Fly Life Magazine

Opinion: Fluorocarbon facts and fiction

Woman angler with Bahamian bonefish. A Public Domain photo.

The William Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing has nothing to do with fluorocarbon (fluoro) or monofilament (mono) fishing lines. But the fluorocarbon and monofilament do have “much ado about” what has been said (advertised) of each product’s performance. This especially true of fluorocarbon line performance.

Fact Check

• Fluoro does stretch, and it is the same as mono – 20%, and breaks at 30%.

• Once stretched, fluoro stays at its new, weakened length.

• Mono, when stretched, returns to its relatively un-stretched length and maintains its strength.

• Fluoro does not automatically sink as advertised. If there is water surface tension on the leader, it will float. The same with mono. The exception for both would be a big, lead eye or a shank weighted fly. Additionally, you can apply floatant to either and improve surface connection. Because fluoro is thinner than its mono counterpart, it does cut through the water easier when attached to a sinking fly.

• If I can see fluoro in the water so can a fish. They make their living seeing prey and predators. Fluoro is only less visible than mono, but not “invisible.”

• Tying knots with fluoro requires extra care. Usually, additional turns are required for a hold. Some knots do not hold well with fluoro.

• Fluoro is usually three times more expensive than mono.

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Modern Marvels

Today’s best mono is extruded nylon with other thermoplastic and polymer ingredients. The nylon is treated, annealed and coated for better abrasion resistance and UV protection. The best mono lines are pre-stretched which improves strength and again, adds better abrasion resistance.

Buyer beware

Big box stores and online discount operations will sell cheap, untreated mono lines and they will absorb water in a short period and decrease in strength as much as 20%. The untreated mono has no UV resistance, and abrasion resistance is reduced. It is not worth saving a buck or two to use these cheaper mono lines.

Abrasion resistance

Modern-day mono is a super high-quality product that is the equal of fluoro in abrasion resistance. Add superior knot and tensile strengths at a third the price. My choice is mono…

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