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From hitting the shelves to now, fluoro fishing took a while to graduate from leader-only fishing line.The early spoolable fluoro was difficult to tie reliable knots, less than supple, and thick.
For me, it was leader only.
Over the last few years, fluoro has improved dramatically, and aside from being a little pricey, it provides its own unique benefits allowing it to stand apart from mono and braid.
Let’s have a look at 5 of the best fluorocarbon lines that are worthy of your hard-earned dollar.
Before we do, let’s have a little look at when you should use fluorocarbon fishing line.
Why and When Should You Use Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines
A lot of anglers ask why and when they should use fluorocarbon fishing line.
I always suggest they use fluoro whenever they like, for whatever application with very few exceptions. Run it exclusively on all of your reels if you wish.
Modern fluoro lines are great.
With the exception of big game fishing and a couple of other types of specialized fishing applications, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use fluoro.
In my experience, fluoro hasn’t been ideal on baitcaster reels.
I can’t say that I’ve done exhaustive testing, and I’m aware that plenty of baitcaster anglers spool up with fluoro and cast with great success.
The best answer I can give is from my experience. I have found fluoro excellent when fishing light and ultra-light with spinning reels.
When I fish gnarly structure, barnacle-covered rocks in particular, with 4, 6, and 8-pound fishing line, I like to use fluoro.
I have found that fluoro really does offer good abrasion resistance, which is critical when brushing 4-pound line up against the rocks, or rocky river beds.
I also like that the line will sink in these applications. Particularly when I want to get lighter lures further down the water column quickly.
There are applications where I wind the drag to capacity because allowing fish to run in these circumstances means losing the fish and the bait or lure.
In these circumstances, I like the stretch of mono for that little bit of forgiveness and shock protection.
I suggest that if you haven’t tried fluoro, that you should get a couple of spools of different brands and test them out on your favorite applications.
Top 5 Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines For 2023
1. Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon – Editor’s Choice
This is the fluoro that I use on all of my fishing reels. It’s a little pricey, but I get a heck of a lot of mileage from it.
While available in a wide range of test weights, I feel it excels in the lighter classes from 4 to 8 pounds. I find it performs very well when cast into a structure covered with sharp bits.
I’ve had small live baits take me around all sorts of nasty stuff in the shallows, and I’ve retrieved them without damaging the line.
The Sunline Super FC is strong. I’ve noticed that irretrievable foul hooks can be quite difficult to snap off. It takes quite some pulling before it even begins to stretch.
Knotts require caution. An extra couple of wraps, regardless of your knot type, is worth the extra time.
Excellent Fluoro, and my go-to for everything under 10-pound test weight. This is also a good fluoro for baitcasters.
- Great abrasion resistance
- Low memory
- Easy to use
- Achieving knot strength takes care
2.Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon XL – Excellent Sensitivity
This Fluorocarbon fishing line has been around for ages and remains super-popular. I guess because it’s a Berkely product, it has a pretty secure fan base.
Although brand loyalty shouldn’t be your first qualifier when buying the best fluorocarbon fishing line.
It is sensitive and offers an excellent feel, and for this reason, it seems to attract plenty of endorsements from pro anglers.
Trilene XL is a good fluoro, but I’d be hesitant to jump on the bandwagon with those suggesting it’s one of the best.
Where feel and sensitivity are important, sure, it’s a fantastic option.
But I was always suspicious of the fact it says it’s designed for spinning reels. The cynical me thinks it’s more likely that it just performs poorly on baitcasters.
I don’t see how the design or technology would make a line well suited to spinning reels. But I can see how it would be unsuitable for baitcasters.
It has all the qualities you want, but as with many fluoros, knot care is required. Make sure you check the line to see it has remained supple enough over time.
- Abrasion resistance
- Knot strength
3. Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon – Best Vis Properties
Another very popular offering from Berkely and it’s an excellent option for when stealth is a must.
I encourage you to test it out in clear water, and if you can have a look at just how your lure/bait looks in the water.
For floating or suspended lures, it appears very natural, as if it’s connected to nothing.
As a saltwater angler who frequents the rocks and surf, I don’t have a great need for invisible lines.
But when I hit the rivers and estuaries when the water is crystal clear, an invisible fishing line can be the difference between full live wells and going home with your tail between your legs.
I also like the fact that above the water, I can see it very well. It’s not a huge thing, but I do like to see my line before it vanishes under the surface.
The great thing is that abrasion resistance is also top-notch. While not as supple as many top-shelf fluoros, you can still get the desired knot strength without too much fuss.
It’s a particularly strong line too, and this strength remains since fluoro keeps its integrity because it doesn’t absorb water.
Great stealth option.
- Visible above water, invisible beneath
- Ticks all desirables such as abrasion resistance and strength
- Available in a wide range of test weights
- A little pricey
- Not the most supple fluoro available
4. Seaguar Red Label – Best Budget Fluorocarbon Leader
While you can absolutely spool up with Red Label fishing line, I’d be selecting another first.
It’s not so supple and is a little too hard and stiff for spooling, in my opinion. This is the sort of line that should go nowhere near a baitcaster spool.
You’re just asking for disappointment. However, we all go through a mile of leader each year, and it’s pretty costly.
Red Label is a very affordable fluorocarbon fishing line that makes for a great leader provided you pay attention to your knots.
Firstly, it’s a very strong fishing line.
And for those who work gnarly structures, it won’t take too long to work out that it can handle the rough stuff with the barnacles and rough rocks.
Red Label is sold in spool sizes for use as a mainline. While this is cost-effective, it’s even more cost-effective when used exclusively as leader.
It’s great for lighter fishing and makes for a great bass leader when you’re fishing nasty structure or a rocky river bed.
Red Label is a strong abrasion-resistant fluoro that we all can afford.
Sure, there are much better main lines available, but you won’t get a genuine fluoro leader for this sort of value for money.
- Very Strong
- Excellent Abrasion Resistance
- Excellent Leader
- Value for Money
- Not a great mainline
- Not supple
5. Yo-Zuri HD Fluorocarbon Leader – Best Premium Fluoro Leader
Unlike the Red Label above which purports to be mainline, Yo-Zuri is nothing but pure Fluoro Leader.
This leader is the ideal choice for those anglers chasing something on the heavy, toothy side of things.
Yo-Zuri is quite hard. There’s not a lot of give in this stuff and you’re going to have to work at your knots, particularly the heavier 25 pound and above.
While I prefer other leader materials for light work, this is a great choice for the toughest of fish and the toughest of conditions.
While advertised as being supple, I’m not so sure. Maybe the lighter lines, but the thick stuff is big and meant to fight hard; therefore it is pretty hard.
It looks pink on the spool, but underwater the line is invisible. It remains invisible until it is scraped, cut, or damaged in some way, then the color shows.
This provides a great warning for the angler that it’s time to change leaders or risk a bust-up with a prize fish.
This is a great leader for the ocean rocks, or where the reef is going to be part of a fight with a big fish.
Many anglers will see the price as a little too steep considering there are plenty of cheaper options.
However, there’s value in the Yo-Zuri because it allows you to fish confidently in the toughest of locations against the toughest of fish.
You will need to be cautious with knots, but it’s a small trade-off for fishing one of the toughest leaders available.
- Super Strong
- Excellent abrasion resistance
- Color warning telling you the line is damaged
- Not so supple in the heavier line classes. A Little too hard for some applications
- Caution is required when tying knots
- Very expensive
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What are the Benefits, Pros, and Cons of Fluorocarbon Line?
I’m a big fan of mono, and nothing will change this. For spooling baitcasting reels, I still choose mono or braid, as different fluorocarbon lines have a habit of misbehaving on baitcasters.
This is a personal choice and just my experience. There are plenty of experienced anglers casting fluoro from baitcasters quite happily.
But a lot of my smaller spinning reels, 1000 to 3000, are spooled with fluorocarbon fishing line.
And the benefits fluorocarbon line delivers for my lighter fishing applications are very useful.
Let’s have a brief look at the critical features and benefits of fluoro. I think you’ll find good reasons for adding a few spools to your reel arsenal.
Abrasion resistance refers to the line’s ability to handle contact with gnarly structure that cuts and damages fishing line.
Good fluoro has excellent abrasion resistance, adding extra protection when casting light line at rig thieving snags, or when dragging baits along the bottom.
Abrasion resistance is critical for countless fishing applications. The downside is that the hardness required to achieve abrasion resistance compromises suppleness.
Less supple fishing line make tying knots a little more difficult and impact casting efficiency.
Invisibility Under Water
While not completely invisible when submerged, it’s very close to it.
When fishing in clear and smooth conditions, line that is virtually invisible to cautious fish becomes a significant advantage.
The only drawback with invisible fishing line is that some applications benefit from being able to identify exactly where your line is.
Low Stretch or No Stretch?
I’m as guilty as the next angler as stating emphatically that fluoro has little to no stretch. Without qualification, this statement is at best misleading.
Fluorocarbon fishing line does stretch. However, relative to mono, it takes a considerable amount of force to make fluoro stretch.
Such is the force required (relative to mono) most anglers won’t be impacted by fluoro stretch.
Low stretch offers excellent benefits for hook setting, particularly if you have a large amount of line out.
Low stretch enhances sensitivity.
Without stretch, fishing line is less forgiving, so extra care is required to avoid shock breakage and pulling hooks with aggressive strikes
Sensitivity pertains to the amount of feel transferred from the business end of the fishing line to the angler’s hand.
While not as sensitive as braid, fluoro still delivers an excellent feel.
Many anglers appreciate the forgiveness of fluoro without having to sacrifice the sort of sensitivity that allows you to feel everything going on at the lure end of your rig.
Strength or line class refers to its test weight. But it’s more than that; it also includes its strength to line diameter ratio.
Fluoro is much the same as mono in that regard. You can spool up the same amount of mono as you can fluoro.
The benefit of fluoro line is that its low vis qualities allow you to up the line class while still being able to maintain a stealth approach.
Shock strength refers to a line’s capacity to handle heavy sudden strikes and serious head shakes.
According to manufacturers, fluoro sits somewhere between braids and monos, however, I can’t really confirm this.
I have my drag set to a level that shock doesn’t really come into it, at least on the strike.
If I’m fishing where I need to lock up the drag from the outset, such as fishing some types of heavy structure. I’ll use mono anyway.
Fluoro lines have an exceptionally low absorption rate, so they sink and can sink quickly.
When you want to get your bait down the water column, this can be a significant advantage.
If you’re fishing the topwater, with a surface lure, for example, choosing fluoro might not be the best option.
Having said that, I don’t find it a problem at all.
Both mono and braids are impacted by water absorption. The float and knot properties are impacted.
Fluorocarbon fishing line mitigates these issues.
Durability and Longevity
Braids are easily the most durable lines available. Mono can quickly degrade with heavy UV exposure.
Fluoro sits in the middle of these two for a couple of reasons. Firstly, fluoro has excellent UV resistance.
Your full spool of fluoro will last a heck of a lot longer under heavy UV exposure.
Secondly, fluoro is much harder than mono so it can handle the rough stuff in gnarly structure better than both mono and braid.
This brings us to cost-effectiveness.
Also Read: Choosing the Right Braided Fishing Line
Value for Money
Good fluoro can be pretty pricey. However, as it has excellent durability, it lasts longer, so over the course of the fishing year, you’re likely to end up paying similar amounts of money, regardless of whether you choose mono or fluoro.
The downside is that you will be coughing up more money at the counter for a good fluorocarbon line relative to mono.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line for Bass Fishing?
If you’re part of the majority of bass anglers who deploy baitcaster reels, I’d go for the most supple fluoro you can find.
I have found the more supple lines cast better on baitcasters.
The only way you can work this out for yourself is to try a few. A great way to test a line’s suppleness is to tie a knot, assessing the ease at which it can be tied and its strength.
For spinning reel anglers, I’m inclined to go with supple anyway. Supple lines allow you to tie better knots more consistently.
Fluorocarbon Vs Monofilament Fishing Line – Which Is Best?
There is no “better”, just different. As discussed earlier, each of the three popular lines, mono, fluoro, and braids have their own strengths and compromises.
To compare the three, outline each of their properties and preferred applications would require an article unto itself.
Importantly, you should not take advice that says either line is better unless it’s followed by reasonable qualifications and some evidence as to why.
It should be noted that a lot of opinions are informed by personal preference with very little science behind them.
I advise you to try each line for yourself under the same application and circumstances to come to your own conclusions.
Can you use Fluorocarbon on a Spinning Reel?
Yes, you can use fluorocarbon on a spinning reel for any spin application. In fact, I prefer it when I’m fishing light or ultra-light in heavy structure.
Modern spoolable fluoro works very nicely on spinning reels.
Not all fluoros are created equal, though, so I advise you to test as many as your budget allows, to find the best ‘feel’ for you.
How Often Should You Change Fluorocarbon Fishing Line?
Fluorocarbon fishing line has outstanding UV resistance, and as a result, you might get a few seasons out of a spool, particularly if you rotate it and it hasn’t been exposed to heavy structure.
There’s no good answer to this question, and I have one rule of thumb. If a line is cut and suffering from abrasions, that portion of the line MUST be removed.
You will find that your most frequently used fluoro reels will require a refill before they have a chance to degrade naturally, simply because of abrasion and impact damage.
Wear and tear can happen in one heavy session or over two years.
Is Fluorocarbon Good For Main Line?
When fluorocarbon hit the shelves, it was leader material only. It stayed this way for quite some time, but as the technology improved, so too did line performance.
Modern fluorocarbon fishing line is now an excellent mainline. It also remains the best leader material available for the majority of fishing applications.
The Fluorocarbon Wrap-Up
Fluorocarbon fishing line is just like any other consumer product. The packets are loaded with glitzy and glossy claims and information composed by marketing gurus to help you part with your money.
There are some great fluorocarbons and some downright ordinary ones. Finding which fluorocarbon fishing line is right for you is a discovery process.
Having said that, the 5 best fluorocarbon fishing lines listed above are a great bet, and depending on how you deploy them, I forecast great results.
Also Read: What Are The Top Mono Fishing Lines?