As anglers we tend not to think enough about choice of fishing 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 fluorocarbon fishing 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 fluorocarbon lines and put them to the test.
Best alternative fluorocarbon line
The Best Fluoro Line: Our Top Picks
Best overall fluoro 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 fishing 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 fluorocarbon fishing line available for a range of different breaking strains.
Next best fluorocarbon line
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.
Best budget fluorocarbon fishing line
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.
What is Fluorocarbon line?
Fluorocarbon is made in a single strand just like monofilament, but fluorocarbon is made from polyvinylidene difluoride, or PVDF for short, instead of nylon. The result is a stiffer line that has greater abrasion resistance, less stretch for a given strength and is almost invisible underwater.
Fluoro Lines: 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)||****||*****||*||***||**|
Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines: Top 5 Lines Reviewed
Below we take a look in detail about the key attributes of these lines below to work out which is the best fluorocarbon fishing line.
Full reviews of each of these fluorocarbon fishing lines follow below:
As we said at the outset, the Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon is our clear first choice as the best fluoro fishing line. 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, a reputation for great knot strength, and we have a winner folks. And we’re not alone – Sunline Super FC Sniper is the number one fluorocarbon fishing 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 fishing line on account of its flexibility. This great post on the Berkley website explains where Berkley Vanish sites in its range alongside its Trilene and Vanish Transition lines. We think this is a good, smooth casting fishing 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 fishing 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 fishing line that boosts above-water line visibility for the angler to aid bite detection, but remains invisible under the water.
Fluorocarbon Line Buyers’ Guide
Fluorocarbon fishing line has two advantages over monofilament line – for a given pound test it is marginally thinner than mono. It is also, as discussed, under the water. This gives fluoro a clear advantage in stealth based fishing situations where you are targeting a wary species potentially in hard fished waters. Going down a line size or so and going fluoro often means the difference between a great day and blanking.
Fluorocarbon fishing line is denser than mono, which tends to float or suspend in the water column. Fluoro sinks – for this reason it is a good choice for presentations where you want your lure or fly to sink naturally (it always looks better if it is not being pulled back to the surface by the bouyancy of the fishing line).
The high density of fluoro means that it is not the best choice where you need the line to float, such as in dry fly fishing when you want the leader and tippet to float so it doesn’t pull the fly under.
Flexibility and knot strength
Flexibility is not one of fluorocarbon fishing line’s strengths. Even the best fluoro is stiffer than mono line and more difficult to handle when you are tying knots. Care needs to be taken when tying knots in fluoro to make sure they are solid. There’s nothing like losing a great fish to a bad knot, so pay extra attention to how your knot looks when you have cinched it up and make sure it will give you good knot strength. And always lubricate it before hand. For some guidance on tying solid knots in fluoro and mono lines, check out our YouTube knot tying playlist and our essential guide to the only 7 knots you need to know in fishing.
Fluoro is definitely better when it comes to abrasion resistance than even hard mono lines such as Maxima. That makes it a great choice when fishing around jetties, rocks, oyster racks, coral outcrops – anywhere where you expect the line to rub against structure when a fish is hooked.
With the extra stiffness of fluoro comes problems with line memory. Fluoro does tend to have more “memory” than mono line. By memory we mean where the line is left on a tight spool, it retains those loops when you take it off the spool by casting it. These loops are then prone to tangles and compromising your casting distance.
The fluorocarbon lines mentioned here are selected for their lack of memory. They may not match mono lines for this, but they all offer great performance in the category for lack of memory.
Fluoro is expensive – there’s no getting away from that. It is considerably more costly per yard than all mono lines. For that reason, many anglers use it as a leader material coupled with braided or mono line. That way they get the invisibility of fluoro where they need it as well as the abrasion resistance, but the main is a more suppled and easy casting line – mono or braid.
This is also more cost effective as you aren’t going through hundreds of yards of fluoro that you would need to join line to your reel and spool up.
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.
Fluorocarbon line FAQs
How strong are fluorocarbon lines really?
What are the Best Knots for Fluoro Line
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 so they retain as much knot strength as possible. 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.
Monofilament vs Fluorocarbon?
This one is very much horses for courses – it very much depends on the fishing scenario to work out which one is going to be better.
For fishing in heavy structure with subsurface lures, fluoro is a great option. You can use it as a leader attached to braid if you want to retain the ability to make long casts. Braid is also an asset at cutting through weed when you have hooked a fish.
We’ve talked about the stealth benefits of fluoro, so we won’t repeat that here.
Does Fluorocarbon Line Stretch?
The other key benefit is stretch: fluoro has significantly less stretch than mono. So for situations where you need to minimise stretch fluoro is key. For example, with fish with boney jaws that need a hard hookset or fishing deep reefs where fish can stretch out mono line and bust you off on the bottom. Braided line is also low stretch so a braided main line with fluoro leader is another good low-stretch rig.
How is Fluorocarbon Line Made?
While mono lines are made from extruded nylon, fluorocarbon is manufactured from extruded polyvinylidene fluoride (a type of fluoropolymer).
The process of making the line – extruding it throw a die – is the same for both types of line. Japanese tackle companies invented fluorocarbon line and pioneered its use in the 1970s. By the 1990s it began to be used widely as a leader material in the US and other parts of the world.
Over time, manufacturers improved on the early variants of fluorocarbon, which were somewhat stiff, and honed it into the modern class of lines we use today.
Is Fluorocarbon Waterproof?
Yes. Unlike mono, which absorbs water after a few hours in the water, which eventually compromises strength and performance, fluorocarbon fishing lines are completely waterproof and can fished confidently knowing that the line’s strength will not suffer.
Is Fluorocarbon popular in Fly Fishing?
Yes, fluorocarbon leaders are popular in fly fishing for all the same reasons it is used by lure fishers – hardness, density, abrasions resistance, and of course its near invisibility in the water. Flats fly fishers, who are targeting fish such as a bonefish and permit, who are visual predators that can be easily spooked by line, often use a fluorocarbon leader as it is invisible to fish, or almost. It also helps that fluoro is a little thinner than mono for the same pound test and the extra abrasion resistance of the fluorocarbon leader really helps when your reel is screaming and that bonefish is heading for a chunk of coral at the edge of the flat!
Final Thoughts on Fluoro Lines
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.