Tackle Talk Fluorocarbon… is someone taking the Mickey?

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    Hi all,

    interested in your thoughts. As I plan a big Patagonian mission I’m advised I need to run fluorocarbon leaders and tippet. Fair enough, in the scheme of things not a major cost.

    Leaders are $20-25 each and add on $30-40 for a spool of tippet. Seriously? It’s hard not to think that this isn’t a collective industry piss take.

    In investigating my theory I stumbled upon this https://swiftflyfishing.com/blogs/news/15472069-cutting-through-the-bullshit-the-mono-vs-fluoro-debate

    What are your thoughts?

    Cheers Rick


    Phoenix Bird
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    Phoenix Bird

    Hi Rick


    Rely on your local guide and also his local knowledge.If he says use Flouro I would take his advice.




    Advised? I’ve fished Chilean Patagonia a few times and only used trusty Maxima mono for browns and rainbows in lakes and streams with several fish in double figures…

    Coincidentally, we are running a story on the pros and cons of mono v fluoro in FLyLife 96 which is currently at the printers…

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  flylife.


    Great timing flylife!



    Well, I have fished both nylon and fluorocarbon and have tested these materials quite a bit.  Firstly, stated breaking strains and thicknesses mean very little (most especially with cheap lines).  Generally cheaper materials are quite thick for their stated breaking strain and generally much much stronger than stated.  More expensive materials tend to be thinner with more accurately stated breaking strain.  Therefore, expensive materials can subjectively appear weaker to anglers than the cheaper options.  This leads to complaints about the knot strength of thin materials.  The reality is they are more correctly stated.

    Visibility is a function of thickness as well as refractive index.  For example, Berkeley Vanish is IMO thick, weak and anything but vanishing and therefore has no place in stealth  fly fishing.

    Generally strength testing is done in a way that eliminates bends, knots and imperfections form influencing the test.  In practice though, the reality is knot strength and in fly fishing, we do sometimes get wind knots which greatly weaken the tippet.  For this reason, I did some testing on various tippet materials with a simple thumb knot in the middle of the test piece to emulate the effects of a wind knot in a standard and repeatable way.  Of the materials I tested, the one that came out as the strongest for diameter was Riverge Grand Max.  There are many materials and I can only afford to test a few, obviously, there are many more I did not test, so in all probability there is likely an even better one out there.  However, I am pretty happy with this material and it appears to have good abrasion resistance though it is somewhat stiff.

    It should also be noted that fluorocarbon is more dense than nylon.  For this reason, in theory, it sinks faster than nylon.  That is consistent with my experience as well.  For dry fly, I would recommend a nylon leader as they offer more surface area for support on the surface film.  IME, despite the use of floatants, it is harder to keep a fluorocarbon leader floating in cold conditions when you can’t keep it dry.  When nymphing, fluorocarbon breaks through the surface and get the nymph down faster IME.

    Lastly, the weakest component in the rig is your knots.  Generally the thinner the material, the more turns are need for optimal knot strength.  Get some heavy line, like 30-50 lb and put an 8 turn uni knot in it.  It will break very easily but the same knot with only 3 turns is much stronger.  So do some experiments on this with various thickness lines.  See what works best for a given line and always lubricate knots before pulling up slowly and evenly.


    Regards Ken


    Chris Beech

    FC sinks faster and is more abrasion resistant.  If these are things you need, do what your guide tells you 🙂



    Probably not an issue if you are fishing guided as good guides love to chop your leader off at the start of the day and rig the way they prefer!



    I choose not to use fluorocarbon because of it  takes an extremely long time to break down in the environment. No matter how particular you are about picking up discarded line a bust-off in the river will leave line. Mono breaks down much quicker. Well, that’s what I’ve been told.

    I don’t think it has any effect on catch rates.


    Peter Elks

    Im looking forward to reading  the mono vs fluoro article  in the next flylife .



    D Vader


    Hi Mate

    Fluro or mono for that matter leader/tippet material I nearly always use siglon fc rock fluro(30/70/100m depends on breaking strain) dont pay anywhere near 30/40 $ for this sort of stuff.

    I get it from my local tackle store or online from Motackle.

    The pros and cons only concern me in regards to the situation or fishing I am doing at the time so anything surface orientated I will use mono,subsurface I will use fluro but water depth comes into it too.

    If you are being guided and they are saying you need to use fluro then they will probably make you use it even if its tied to the end of your orange/yellow/peach fly line(so you will need to take some I guess)







    Andrew Harding

    I’m on Maxima 99% of the time unless I want some leader sink for stillwater stalking. Even in the crystal clear waters here in NZ, I’m positive it makes NO difference at all to hookup rates, plus I find mono knots a lot better than fluoro and throwing Cicada’s in summer fluoro just cannot handle the constant hinging of a big air resistant fly, even in a uni knot loop, where mono like 4lb and 5lb Maxima has no issues at all, it’s just so consistent.

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