Picking the right Fluorocarbon line
By Lance Valentine
Fluorocarbon line has become a main stay in the fishing world the past decade or so. It has qualities that other fishing lines don’t, and, in some presentations, it is the best choice. Fluorocarbon is not affected by UV rays or water damage like monofilament is. A “refractive index” close to that of water seems to make it close to “invisible” under water and the formula used to make fluorocarbon makes it heavier than water so its “sinks”. Low stretch properties make it “sensitive” when used in jigging applications. All fluorocarbon lines are not created equal, so let’s take a quick look at a few subcategories of fluorocarbon and where it is best used.
1) Castable Fluorocarbon – one of the issues with early fluorocarbon lines was that they were too “stiff” to perform well as a main line. In the past few years that obstacle has been overcome, and there are some presentations that a castable fluorocarbon is the best choice for a main line. I like it for casting jigs, especially in clear water on lakes. It is also my choice for casting swim baits, rattle baits and spinnerbaits for walleye in cover. Quality castable fluorocarbon line works great on spinning or casting reels.
2) Fluorocarbon Leader Material – with a different formulation than castable fluorocarbon, leader material is usually a little bigger diameter, has higher abrasion resistance and is stiffer so its “hangs” straighter. Leader material is my choice for trolling leaders, jigging leaders and for tying crawler harnesses on. I also use leader material for my slip bobber fishing, tying a 3-4’ piece to a swivel to help my bait stay where I want it.
3) Trolling Fluorocarbon – a new entry into the market, trolling fluorocarbon has been formulated with a little more stretch than normal fluorocarbon lines. It has been my number one choice for all my trolling the past 6 seasons. Because it has a smaller diameter than mono, I can fish 16lb fluorocarbon and have the same diameter (.013”) as the Precision Trolling app uses for lure depths. Since it is not broken down by UV rays or water, I can use the same main line for multiple seasons (I’ve gone as long as 4) without have to change my main line, something that I was doing 2-3 times a year with mono. Another big advantage to trolling fluorocarbon is the abrasion resistance. Attaching a planer board in the same spot day after day will wear through monofilament, but the coating and abrasion resistance of fluorocarbon eliminates that issue. Fluorocarbon line is here to stay and has made fishing more productive and fun. Choose the right fluorocarbon for your application and try it this season…you will be glad you did.