OPST floating tips come in two different series: Trout and SHS, or Steelhead and Salmon Series.The same rule applies to these tips as to our sinking tips: the shorter the tip, the shorter the rod they’re meant for.
A DISCUSSION ON TIPS: OPST SINK & FLOAT TIPS EXPLAINEDOPST has rounded out our sinking and floating tip selection to accommodate rods from 6 to 14 feet long and beyond, from 2 to 10 weight. It would be hard to come up with a rod and an application that you can’t outfit with an OPST sinking or floating tip. To avoid repetition, let us state from the outset that all OPST sinking and floating tips come with strong welded loops at both ends for ease of rigging, as well as a line ID so you don’t mix up your lines. It’s also important to note that there are few hard and fast rules when it comes to tip selection, so sometimes there is not just one easy answer. Generally, however, the longer the rod, the longer the tip you want. There are exceptions, however. For example, we have fished for sea run cutthroat with a 10 foot 3-weight and a 5 foot Micro Tip with great success. Normally we would recommend a 7.5 or 10 foot tip with that length of rod.
A Bit About All OPST TipsOur Commando sink tips come in 5, 7.5, 10, and 12 foot lengths. Within each length and grain weight, they come in three different sink rates, which we call Riffle, Run and Bucket, for shallow, medium depth and deep water. The exact sink rates within those three categories will vary based on length and grain weight, so not all Bucket tips are the same across grain weights, but the three sink rate within each grain weight system is a constant throughout our sink tips. This means that you can get a deeper-sinking tip or a shallower tip with the same tip grain weight, so you don’t have to change your cast to fish different depths of water. For example, all of our 5 Foot Micro Tips—the Riffle, Run, and Bucket, all weigh the same, even though there are three different sink rates, or densities.
5 FOOT MICRO TIPS
On the short end of the spectrum are our 5 foot Micro Tips. These 40 grain tips come in S2, S4, and S6, for Riffle, Run and Bucket. These tips are for true micro applications, rods under 9 feet long. That being said, we have used them with good results on 10 foot rods. But most users will find that these tips work best on 6 to 9 foot rods. These tips work best on rods from 2-weight to about a 6-weight, or about a 150 grain to a 225 grain Commando Head.
7.5 FOOT MICRO TIPS
Next come our 7.5 foot Micro Tips. These are what we really think of as optimizing 9 foot fly rods, plus or minus a foot or two. If you have a 9 foot 5-weight, these are your tips. Like all our sink tips, these come in Riffle, Run and Bucket, or S2, S4 and S6. They weigh 60 grains. These tips work well on rods from 3-weight to about a 7-weight, or about a 175 grain to a 250 grain Commando Head.
10 FOOT COMMANDO TIPS
For rods from 10 to 12 feet or so, our 10 foot Commando Tips make a great choice. These come in 8, 11, and 14 grains per foot, or 80, 110 and 140 grains total, making them identical in weight to industry standard sink tips. Again, each grain weight of our 10 foot Commando Tips comes in three different sink rates: a Riffle, Run and Bucket. Our lightest 10 Foot Commando Tips, the 80 Grain series, comes in S2, S4 and S6 of level sink tip. These tips are good for 2-weight spey rods up to about a 6-weight spey rod. They are optimized for switch rods, but they can be used on spey and single hand rods as well. Our 110 Grain and 140 Grain Commando Tips come in S3 for Riffle, S6 for Run and S9 for Bucket. The 110 Grain series is best for rods from about a 6-weight switch to an 8-weight switch, or about a 275 grains to a 375 grain Commando Head. Our 140 Grain Commando Tips are best for heavier rods, from about a 7-weight switch to a 9- or 10-weight spey rod, or a 375 to a 475 grain Commando Head. Again, you might notice there is some overlap here. You could probably cast a given rod with any of our three 10 Foot Commando Tips, but one would probably cast the best for you. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are struggling with your cast, the solution might be to go down in tip size.
12 FOOT COMMANDO TIPS
Rounding out our sink tip selection is our original series of 12 Foot Commando Tips. These work best on rods from 10 to 14 feet. Like our 10 foot Commando Tips, these come in 8, 11 and 14 grains per foot, or 96, 132 and 168 grains total, with a Riffle, Run and Bucket option within each grain weight. However, these tips are dual density—the back half of the tip sinks at one inch per second slower rate than the front half. This gives you a slightly more direct connection to the fish by reducing the belly effect in your line. This could potentially increase hookups. Our 96 grain Commando Tips work best with rods from about a 4-weight switch to a 6-weight spey, or about a 225 grain to a 300 grain Commando Head. The 96 Grain Riffle tip is an S2/3, the Run is an S3/4 and the Bucket is an S5/6. Our 132 grain tips work best for rods from about a 6-weight spey to an 8-weight switch, or about a 325 to 400 Grain Commando Head. There Riffle is S2/3, the Run is S5/6 and the Bucket is S8/9. Finally, our 168 grain tips work best on 7-weight spey rods to 9 weight spey rods, or about a 375 to 475 grain Commando Head. Their sink rates are the same as for the 132 Grain Commando Tips.
RIFFLEOur Riffle tips are intended for just that: shallow riffles and tail outs. That type of water is especially important one big water like the Skagit River in Washington and the Skeena River in British Columbia, where big fish hold in surprisingly shallow water. Riffle Tips are also good for summertime fishing when fish are active and willing to move to a fly. These tips fish well in water from a foot to about three or four feet deep.
RUNOur Run series tips work well in most steelheading conditions, in water from three to about six feet deep. By varying your casting angle either upstream or downstream, you can vary how deep or shallow you fish with Run tips.
BUCKETBucket tips are for the deepest darkest holes, the deep winter runs, the king salmon rivers where depth is the end all be all. While our Micro Tip Bucket tips are an S6, or six inches per second, our 12 Foot Commando Tip Buckets sink considerably faster with a sink rate of 8/9, or around eight inches per second.
TROUT SERIES FLOATING TIPS
Our Trout Series Floating Tips come in 5, 7.5, and 10 feet long, and weigh 20, 35 and 50 grains, respectively. They work well on Commando Heads and Commando SMOOTH lines from 150 to around 250 grains. On the short end of the spectrum, the 5 footers are for rods from 6 to about 9 feet long. The 7.5 footers are your standard choice for trout rods in the 8 to 10 foot range, including that go-to 9 foot rod. Our 10 Foot Trout Floating Tips work best on switch rods from 10 to 12 feet.
STEELHEAD AND SALMON FLOATING TIPS
OPST SHS Floating Tips come in 7.5, 10, 12 and 14 foot lengths, and weigh 55, 75, 90, and 110 grains, respectively. These tips are meant for swinging light wet flies, skating steelhead flies on the surface, and also nymphing. With these tips, rod length is more important than Commando Head weight in making a choice. The 7.5 footer is a great choice for 6-through 8-weight single handed rods up to about 10 feet, with Commando Heads from 250 to around 300 grains. The 10 footer is your best choice for switch rods from 10 to 12 feet, with Commando Heads from about 300 to 400 grains while the 12 footer excels with rods from around 11 to 13 feet and Commando Heads from 350 to 450 grains. Our 14 foot SHS tip is for what we consider really long rods from 13 feet and up, all the way to 16 or 17 feet, beyond what we recommend even using with Commando Heads. Grain length of Commando Head varies for all of these tips, but the 14 footer is primarily meant for heavier heads from 400 to 475 grains.