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Although when it was first introduced, its high-tech and advanced material limited fluorocarbon line to niche usefulness as a high-strength saltwater leader, it’s become one of the most popular types of fishing line on the market today. It’s renowned for a host of positive traits – low visibility in water, low price, high strength and waterproofing, and a low diameter, among others.
But what applications is fluorocarbon appropriate for? We’ll go over the positive and negative traits of fluorocarbon line, talk about its appropriate uses, and then give you some product recommendations.
The first and foremost advantage of fluorocarbon line is that it’s extremely hard to see in water – its low diameter, transparent color, and the fact that it doesn’t distort light that passes through it means it’s unlikely to be noticed at all by fish, making it perfect when you need to avoid spooking a fish, or for use as a leader on heavier, more durable casting lines or fly lines.
In addition, it’s very sensitive when compared to some other monofilaments like nylon – the tightly packed molecules in the polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) that most fluorocarbon lines are made of transmit energy and telegraph information more quickly and efficiently than some other comparable monofilaments, which allows for a tighter, faster response to bites, quicker hook setting, and better sensitivity in the water.
It’s also more durable and abrasion resistant than more inexpensive nylon monofilaments of comparable thickness. This allows it to be used in tougher waters and in places that are less friendly to less durable lines, like rocky shores or underneath piers and other places where you can expect to encounter obstacles.
It’s also totally waterproof – it won’t become sodden or absorb any water, maintaining its strength and durability when immersed for long periods of time. And fluorocarbon also has better hooking power than comparable monofilaments, because it has less flex and stretch, allowing a faster and more consistent hooking action upon strikes.
Finally, although fluorocarbon is usually about the same diameter as comparable strength monofilament, it’s hard-to-see, non-refracting qualities in the water allow you to select a thicker line, which will deliver more strength and still be near-invisible while sitting in the water.
Of course, fluorocarbon has its limitations. Firstly, it’s not as manageable as some other lines, as it has a high “line memory”, which ages it more quickly than other comparable monofilaments and braided lines, which have a relative low line memory. It’s also stiffer, which, combined with high line memory, can mean that it’s harder to work with and more likely to lead to snags and tangles – although modern rods and reels are more smooth and help to manage tough line more easily.
And although it’s stronger than nylon monofilaments, it’s less able to handle quick, heavy shocks – although it is very strong under load, heavy pressure can lead to line-snap, so when fishing for heavier quarry, you’ll need to fish with a looser drag – if you fish too tight, you risk the line snapping when a large fish makes impact, which can lead to loss of not only the fish, but your lure and rig as well.
Fluoro also sinks a lot faster than nylon mono and braided lines, so it’s not as good for topwater applications like jerk baiting, and it’s also not appropriate for suspending lures and rigs. However, this sinking action does make it very good for depth trolling, and for deep crankbait cast-and-retrieval methods, so it’s not necessarily a drawback – just a feature that make this line better for some applications than others.
In addition, it can be tough to get tight, consistent knots on fluorocarbon line – usually you’ll need to wet the knot before cinching it up tight, or else it may come undone once it hits the water. They’re best tied in palomar or trilene knots, which may be tougher for novice anglers to tie properly.
Fluorocarbon is idea on rods and reels used to fish smaller game, especially in areas where you need low visibility with plenty of strength and hook setting power, along with decent stiffness and great sensitivity.
And while fluoro can be used on its own, its positive attributes are amplified when it’s used as leader or tippet material – you minimize the line memory problems caused by fishing exclusively with fluorocarbon lines, and you gain a low-profile, impossible to detect leader or tippet that is almost totally invisible to fish, so they won’t get spooked, and can focus on the naturally moving bait or lure that you’ve rigged up.
Overall, fluorocarbon line occupies a middle-ground between more tough and stiff lines such as braided options, and more inexpensive, less durable lines like standard nylon monofilaments.
It has plenty of great characteristics that distinguish it, and every angler should have some fluoro on hand – whether you’re rigging up a new fly rod or setting up a smaller rod and reel setup for freshwater fishing, its myriad of positive characteristics make it a great choice when you need a blend of power, durability, and invisibility.
This selection of fluorocarbon line is best used for spinners and baitcasters when you’re going after smaller prey – though they do offer up to 20lb line weights.
This line is especially useful for setups where you’re going after sensitive fish that are easily spooked – it’s built for a natural, easy presentation that’s lightweight, and a slow sinking action that combos beautifully with its “barely-there” underwater visibility.
It’s also very soft and sensitive, allowing a great line-feel that’s much appreciate when working with smaller fish.
It maintains the durability that fluorocarbon is known for, too – it’s UV resistant, chemical resistant, non-absorbent and high density, and is impervious to both cold and hot conditions, delivering a consistent and easy to use product.
This line by Seaguar is a bit more expensive than some other 100% fluorocarbon lines on the market, but it’s crafted in a proprietary extrusion process that leaves it flexible, strong, and maintains a light weight and small line diameter, leading to a strong yet sensitive casting experience that’s perfect for both baitcasters and spinning reels.
Unlike other companies in the market, Seaguar produces their own PVDF fluorocarbon material in-house – many competitors simply buy their PVDF from overseas producers who create the material in gigantic bulk shipments, or buy their material from another manufacturer (like Seaguar).
Since Seaguar is both the manufacturer and the seller of their own line, they can produce high-quality line and still maintain a lower cost than some other brands, meaning you’ll get more for your money, and know that your line will be strong, sensitive, and top-quality, with all of the constant innovation and manufacturing knowledge that Seaguar brings to the table.
If you’re rigging up a couple dozen rods (or just looking to not buy fluoro line again for a couple years) this option form Seaguar might appeal to you – the same top-quality, in-house manufactured line you see above, this 1000-yard spool of Invizx Fluorocarbon line is probably one of the best bulk buying options for your money.
This product by Seaguar is great if you’re looking for a leader for a fly rod, or any fishing setup, and want high quality fluorocarbon with minimal stretch and maximum durability. The Double Structure Fluorocarbon (DSF) structure gives it great tensile strength, and good impact and abrasion resistance.
In addition, this line is designed to have a great sinking action, just like all fluoro line – which makes it great when you’re doing some deeper crankbaiting, or if you need a leader for a sinking or sinking-tip fly line.
Available in anywhere from 2lb to 80lb line weights, it’s versatile, durable, and nearly invisible to fish – all of which make it a great choice for a leader or tippet.
If you’re looking for an invisible, top-quality tippet, look no farther than this offering by Rio – this line is made of 100% fluorocarbon at one of the smallest, yet strongest diameters on the market, and is easy to manage and knot, making it ideal for use as a tippet.
Its near-invisibility in the water combined with its strength and highly manageable qualities make it a great pick for a tippet, especially in calmer waters or places where fish are highly alert, and you need to make sure you don’t spook them, and it’s usable both in saltwater and freshwater.
If you’ve never used a fluoro tippet and are wondering what the hype is about, you’ll want to check this product out. It’s durable, strong, and easy to work with, and totally invisible in the water.
There’s no such thing as “one perfect fishing line” – they’ve all got separate uses and applications, and fluorocarbon is no exception. Sought after for its invisibility, durability, and great sensitivity, it nonetheless falls short in some applications.
Despite this, its overall usefulness and quality, along with its ability to be used as a leader and tippet on other types of fishing lines, means that every angler should have a spool or two of high-quality fluoro somewhere in their tackle box, and our list of products above is a great place to start.