This is the tippet material I recommend using to construct your nymphing leaders. Umpqua and Rio are pretty much the only brands that offer this range of tippet size making it perfect for building your own tapered leaders. Thanks to Fishwest you can get what you need online. The art of building leaders has kind of gone away. I feel it is necessary for success when nymphing deep water.
You can buy a leader building kit, but you will find that you may not use the smaller sizes like 6X, 7X, and 8X. I don’t think there are many situations that would call for it. There are fly fisherman out there who would argue, but I haven’t found a scenario where it was absolutely essential. You might save a little bit of money by starting out with the kit.
When you run out of a certain tippet size (You will run out of 2X 3X 4X and .010X the most) you can replace individual spools without having to buy an entire kit. Fishwest is the only local fly shop that carries the entire range of tippet online. To construct a leader properly you will want to have a minimum of 8 sections. The more the better, there are 11 total that you can buy. The tippet sizes you will want to properly construct a nymphing leader are:
.010X (40 lb)
.08X (35 lb)
.06X (30 lb)
.05X (25 lb)
.04 X (20 lb)
.02X (16 lb)
0X (15 lb) *You can leave this size out if you want to.
1X (13.5 lb)
2X (10.7 lb)
3X (8.5 lb)
4X (6 lb)
The other day one of my students showed up to class with the full range of Rio tippet. I haven’t had the opportunity to use Rio as of yet but I definitely plan on it when the opportunity arises. One nice thing about Rio tippet is that it goes all the way up to 60lb. That will be great so that I can tie better leaders for salmon in Alaska. Using Umpqua I was only able to have about 6 sections, with Rio I will be able to get the 8 that I feel is the minimum for an effective leader.