As anglers we tend not to think enough about choice of line.
But that $300 reel and fancy rod – and even the best lure – all amount to nothing if our line lets us down at the critical time resulting in a bust off.
Using the best fluorocarbon line is increasingly popular among fishermen and women for two reasons – it is practically invisible in the water and it has good abrasion resistance.
Now not all fluorocarbon lines are made equally – so we’ve taken five of the best available fluorocarbon lines and put them to the test.
Best alternative fluorocarbon line
To cut straight to the chase, our choice is the Sunline FC Sniper. None of the other lines offer the same value. This is the fluoro line that we use at Tackle Village. It’s tough, Japanese quality and we find its strength regularly exceeds its breaking strain. It’s also the thinnest line available for a range of different breaking strains.
Japanese brands Seaguar Premier (great but expensive), Yo-Zuri (thin and tough) are great lines that won’t let you down and tests by Sport Fishing magazine show they reliably exceed their nominal breaking strain. But for us they don’t have anything over an above the Sunline FC Sniper and they cost significantly more.
US-made Berkley are perhaps the best know brand in the US market and have a presence throughout other global markets. Berkley is a solid choice for bargain-conscious anglers and also tests well. But for us, we put our trust in Sunline – it’s just not worth it to save a few bucks (well, cents really) if it has the potential to cost you a fish that you put in a lot of time, effort and travel to catch.
The fluorocarbon lines we reviewed
Specifications and features
|Sunline FC Sniper||Berkley Vanish||Seaguar Premier||Maxima Fluorocarbon||Yo-Zuri HD|
|Diameter at 20lb||0.0146||0.016||.015 in (.370 mm)||.016||0.015|
|Country of manufacture||Japan||United States||Japan||Germany||Japan|
|Selling point||Tournament success|
Popular with US anglers
|Top of the range Seagur line||Maker of tough abrasion resistant lines|
High quality Japanese brand
|Value (based on cost per yard)||****||*****||*||***||**|
How to use fluorocarbon lines
As explained in the video below, many anglers use fluorocarbon effectively as a leader material. They spool their reels with either braid or monofilament line and tie on a 6-10 ft of fluorocarbon leader on the end. There’s nothing wrong with spooling up with fluoro, but it tends to be stiffer than mono and therefore harder to cast than high quality mono line and certainly braid. It’s also more expensive, hence why most people fish with it as a leader.
How these fluoro lines stacked up
As we said at the outset, this is our clear first choice for fluorocarbon lines. We use it fishing among oyster racks and its abrasion resistant quality means less bust offs and its slim profile means more hook ups. Couple that with a price that’s only marginally more expensive than bargain brands and we have a winner folks. And we’re not alone – its the number line in Japan for tournament anglers and its boasts a series of tournament wins in the US too.
Berkley lines are made in this US and are very popular in this market. Berkley claims this is an easy casting fluorocarbon line on account of its flexibility. This great post on the Berkley website explains where Vanish sites in its range alongside its Trilene and Vanish Transition lines. We think this is a good line at a great price, but with some anglers reporting quality issues we’d prefer to not take the risk.
Seaguar invented fluorocarbon fishing line in the 1970s and the Japanese based manufacturer remains the only manufactures that makes its own resins and controls the production process from beginning to end. Seaguar Premier is some of our colleagues’ first choice when it comes to fluorocarbon leaders, but for us, we’ll stick with the Sunline on account of the better price.
Maxima is one of our favourite monofilament line manufacturers. We use its mono extensively for its stiffness and abrasion resistance in constructing our own monofilament fly fishing leaders. Now the German giant is offering a fluoro line that promises extraordinary castability and UV protection. We are yet to try it, but are optimistic about this being a good line based on Maxima’s track record. Some users report issue with excessive “memory” making spooling it difficult (that’s not uncommon) but we use fluorocarbon for leaders only so it’s not an issue for us.
This is another trusted Japanese brand that is really good quality – high strength and abrasion resistance. We have friends that love it and have used it ourselves. Yo-Zuri offers a special pink fluoro that boosts above-water line visibility for the angler to aid bite detection, but remains invisible under the water.
Fluorocarbon line tests
Best knots for fluorocarbon lines
The one disadvantage to fluorocarbon over monofilament line is that it is less forgiving of bad knots. It is absolutely imperative to lubricate (with saliva) all knots tied in fluorocarbon. Our epic seven best fishing knots post gives you all the info required to tie all the knots you need to know for fluoro line connections.
There you have it – our complete run down on the best fluorocarbon lines available today. We hope this has inspired you to switch to fluorocarbon leaders for subsurface fishing and that we’ve given you some useful tips on choosing and using fluorocarbon lines. A good fluoro line and a pair of polarized fishing sunglasses are your two best weapons for fishing in clear water situations.