Not all tippet and leader are created equal. Monofilament or nylon line has been around since the 1950s and while relatively inexpensive and excellent for fishing dry flies, it has some major disadvantages when fishing wet flies or targeting skittish fish. The answer to these problems came in the mid-’70s with the invention of fluorocarbon tippet and leaders. Is fluorocarbon worth the hype and the slightly higher price point? Well, let’s take a look at what sets fluorocarbon apart from the monofilament and why it is a tool every fly fisher should have in their fly pack.
The Advantages of Fluorocarbon
Fluorocarbon is Nearly Invisible to Fish – One of fluorocarbon’s greatest strengths is that it is nearly invisible in the water. As light passes through any substance (such as water, tippet or leader) the light bends or refracts off of the substances through which it passes, the measure of how this light reflects and bends is called the refractive index. In the case of water and fluorocarbon, the refractive index of both is almost identical, resulting in a no distortion or shine off of the line that can spook shy fish.
Fluorocarbon has a Faster Sink Rate – Fluorocarbon is a dense material and it is made to sink. With trout doing 80% of their feeding beneath the surface of the water, getting your wet flies and streamers to the bottom of the river fast means more looks from trout, more strikes, and more fish in the net. If you fish nymphs and streamers, you need to be fishing them with fluoro.
Fluorocarbon has Better Abrasion Resistance – Fluorocarbon is engineered to take a beating and keep on fishing! Whether you are bouncing nymphs along the bottom of the river or wrestling a big fish out under a long jam, fluorocarbon will maintain its power and integrity longer and help you land the lunkers.
Fluorocarbon has a Longer Shelf Life – Monofilament is notorious for breaking down over time and becomes weaker the longer it is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The sun has no effect on Fluorocarbon, meaning your fluoro tippet and leader have no half-life and will be ready for duty whenever you pull them from your pack.
Fluorocarbon Offers Increased Sensitivity & Hooking Power – Like hanging onto a live electrical wire, fishing with fluorocarbon gives the angler greater sensitivity and the ability to feel every tap and light take of a fly. Fluorocarbon is much denser than monofilament and doesn’t like to stretch which in turn increases sensitivity allows for a quicker, firmer hook-set.
In summary, YES, fluorocarbon is worth the hype! As the sport of fly-fishing increases in popularity and our waters become more pressured, fluorocarbon will reduce your chance of spooking fish, give you a better drift, and help catch more fish.
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