A Season With Fluorocarbon

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The Beginning

Big GameI’ve used mono line since I was kid. Originally that’s all there was. Mono’s got some good qualities to it and they’ve improved it a lot over the years. These days you can get mono in a variety of different tints (clear, green, and fluorescent tones which aim to match the way light is distributed in water to reduce visibility). It has a ton of stretch to it which certainly can help when fighting a fish. But it has many drawbacks, too— no matter how hard manufacturers try it is still quite visible, and if you’re using line over 8lbs in test you can bet fish in all but the muddiest water can see it if they’re wise.

Attention On Braid

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In the past few years pro-fishing stars and magazines have brought a lot of attention to mono alternatives, particularly braided line. Braids typically have a fraction of the diameter of monofilament lines with zero stretch and unparalleled strength. You can easily find 30lb braid with the same diameter as that of a 6lb monofilament. The zero stretch of Braided line means hard hooksets… so much so that at closer ranges you have to lighten up because you’ll simply rip the hook right out of the fish’s mouth.

Braid is also very abrasion resistant which, for a Bass fisherman like myself, is extremely important— Bass are structure oriented fish and relate to rocks, logs, stumps, docks, pilings and other man-made and natural structure, which means fishing around things which can damage and ding-up line pretty bad. Knowing that your line can withstand being run up against these kinds of things gives extra-confidence to a fisherman to “go where where the big fish are”— those places seldom fished by others precisely because of the challenges they present.

So the pro-fishing world has taken Braid as a saviour and it has meant the difference between bringing in a lunker and breaking him off for many fishermen. Its one real drawback is its visibility- though it is lean compared to monofilament relative to its strength, Braided line can be easily seen underwater and most will agree that only in stained or muddy water and in some fishing situations like heavy weeds, etc., will it not spook and tip-off fish. But there’s also another alternative, one which is virtually invisible underwater and has also become increasingly popular: Fluorocarbon.

Fluorocarbon’s Fortitude

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Fluorocarbon is clear in nature like monofilament, even more so. The clearest mono lines appear smokey when side by side with clear Fluorocarbon. Also unlike monofilament, 100% fluorocarbon line is nearly invisible to fish and this fact has catapulted premium Fluorocarbon line to the front of the pack when anglers are faced with a tough bite and clear water conditions. Fluorocarbon lines also offer less stretch than monofilament (but more than Braid) for more sensitivity and also offer great abrasion resistance compared to monofilament.

This year I used Fluorocarbon line exclusively, mostly in the 8lb and 10lb variety. I tried Halo, Berkley Vanish, Berkley Trilene, and a few others. I’ve mostly stuck with the Berkley lines, I find that they’re the most comfortable combination of smoothness in casting and strength. And using the drag on my reels is now a thing of the past— I can muscle and horse fish much more and feel very confident to just play a fish with the line that’s out in combination with giving my Rod (lowering it towards the fish when they pull away in the water).

In the entire year I’ve fished likely over 125 times, and have not once broke a fish Bass off due purely to line tension. In years past even when using the same lb-test lines and activating the drag system on my line in monofilament I broke fish off regularly. Despite playing fish very reasonably I often found good fish being lost due to monofilament line. This was troublesome for me not just because I lost quality fish and pricey tackle- but because those fish were now more vulnerable to injury and death, swimming off with hooks and lures in their mouth that had I caught them to be released they would certainly not.

Monofilament line also becomes brittle much faster than Fluorocarbon, due to its porous nature. Simply put, mono takes on water as you fish it and over time the wetting and drying of the line weakens it.

Though the cost of monofilament line is much less than that of Braided or Fluorocarbon lines, one could easily argue that the newer lines need to be replaced less often. If it weren’t for losing line occassionally from being hung-up on some kind of underwater structure or shoreline debris I could likely fish a whole season with one spool of Fluorocarbon line, which I would have never dared with monofilament.

Next Year

In conclusion I know for 100% certainty that I will continue to use the Fluorocarbon lines permanently. The new endeavour I’ll attempt next year is to use 6lb Fluorocarbon line on my spinning reels, which i haven’t tried. If you fish at all, even as a casual or occasional fisher, these ‘super’ lines are worth every penny for increasing your chances at reeling in a memorable time.

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