Mirage MaxKnot

Mirage MaxKnot fluorocarbon tippet gives you the most tippet wet-knot strength, period.


The only fluorocarbon tippet material serious fly fishers should consider using gives the best combination of wet-knot strength, suppleness, and abrasion resistance of any fluorocarbon material made. Greater wet-knot strength means more fish—big fish—get landed. Plus, you fish more and re-tie tippet less. Mirage™ MaxKnot™ gives you the most tippet wet-knot strength. You can't fish without tying knots, and all tippet material weakens when knotted. That's physics. MaxKnot is up to 49% stronger than regular Mirage. It's superior because a special double-extrusion method gives the outer surface more suppleness. That means the knots tie, seat, and hold better so the tippet retains more of its original strength. The interior of MaxKnot has greater tensile strength too. The result is your connection to big fish is stronger. And a stronger connection means more fish to hand.


Overall: 4.6/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 4.6 / 5 based on 31 reviews

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29 of 31 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great tippet material! - 6/18/2013
    By: from Rector Arkansas
    Top 250 Contributor

    I have used Orvis Mirage Tippet material for years. It is really a good product. I think that Mirage MaxKnot is the best of the best. From small Brim to large Carp(26.3 lb.) it is the only tippet I use. Try it ,it's good.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Tough Stuff - 6/14/2013
    By: from Crossett, AR
    Top 100 Contributor

    39" grass carp with the 0X version. Headed to the salt for some reds/specks and expect the same solid performance.

  • 1/5 stars 1/5

    bad purchase - 4/23/2013
    By: from washington

    the "best if used by" date was August of this year. The product is obviously several years old. If the price is reduced, the fact that the product is old should be known.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Top 100 Contributor

  • 4/5 stars 4/5


  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Nice Tippet - 2/5/2013
    By: from Arkansas

    Nice tippet especially at the sale price. Mine is close to expired but I have a few spools that expired in 2011 I still use with no problems :-)

  • 3/5 stars 3/5

    Top 500 Contributor

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    7x that does the job of 8-9x - 10/17/2012
    By: from Connecticut

    I have had excellent luck with this tippet material. I have had trout take the fly on 7x in pools where traditionally only 8-9x would work. A lot fewer snap offs is the result, without sacrificing the stealth factor

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    MaxKnot - 7/3/2012
    By: from Springfield, Mo

    Great tippet that can withstand the force of a large Trout when it takes off on a long run. Another great product by Orvis that performs of above expectation.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Reorder Says It All - 5/15/2012
    By: from Rocky Mountain Foothills

    I have used the Max Knot before and found it to be a great product. I'm reordering because I found it to be the best I've used thus far. The fish hate it!

Learn More

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.

Strength Comparison

Strength Comparison Chart: Super Strong & Mirage Tippets
Size 8X 7X 6X 5X 4X 3X 2X 1X 0X
Diameter .003 .004 .005 .006 .007 .008 .009 .010 .011
Mirage lb. test n/a 2.7 3.6 5.0 7.0 9.2 12.5 14.5 16.5
Super Strong lb. test 1.75 2.5 3.5 4.75 6 8.5 11.5 13.5 15.5

Diameter .012 .013 .015 .017 .019 .021 .023 .025 .027 .030
Mirage lb. test n/a 18.2 20 25 30 39 44 52 60 80
Super Strong lb. test 18.5 20 25 35 40 50 60 65 n/a n/a

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