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Flourocarbon Versus Monofilament

I was just talking to a friend and he was asking about flourocarbon and if I think it is really worth the extra cost. We also talked about when to use flourocarbon versus mono.

As with anything, there’s good and bad with both. The theory behind flouro is it disappears in the water which gives the angler an advantage. In reality, it doesn’t completely disappear but it is as close as any form of line or leader can get to the refractive index of water, thus making it virtually invisible, but not completely.  The downside is that flourocarbon sinks which makes it difficult to fish dries. If using a flourocarbon leader, it will also sink the tip of your fly line. If you are using a sinking line or stripping a fly, this isn’t a big concern but if you are nymphing or dry fly fishing and need to mend, it becomes difficult when your line is sinking.

Most flourocarbon is stiff and not all knots hold well. Monofilament has stretch which makes it hold better. For example, I find that an improved clinch knot holds a lot better with flouro than a regular clinch while either knot works fine with mono. If you are having knot failures with flourocarbon, try a different knot.

Anything I want to float, I use monofilament and anything I want to sink gets tied to flourocarbon. This is done 100% of the time. As a guide, I go through a few hundred meters of flourocarbon a year. It is more expensive than mono which means if I didn’t feel like it worked, I wouldn’t use it. So, if I am fishing a dry and dropper, I use mono to the dry and flouro to the dropper. If I am nymphing, I make sure that I have mono running to just below the indicator and then my flies tied to flouro.

Even though there is extra cost to fishing flourocarbon, it does disappear more in water and the fish don’t see it as well. Monofilament is necessary when fishing dries and flourocarbon works best when fishing subsurface so make sure you always have both on hand.

About Cinda Howard

Cinda Howard has been an Arizona fly fishing guide for several years. She’s spent her whole life fishing and picked up a fly rod in 1996. She worked for the Orvis Company as a Fly Fishing Manager for eight years before branching off and starting her own business in 2012. Cinda spends a considerable amount of time instructing people on the sport of fly fishing. Cinda has been featured in several fly fishing articles and books (“Fly Fisher’s Guide to Arizona” by Will Jordan, “Arizona’s Official Fishing Guide” by Arizona Highways and Arizona Game and Fish Department) as an expert on fly fishing Arizona. She is extremely passionate not only about fly fishing but also about teaching others. She hosts trips all across the world and has taken customers fly fishing in Alaska, Belize, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and The Bahamas. Cinda loves to fish for trout, steelhead, pike, carp, bonefish, tarpon and anything else that will eat a fly. She is a past President of Desert Fly Casters and is a Zane Grey Trout Unlimited board member.

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