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TACKLE TIPS

Why Use Fluorocarbon?

Once limited to extreme duty as saltwater leader material, fluorocarbon fishing line has, in recent years, become a popular option for anglers in many situations.

Fluoro's newfound favor is fueled in part by advancements in performance characteristics, which—depending on your personal preferences—can make it the best fishing line for a number of applications.

Benefits of Fluoro

Diameter - Fluorocarbon is approximately the same diameter as nylon monofilament of the same break strength. However, because fluoro is difficult for fish to see, you can upsize pound test for extra strength and abrasion resistance, without spooking line-shy fish.

Low Visibility - One of fluorocarbon's biggest benefits is that it is nearly invisible underwater. This is because it does not appreciably distort light passing through the line and it is a huge factor in clear water and when targeting skittish fish.

Strength - Fluorocarbon's low visibility characteristics allow anglers to use stouter pound test lines in situations such as heavy cover tactics for bass. Fluorocarbon is more abrasion resistant than standard nylon monofilament of the same diameter, and it has quickly become a top choice of the pros when fishing the thickest cover or dragging baits along the bottom. Additionally, while the sun's harsh ultraviolet rays weaken nylon over time, fluorocarbon shrugs off UV rays with no ill-effects.

Sensitivity - Fluoro's tightly packed molecules transmit more energy than mono, which intensifies information from the other end of the line, such as light bites or your lure ticking bottom. Boosting sensitivity also allows fluoro to sink faster than mono, resulting in less slack or bow between the lure and rod tip.

Hooking Power - Lacking the low-end stretch of nylon mono, fluorocarbon delivers more solid hooksets, even at long distances. If you need to drive the hook home at the end of a long cast, this is a key consideration.

Waterproof - Unlike mono and some superlines, fluoro does not absorb water. This means it has the same strength, sensitivity and handling below the surface as it does when dry. It feels and acts the same on your first cast as it does on your last.

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Trade-Offs

Manageability - Fluorocarbon is stiffer and has more memory than mono and superlines, making it the least manageable fishing line. However, advancements in spoolable options such as Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon have made today's premium fluoros far more well-behaved than their forerunners.

Shock Strength - Nylon mono rules this category, which refers to a line's ability to absorb sudden impacts such as hard hooksets and headshakes. Fluorocarbon falls in between mono and superline. If shock strength is a big factor in your fishing, but you do not want to give up fluoro's stealth and sensitivity, loosening your drag can help compensate.

Sink Rate - Fluoro sinks faster than mono, making it difficult to fish topwater lures. On the flipside, fluoro is perfect for pinning bait close to bottom and getting more depth from weightless presentations. Many pros us this line to achieve greater running depths from crankbaits in both trolling and casting situations.

Knot Strength - If you cinch down a knot without wetting the line, fluorocarbon will fail. However, a properly tied and moistened Palomar Knot or Trilene Knot provides excellent knot strength.

Top Picks

Spoolable fluorocarbon is a great choice for a variety of presentations where low visibility, strength, hook setting power and sensitivity are key. If near-zero stretch and ultra-thin line diameters are critical to the presentation, there is no beating a superline. But a fluorocarbon leader greatly reduces the chances of spooking line-wary fish. Here are a few top choices for spooling and leader material.

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  • Berkley Vanish Transition—The only pure fluorocarbon line that changes color above the surface. A great choice for line-watching applications where you need to see the line, but want it to disappear underwater.
  • Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon—Choice of the pros, engineered for the highest shock strength in a fluorocarbon, plus abrasion resistance and knot strength.
  • Berkley Vanish—A great all-around pick thanks to its easy-casting, sensitive nature.

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