Can You Put Straight Fluorocarbon on Baitcaster?

Straight fluorocarbon is a great choice for baitcasters in some – BUT not all – situations. Get the facts here on when to use straight fluoro vs braided line

You can put straight fluorocarbon on baitcaster reels, and many anglers who fish for many different species use fluorocarbon as their main fishing line of choice today.

In this article we break down how it stacks up against braid to fluoro and braid to mono (and straight mono) set ups for baitcasting reels.

I hope it is useful!

When you should use straight fluorocarbon line on baitcaster

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Sometimes straight fluoro on a baitcaster is a great choice

While many anglers use a fluorocarbon leader with braided line as the main line, fluorocarbon line is great on its own for many different types of fishing situations, and in many cases can be used exclusively depending on the species you fish.

Fluorocarbon fishing line is similar to monofilament in its construction as it is extruded into a single strand. Unlike in monofilament lines, the molecules of fluorocarbon lines are more densely packed– this makes the line stronger than monofilament with zero increase in diameter, and it also makes it heavier and stiffer compared to monofilament.

Fluorocarbon leaders are still common among some anglers, but straight fluorocarbon lines are a great choice for many reasons.

Straight fluoro is basically invisible and more abrasion resistant than braid, plus it sinks if you need to get the lure down. Keep in mind, though, you won’t fit as much line on the reel as you would with braided line and a fluoro leader.

Let’s take a look in more detail at the pros and cons of fluorocarbon line.


  • Greater sensitivity than mono lines
  • Less stretch than mono lines
  • Best stealth factor of any type of line
  • Abrasion resistant and nearly invisible


  • Has a tendency to coil and gain “memory”
  • Can fit less line on the reel than a braid-leader combo
  • Does not have the tensile strength of a braided line
  • In some situations, more stretch may be desirable
  • A bit more expensive compared to monofilament

What about a straight monofilament line on a baitcaster?

Baitcasting combo image 1
Braided line with a leader is more visible to the fish and not always best

You can use straight mono on a baitcasting reel as well if you would like, and there is no need for any sort of backing like you should use with braided lines.

Monofilament line is great if you need to spool up several reels and is one of the reasons it is popular with anglers that do frequent trolling.

The stretch that monofilament offers is also great for absorbing shock when trolling and is great for other species like catfish.

One con of using monofilament is that it can be damaged by UV light, and after extended periods in sunlight the line will become brittle and break easily.

This con isn’t as much of an issue as it may seem, as this breakdown takes a very long time, and monofilament will easily last a season of hardcore fishing, and in many cases multiple seasons.

Monofilament is also popular to use on rods that are specifically used for fishing crank baits, as the stretch prevents anglers from pulling the hooks out of a fishes’ mouth and is commonly used by walleye and bass anglers.

The monofilament line is still the most commonly used fishing line out there for the average angler catching fish such as panfish. Monofilament lines still have a significant role in the saltwater fishing world and for certain fishing applications for other species like bass, walleye, catfish, and more.

Monofilament lines can also be used as a leader, and many anglers still use them in place of fluorocarbon line, with anglers like musky and pike anglers still using them with pound test ranges of around 100 pounds in line strength.


  • Mono can stretch by up to 1/3 of its’ length
  • It’s the cheapest line type out there
  • great for crank baits, trolling, and niche fishing applications as well as general purpose fishing.


  • Low tensile strength
  • While it has some level of stealth it is not near invisible like fluorocarbon fishing line
  • It is not as abrasion resistant as other line types
  • Will get damaged after very long periods in direct sunlight

When braided line with a fluorocarbon leader is better on a baitcaster?

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Make the right line choice for the circumstances

Using a fluorocarbon leader in conjunction with a braided line as the main line is a great setup, and offers pros from both line types.

Most anglers who run this line setup will use monofilament for backing on the reel, as this allows you to use less braided line, which is fairly expensive.

Using a double uni knot, FG knot, or other types of knots can be a great way to tie on a fluoro leader, but you will have to watch out for line twist, and in many cases, you might want to tie on a barrel swivel to prevent line twist, but it can be a personal preference for some anglers.

The braid will give you incredibly high levels of sensitivity, abrasion resistance, and strength, and the fluoro leader will give you the ultimate in stealth to catch fish in clear water or in bodies of water that get high amounts of fishing pressure.

If you tie the two lines together directly with a connection knot and aren’t concerned with line twist, you still have to regularly check your knots, and potentially tie a new knot more often than you normally would.

Walleye anglers, trout anglers, and panfish anglers use this line setup regularly to ensure they have stealthy presentations and great sensitivity.

Fluorocarbon leaders are also featured prominently for predatory species with sharp teeth like musky and northern pike. These leaders are typically pre-built with a barrel swivel and fast attach clip for easily changing lures.


  • High stealth due to the fluoro leader, allowing you to potentially catch more fish
  • High strength from the braid main line
  • Great abrasion resistance from both fishing lines


  • Connection knot could be a potential failure point
  • More time-consuming to rig up
  • You will have to pay attention to your knots and re-tie more often

Final Thoughts

Fishing with straight fluorocarbon line on a baitcasting reel is commonplace today, and you will find that it is the right line for most fishing situations you will encounter on the water for many different species.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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