Benefits of Fluorocarbon Line
Invisibility Under Water - Light goes through fluorocarbon fishing line the same way it goes through water since the refractive index is the same for both. Fish are often line shy, especially in clear water, and invisible line helps overcome this problem. In clear water you are more likely to get bites if you are using fluorocarbon line. You can even get fluorocarbon swivels that are invisible.
Density - Fluorocarbon line sinks in water so it helps get your bait down more quickly. That is positive when using a bottom bumping lure like a jig or worm, and when fishing a crankbait.
Lack of Stretch - Most monofilament lines stretch but fluorocarbon does not stretch much. So, on long casts it makes your hook set more effective. It also helps with your “feel” of the cover when fishing jigs and plastic worms, and you can feel a bite better.
Stiffness - For fly fishing, a stiff leader helps keep your leader straight.
Abrasion Resistance - Fluorocarbon lines are more abrasion resistant, meaning you can rub them on rocks or wood cover without making them as much weaker as you would with traditional monofilament line.
Problems With Fluorocarbon Lines
Stiffness - Many fluorocarbon lines are stiff and keep the shape of the spool, especially when cold. This can cause casting problems, especially on spinning reels. The lighter test versions show these problems less than heavier test lines but can still be a problem.
Brittleness - Some fishermen report that these lines are also are brittle and break easily. Brands vary greatly and some are much better than others. The best way to see if they work for you is to try several brands and test them under the conditions you fish.
Density - Dense line that sinks is not good for topwater baits since it will pull the bait down and make it harder to fish. Some fishermen get past this problem by spooling the reel with braid, which floats, and then tying a fluorocarbon leader between it and the lure. Since I don’t like extra knots between me and the fish I don’t do this.
Lack of Stretch - When making short casts with spinnerbaits and some other baits the lack of stretch can cause you to break the line on the hookset or tear the hook out of the fish’s mouth. I had to adjust my hookset and lessen the drag on my reels when fishing jigs and worms because I broke 12 pound test line, which never happened with traditional monofilament. I still get a good hookset since the line does not stretch.
Invisibility - Fluorocarbon disappears under water but is hard to see above the water, too. This makes it harder to watch your line to detect strikes and also sometimes makes you lose track of exactly where your line is.
Knot Strength - Fluorocarbon line is very slippery and knots can come loose. I tied an improved clinch knot with seven twists to make sure it holds. I leave a longer tag end, about 1/4 inch, to help. Some people go so far as to put a drop of super glue on the knot to make sure it does not slip.
Does Fluorocarbon Line Make A Different?
When fluorocarbon lines first came out several years ago, I kept spools of 12 and 14 pound test Vanish fluorocarbon line in my tackle box but used it only for leaders on Carolina rigs. The stiffness does not create a problem in that use and I have not had any problems with it being brittle, even after carrying spools for several years. That problem showed up later.
One experience convinced me using this invisible line makes a difference. During a tournament in a clear water lake, my partner and I were fishing a point with Carolina rigs. When I caught five or six bass and he did not get a bite, I gave him some of the worms I was using. The pattern continued, I caught several more and he did not get bit.
After looking at his rig I noticed he was using a blue tinted line. I gave him the spool of Vanish and told him to change his leader. After making this change, he started catching more fish than me and soon filled his limit, too. Coincidence, or did the line make a difference?
I am convinced it was the line. I now spool all my reels with newer, improved fluorocarbon lines except a couple for topwater lures which I use traditional monofilament, a couple for fishing lures in thick vegetation that I spool with braid, and a couple for spinnerbaits where I want a little more stretch. When fishing a jig head worm, jig and pig or crankbait I use fluorocarbon.
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