Fluoro is an abrasion resistant, sensitive, and low-visibility fishing line that can really help your fishing in the right situation. In this entry, I will tell you when to use fluorocarbon fishing line to improve your success rate.
Monofilament line was groundbreaking when it was first introduced many years ago. Then it became mainstream. Fluorocarbon is a newer creation that has had a slower growth in popularity. It started out being used mainly as a stiff leader for toothy saltwater fish that were line shy. Nowadays fluoro is used for everything from ultralight fishing in clear freshwater to ocean fishing for sharks!
Although I am mainly a freshwater angler, I have been using fluorocarbon for decades. I was what you might call an “early adopter.” As fluorocarbon has advanced and become easier to work with I have been using it more and more.
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Fluoro pros and cons
Like any other kind of fishing line, fluorocarbon has its strengths and weaknesses. It is nearly invisible once in the water. It is also abrasion resistant. Because of the way fluro is made, it is also great at “telegraphing” light bites up through the line and into your hand where you can feel them.
Fluro had a reputation for being stiff and early on that was warranted. Things have come a long way though. I don’t even think twice about spooling up a spinning rod with modern fluoro lines like Seaguar Invizx. In fact I get less tangles with that than I ever did with monofilament.
Fluorocarbon line isn’t perfect. It costs a lot more than traditional monofilament. So you might not want to fill a huge spool up with the stuff when it won’t improve your fishing over less expensive lines. Fluorocarbon also sinks which may not be what you want if you are fishing top water. Finally, fluorocarbon has some stretch to it. Though a good thing is that once you stretch the line, it stays stretched. This is different than mono, which will “spring back” after stretching.
Fishing with fluorocarbon line
I use fluorocarbon fishing line in many situations. First and foremost, I use fluoro when fishing for line shy or “spooky” fish in clear waters. That means anything from trout in mountain streams to steelhead in the Great Lakes tributaries. I also use fluoro when I want to drift fish down near the bottom. Not only is the line abrasion resistant which protects it from rocks on the bottom, it also sinks and helps me get my presentation down where I want it. This can be key.
Fluorocarbon is also good if you want to get your lures a little bit deeper. Whether you are fishing with spinners or crankbaits, the makeup and sink rate of fluoro can help you run your lures just a bit deeper. Sometimes that really matters.
I do not use flourocarbon line in all situations though. I wouldn’t spool up with flouro when fishing for carp or catfish when braided line would work better. Or for crappie or bass in stained water. I might use it for toothy fish like northern pike if I feel they are going to refuse a bait tied to a more visible material like a steel leader.
Tips for using fluorocarbon line
One main thing to remember when using fluoro is to wet your knots before you cinch them down. Most people just put a little saliva on the knot before they pull it tight. This can make all the difference. The reason is that fluorocarbon has a tendency to burn if a knot is tied dry. If you don’t believe me, just tie a knot with no spit and yank the line. Then do the same thing with some spit on the line. You will see the difference.
I normally use a Trilene knot when I am fishing with fluorocarbon. It has always worked well for me, as long as I moisten the knot before pulling tight. I have also used a Palomar knot with fluro. Again, keep the knot wet and tie it neatly and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Fluoro isn’t the cheapest line in the world. But you don’t have to break the bank to put it to good use. If you are using flurocarbon line mainly for its low visibility, you can save money by spooling up with monofilament and then using a fluorocarbon leader. A small leader spool of fluoro is a lot cheaper than a 300 yard spool of the stuff.
In the right situation, fluro will give you a more natural presentation and help you catch more line shy fish. I have clearly seen the results after using this line for a number of years. Especially when it comes to pressured fish that have learned to associate visible fishing line and unnatural presentations with danger.