The Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line for Leaders and Main Line
Decades ago when fluorocarbon line entered the fishing world it was used almost exclusively for leaders. As technology improved, fluorocarbons replaced monofilaments for certain applications. The same advantages a fluorocarbon leader offered could now be applied to the main line. As a result, fluorocarbon could be found as the main line on many spools. This article discusses the advantages of fluorocarbon and the traits that make the best fluorocarbon fishing line.
The Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
If you want to get out and start fishing without understanding fishing line—monofilament is your answer. Check out our article on monofilament fishing line here. If you want to optimize your fishing line, then fluorocarbon might be the way to go. It’s difficult to argue the differences between manufacturers if they’re all 100% fluorocarbon. This is why we offer only one 100% fluorocarbon fishing line for leaders and one fluorocarbon hybrid fishing line for main lines. We want to keep it simple and effective. We recommend that you focus on whether or not fluorocarbon is beneficial for your situation. In general, for the beginner to intermediate levels, we recommend using fluorocarbon only for leaders on braided line. Keep the diameters within about 0.20mm of each other.
When to Use Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
To reap the advantages of fluorocarbon, use it when you plan on fishing around heavy cover, rough structure, clear water, large and toothy fish, and for fish with great eyesight like trout. For freshwater, fluorocarbon coated monofilament makes a great main line for many fish especially walleye and trout. The sensitivity allows you to feel bites better for walleye and helps your line remain undetectable to the highly aware trout. Fluorocarbon leader line makes the best low-visibility leaders. To optimize your fishing experience, use fluorocarbon leaders especially for surf fishing and for freshwaters situations where your line is likely to get frayed. Some fishermen keep a fluorocarbon leader on at all times if there is a chance at catching toothy species. Remember to replace your leader right away when it gets cut or frayed.
Advantages of Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
Invisible to Fish
We discussed in a previous article how monofilament fishing line is hard to detect. When it comes to fluorocarbon, however, it’s more difficult to detect. In fact, out of all the fishing lines, fluorocarbon has the best ability to let light pass through with minimal refraction. The result? Its appearance blends in well with the surrounding water. This is what makes fluorocarbons the best at remaining the least visible to fish. Use fluorocarbon leader when you fish in clear water and for fish with great eyesight.
More Sensitive than Mono
The key trait of fluorocarbon is its higher density when compared to mono. A higher density increases sensitivity giving you a greater awareness of what’s happening around your bait. If you’re bottom fishing, for example, you’ll be able to feel the bottom much better and get a good idea of what the bottom is like. You’ll also be able to feel bites easier. This becomes even more important the more line you have out. The more line you have out, the less sensitive your line becomes. A high density line like fluorocarbon will do much better at transferring force rather than expending it throughout the line itself.
When it’s time to set the hook, the same advantage applies as stated above. A high density line like fluorocarbon will do much better at transferring force rather than expending it throughout the line itself. In many cases, especially for freshwater, this allows more force from your rod to transfer into the point of your hook before it significantly stretches. A lower density line such as monofilament will stretch at a lower force. This means it’ll stretch quicker than fluoro does.
Fluorocarbon fishing line is superior to monofilament in terms of abrasion and UV resistance. This makes it great for fishing around heavy structure that’s likely to cut or damage your line. It also resists cuts and frays from fighting tough scaly fish. The larger the fish and the longer you fight it, the more your line is likely to fray from rubbing against its scales or rough skin (take note surf fishers). Fluorocarbon excels as a leader for this reason.
A unique feature of fluorocarbon is its UV resistance. Monos significantly dry out and weaken from exposure to sunlight. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to change your mono every year or so to keep it fresh and strong. However, fluoro can easily last 5–7 years and retain all its properties.
Disadvantages Using Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
Not for Topwater
The density of fluorocarbon is greater than the density of water. This means it’ll sink. Imagine shaking a bucket of rocks of various sizes. The densest ones will end up on the bottom eventually. Likewise, fluorocarbon will out-sink monofilament, making it a poor choice for fishing on the surface. If you let fluoro settle long enough (only seconds), it’ll sink deep enough that your retrieve will pull the lure down into the water at an awkward angle and ruin the action. For this reason, we do not recommend fluorocarbon for topwater baits.
Fluoro has a lot of memory, meaning it does well at keeping its original shape. If you hold it, for example, it’ll feel very stiff compared to mono or braids. As a result, knots are harder to tie. For line-to-lure/swivel/o-ring connections, stick with a uni or palomar knot. For line-to-line connections, use a double uni knot. If you’re just starting out, we recommend using a barrel swivel to connect two lines.
Does Fluorocarbon Stretch More Than Monofilament?
Fluoro can stretch as much as mono, but it takes more force for it to stretch. In addition, when fluoro stretches, it remains stretched and doesn’t revert back to its original form (plastic deformation) like mono tends to do.
Tips for Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
1. Line size for leaders. Line-to-line knots often secure best when both lines have similar diameters. Keep the diameters within about 0.20mm of each other for better security. (Diameters are usually on the box.) Check out this guide for line size considerations.
2. Storage. Even though fluoro is a hardy line, keep it out of the sun and somewhere cool and dry.
3. Backing. Consider adding a mono backing to your line. This will help cut down on expenses and make your new spool of fluoro last longer. Mono also has less line memory, making it secure around your spool better, decreasing the chance of slippage.