Fluorocarbon started as a leader material in saltwater but now is being used by many anglers as a main line on reels. Since it was originally designed for leader use, the early fluorocarbons were very stiff and difficult to use on baitcast or spinning reels. Anglers using these early fluorocarbons on baitcast or spinning reels often had trouble with line handling, backlashes and the line wanting to “jump off” spinning reels on its own. Advancements in the production of fluorocarbon have now made it a much better fit for use as a main line on any type of reel. Fluorocarbon still remains a great choice for leader materials to be used in conjunction with braided lines. This article compares the difference.
Fluorocarbon is made from vinylidene fluoride resin and is extruded into a single strand. Fluorocarbon is made in a similar way to traditional nylon(monofilament) lines. If you would like to learn more about the history of fluorocarbon and fishing lines, this article from Sunline has a detailed history.
1. Increased sensitivity. Fluorocarbon is a harder material and that allows it to transmit feedback from your lure better than softer nylon lines.What are the primary reasons anglers continue to choose fluorocarbon as a main line the past 10 years?
2. Lower visibility. The light refraction index of fluorocarbon is closer to the refractive index of water than nylon, this makes it less visible in water and also less shiny in water. This makes it a great choice for anglers concerned that their bites will be reduced by fish that are line shy. If fluorocarbon was invisible anglers could use a large lb test no matter the condition and not spook fish from seeing their line. Fluorocarbon is less visible particularly if it is a clearer premium brand, this will reduce the ability of fish to see the line.
3. Greater abrasion resistance. This diagram compares 12lb nylon to 12lb fluorocarbon after 10 strokes on an abrasion resistance testing machine with 1.3lbs of weight shown under an electronic microscope.
4. Less stretch. Great for long casts. Fluorocarbon has less stretch than nylon lines which helps improve hook penetration on hook sets. Nylon will stretch nearly a yard more than a premium fluorocarbon on a 33yd cast cast. Think about how much line you must take up on a long cast just to move your hook in a fish’s mouth.
5. Lower water absorption. Nylon lines are often stronger than fluorocarbon until they get wet and absorb water at which time they weaken. The repeated soaking and drying continues to weaken nylon after long term use. Fluorocarbon has a very low water absorption rate, so its strength is not impacted in the same way as nylon after repeated use. This allows fluorocarbon to maintain its characteristics longer than nylon lines.
6. Higher specific gravity. Nylon lines typically have a specific gravity around 1.14 which is only slightly higher than water at 1.0. It will gradually sink, but very slowly. In contrast, fluorocarbon has a specific gravity of 1.78 meaning it sinks in water and will make your lures like crankbaits run deeper. The higher specific gravity also keeps the line down in the water and takes out some of the slack.
7. Less impact from ultra-violet light. Lines can be exposed to uv light while hanging on the shelf in stores, when stored in a lighted space or during use. Fluorocarbon is less impacted by uv light than the nylon allowing it to remain stronger and perform at the highest levels longer.