes one big disadvantage—fluorocarbon tippet does not break down in the environment. Never dispose of it in the water or on land—makes sure it gets into the waste stream and into a proper landfill.

Mirage Has Higher Knot Survivability (Photo E)

Chermanski photographed overhand (wind) knots in both nylon and Mirage. The knots were tightened with 4 pounds of pull in 6 pound material. As Photo E shows, the nylon fractured right next to the knot, considerably weakening the connection. Typically, an overhand knot, the most destructive knot you can tie in tippet material because it has the most extreme bend, weakens nylon by about 50% of its rated strength by weakens Mirage only 25% or less.

Photo E

Here’s why:

  • Nylon absorbs water and can lose 15% of its rated strength just by being soaked in water.
  • The rougher surface of nylon, plus imperfections in its surface, makes the material heat up when knots are tightened, changing the molecular bonds in the material and weakening it.
  • The softer outer surface of nylon lets the material cut into itself when a knot is tightened.
  • Mirage has a smoother, harder outer surface and does not absorb water at all. It retains its rated strength when wet, and most of its rated strength when knotted. This means when you tie on a 6-pound tippet with Mirage, you’ll have almost 6 pounds of strength, even with a wind knot in your tippet. A wind knot in your nylon tippet will give you only 3 pounds of breaking strength.

Mirage Is Stiffer

Although nylon stretches more and this helps it absorb shocks, Mirage, being about 30% stiffer than nylon in the same diameter, does offer some fishing advantages:

  • The added stiffness gives you better turnover in windy conditions—a great advantage in saltwater fly fishing.
  • The added stiffness also helps prevent tangles in your leader.
  • If you do get a wind knot while using Mirage, it will be easier to remove than in nylon tippet.

So Why Should I Even Buy Nylon Tippet Material?

Nylon does offer some advantages, especially in freshwater fishing:

  • It’s cheaper. Even the best nylon, Super Strong, costs only about a third of a spool of Mirage.
  • It floats better. For dry flies in pocket water or fast riffles, nylon makes it easier to float a dry fly.
  • It’s more flexible. It situations where drag is very tricky, nylon gives you a more natural float.
  • It’s easier to knot. The stiffer nature of fluorocarbon makes tightening knots trickier than with nylon. You have to be more careful with fluorocarbon, and you must always wet your knots before tightening.
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