All fishing lines are the same, right? Wrong.
In the right circumstances, the best fluorocarbon fishing line will outfish most other types.
Today I’m going to run through everything you need to know about fluorocarbon line, when and where to use it, and I’ll even show you some great suggestions to try!
No need to tie yourself in knots. Read this article, and you’ll be good to go!
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Table of Contents
- Why and When to Use Fluorocarbon Line
- What are the Benefits and Drawbacks to Using Fluorocarbon Line?
- What to Look for in Fluorocarbon Line?
- Top 7 Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines on the Market 2021
- A Quick Guide to Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines
- What is fluorocarbon fishing line best for?
- What is the best brand of fluorocarbon fishing line?
- What line is better, mono or fluorocarbon?
- Can you use fluorocarbon line on a spinning reel?
- Is fluorocarbon good for Baitcasters?
- Do I need to soak fluorocarbon line?
- Is fluorocarbon line hard to use?
- How often should you change fluorocarbon fishing line?
Why and When to Use Fluorocarbon Line
To answer this question fully, you need to understand the two key qualities of a fluorocarbon fishing line.
And they are?
First, fluorocarbon line has a low refractive index. In plain terms, it is practically invisible when submerged in the water. This makes it a great choice in clear conditions or when fishing for species that are easily spooked.
Its second key quality is that it is really stiff and doesn’t have much stretch. This allows you to feel bites better and gives you greater control over the fish. Fluoro occupies a nice middle ground between stretchy monofilament and the super-hard feeling braid.
Finally, fluorocarbon line is really dense and sinks quickly. It is best used in applications where you are going to be fishing beneath the surface.
To flip it around here’s when you probably don’t want to use a fluorocarbon line…
If you are a beginner, there are better choices. Fluorocarbon can be a little tricky to handle, better to choose mono while you figure out the basics. While fluoro offers loads of advantages, nobody has ever caught a fish with a tangle on the bank.
If you want to do some topwater work, say for fly fishing, fluoro sinks so quickly that it might actually drown your fly.
Speaking generally, here are some great places where fluorocarbon holds a distinct advantage:
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks to Using Fluorocarbon Line?
There’s plenty of reasons to love fluorocarbon fishing line, but it also has a few drawbacks. Here’s what’s great… And not so great about it:
Fluorocarbon Fishing Line Pros
- It is low visibility. When submerged, it is practically invisible!
- For a given diameter, it is much stronger than monofilament.
- It sinks well and is perfect for bottom fishing.
- It has little stretch, making it more responsive for bite detection.
- It is relatively cheap when compared to something like a braid.
- It is abrasion-resistant, so it is perfect for fishing around snags and bottom features.
Fluorocarbon Fishing Line Cons
- It is more difficult to tie knots well using fluorocarbon.
- It doesn’t float, making it less than ideal for surface fishing.
- It is prone to ‘memory.’
- It offers less ‘suspension’ than mono. Hard takes tend to snap the line.
What to Look for in Fluorocarbon Line?
I’m going to show you a few suggestions shortly… Here are a few things to look for at a glance.
You’ll find that good fluorocarbon fishing lines are coated. This makes them more supple and abrasion-resistant, two qualities that you are definitely going to want.
The smaller the diameter, the more flexible the line and the easier it will be to handle. As an added benefit, with a smaller diameter line, you’ll be able to fit more on a spool!
It is important to choose the correct breaking strain for your setup and the species you are targeting. While with mono, you can go a few lbs lighter, fluoro can be a little unforgiving due to its stretch.
Be sure to pick a breaking strain that stops you from being ‘outgunned’ by a big fish.
Top 7 Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines on the Market 2021
A Quick Guide to Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines
So you are in the market for a new line and are wanting to know what’s what?
That’s good, and it’s why I am here.
Here’s what you need to know. Have a think about the following before making your choice.
Pure Fluoro or Copolymer?
Take another look at the above list.
Go on… I’ll be here waiting.
OK, welcome back, notice anything?
There are a few choices that use something called copolymer. If you don’t know what this is, let me explain.
The beauty of this system is that you get all of the good stuff, but the line is a little easier to handle.
You’ll sometimes see that fluorocarbon line isn’t clear.
Does it make a difference?
Mmm, what I will say is that some color in a line isn’t a bad thing.
As you descend through any water column, the light is filtered, and certain wavelengths are removed. As a result, that line that was, say, red, or pink, isn’t that color when resting on the bottom.
Colored lines are great if you are fishing in low light conditions and need something easier to see up on the bank.
This is a big one.
Obviously, you are going to need a line that is capable of handling the species that you want to catch…
But there’s more.
If you are just starting out and looking for a great allrounder, here’s my top suggestion:
Go for a 12-15lb line.
Why? Here are the advantages:
- It will fit on most spools.
- You’ll be able to fight 90% of the fish you’ll catch.
- It is easier to handle.
- Its really versatile.
Let me be honest. Fluoro is not the best starting point for a beginner. Here’s why:
- It is more prone to tangle.
- It is harder to cast well.
- Knots have to be tied perfectly, or they will break.
- It is expensive compared to other lines.
Before you dive in to buy ‘what the pros use,’ think about whether you know enough to be able to deal with all of the above.
You are going to need enough line to adequately fill your spool.
How much is that?
Well, it depends on how big your reel is. For a 3000 sized reel, I’d say choose a spool in the 250-300 yard range as a minimum.
For big baitcasters or marine applications, I’d jump right in and pick the biggest I could. You will end up getting breakages, and you will need a spare spool.
Got questions? Don’t we all! Luckily, I’m here to help. Here are the main things I get asked all the time when discussing good fluorocarbon fishing lines.
What is fluorocarbon fishing line best for?
Here’s what I’d do. Ask yourself where you are going to be fishing.
Fluorocarbon could be a great choice if:
- You intend to fish around sunken features, rocks, or other ‘structure’.
- You fish in clear water.
- You want great feedback and bite detection.
What is the best brand of fluorocarbon fishing line?
For me, the best brand has to be either Berkley or Seaguar. Both offer similar in terms of quality and value for money. They also stock a great range of copolymer lines that are as good as pure fluorocarbon.
What line is better, mono or fluorocarbon?
Ah, man. I knew somebody would ask me that. The true answer is that it depends on how and where you intend to use either one or the other.
Both fluorocarbon and mono have their merits. It’s about matching the right line to the situation. You can find my detailed article on fluoro vs. mono right here.
Can you use fluorocarbon line on a spinning reel?
The short answer? Yes, of course, you can. Fluoro is a great choice for a spinning reel.
- Fluorocarbon lets you maintain better contact and control with your lure.
- It reduces breakages when in contact with the bottom.
- It is less visible, giving your lure a more natural appearance.
- It sinks quickly.
Is fluorocarbon good for Baitcasters?
Fluorocarbon is good for baitcasters. But there is a caveat. Fluorocarbon can tend to spring and tangle easily. It is super prone to overruns. Because bait casters have a closed spool, it can be challenging to use unless you really know what you are doing.
The bottom line?
If you are brand new and fishing with bait casters, go for mono. Suppose you have a decent amount of experience and are less likely to get tangled. In that case, fluorocarbon could be a really great choice.
Do I need to soak fluorocarbon line?
Yes, you absolutely do. Soaking your spool before use will mean that the line is much more supple. There’s no worse feeling than opening a brand new spool of line, only to end up with a ‘birds nest’ on the floor because the entire thing has fired out like a drunken slinky.
Soaking your line has the following advantages:
- It prevents tangles.
- It reduces memory.
- Soaking ensures your line goes onto your spool smoothly and evenly.
- It saves you time in the long run and reduces the potential for tangles in the future.
Is fluorocarbon line hard to use?
Look, I’m going to be honest. Fluorocarbon isn’t hard to use.
It does take some getting used to. If you’ve only ever fished with mono, then you will immediately see the difference. Provided you are aware of these differences and how to deal with them, you shouldn’t find it any harder than your usual line.
How often should you change fluorocarbon fishing line?
If we talk about natural shelf life, I normally swop out my lines about once per season, regardless of condition. The last thing I want to do is lose the fish of a lifetime with a flaw or degradation on my line.
By the time the line has got dirty, acquired a few scuffs, been stretched and weakened (hopefully by a big fish), and been through its lifetime of ‘wear and tear’, once a year is the minimum I would recommend.
The way around this is to buy a big spool of a line you like, that way, you won’t have to relearn how to use it when it comes around to fitting a brand new one.
Like with most things in fishing, the tools are only as good as the angler using them. The best fluorocarbon fishing lines will help you catch more fish.
But you’ve got to choose a good one and know what you are doing. Hopefully, my guide has given you a great idea as to what to go for.
Why not let me know how you got on in the comments? I love hearing your fishing stories!