|Strength Comparison Chart: Super Strong & Mirage Tippets|
|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.
We’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:
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.
Mirage Is Denser and More Uniform (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:
Mirage Has Higher Abrasion Resistance (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.
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.
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:
So Why Should I Even Buy Nylon Tippet Material?
Nylon does offer some advantages, especially in freshwater fishing: