It’s a struggle every fisherman has encountered at some point. Your bags are packed, and everything is just right for fishing, but you remember you need to pick up more fishing line before you head out for the day. You stop at your local tackle supply shop and standing there in the aisle you start to wonder
“What kind of fishing line do I buy?”
It comes down to monofilament vs fluorocarbon fishing line and you stand there wondering, “what’s the difference?”
The price tag staring you in the face clearly shows fluorocarbon is more expensive but does that mean it is a superior line?
If you have ever found yourself in this scenario asking these same questions, then this article was written just for you. After all, the only connection you have between you and that fish is your fishing line. Let’s jump right into the key differences between these two fishing lines.
Monofilament vs Fluorocarbon
According to Deneki.com “…fluorocarbon is a much harder material than monofilament. This results in higher abrasion resistance that is useful in situations such as nymphing or fishing around heavy structure. Also, most fluorocarbon line is thinner in diameter than monofilament line of the same breaking strength.”
Before we take a closer look at the similarities and differences between monofilament and fluorocarbon, here’s a quick look at the features of each type of fishing line.
- ability to suspend in water
- more stretch compared to fluorocarbon
- can be susceptible to some degree of water absorption
- susceptible to damage from UV light
- More affordable compared to fluorocarbon
- more abrasion resistant than monofilament
- sinks through the water column
- very low visibility
- does not absorb water
- resistant to UV damage
- stretches less than monofilament
- more expensive than monofilament
Now lets take a closer look at some of the differences in specific characteristics of these fishing lines. Below I’ll explain the differences between these two types of fishing lines regarding these specific characteristics. These characteristics are:
- Ability to Tie Knots
- Overall Value
Fluorocarbon line is practically invisible in and out of the water and definitely less visible than monofilament. This added transparency is excellent because you are less likely to spook the fish. monofilament line while more visible is available in a huge array of colors so you can pick a specific line color to make for more (in)visibility in any condition.
Fluorocarbon line is denser than water meaning it is going to sink which is very important for trout and bottom feeder fisherman but a real drag when bobber fishing, drifting, or skating flies on the surface.
monofilament on the other hand is prone to larger diameters and has a near neutral buoyancy meaning it sinks slowly and makes it a limiting factor to how deep your lures can dive. However, this drawback makes it a strength when it comes to bobber fishing or setting topwater lures.
Is fluorocarbon stronger than monofilament? Fluorocarbon line is undeniably a thinner and stronger material than monofilament. It also is non-permeable to water meaning it doesn’t absorb water through the fishing day as monofilament does. Over time this can cause monofilament line to weaken.
Fluorocarbon material is highly resistant to the elements, whereas monofilament is exceptionally susceptible to the elements such as rain, humidity, extreme temperatures, and UV rays. Over time these harsh conditions tend to break down the monofilament line, and as a result, the line loses strength.
Ability to Tie Knots
An often overlooked facet of selecting fishing line is knotability. The weakest link in your setup is always your knot and making sure your fishing line is suitable for the job is very important. In this regard, the monofilament line is a superior choice because it isn’t stiff like fluorocarbon meaning you get a knot that seats just right relatively easy.
With fluorocarbon being so stiff you have to really be careful and take your time when tying the knot to make sure the knot seats just right so you can avoid knot breakage or slippage. When going after larger fish that require larger diameter lines, you’ll want to go with monofilament.
monofilament is a rather “stretchy” fishing line material which can be advantageous because a degree of stretching in fishing line will aid in absorbing the shock of fighting the fish. While fluorocarbon line is considered stiffer and less stretchy, some fisherman find that is actually an advantage because that added line strength and stiffness adds sensitivity to the line making it easier to detect subtle fish takes such as trout or steelhead.
There isn’t a clear-cut winner in the case of monofilament vs fluorocarbon fishing line.
Critics of fluorocarbon say it is overpriced, too stiff, and prone to memory issues making it a less manageable fishing line. Proponents, however, say it is a cutting-edge fishing line that is stronger, denser, and practically invisible making it a superior line.
Critics of monofilament line say monofilament line is more visible, less dense in water making it suspend, and an overall weaker line. Proponent say it is a staple of any fisherman’s tackle box that is all-purpose, has dynamic stretching to absorb hard-hitting strikes, has superior knotability, and is a greater value for the price.
Fluorocarbon fishing line has several advantages over traditional monofilament fishing line, but there are times when the added cost isn’t necessary. When selecting fishing line it is best to base it on the type of fish you are after, the conditions you’ll be fishing in, and what you can afford. Some fisherman even find the best of both worlds by using a “leader” line of fluorocarbon between the lure and the main monofilament line.
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Mono vs Fluoro Diameter
Fluorocarbon fishing line has roughly the same diameter as monofilament with the same breaking strength. However, since fluoro is so difficult for fish to see, you can increase the pound test for more strength and abrasion resistance without spooking timid fish.
Is Fluorocarbon Better Than Monofilament?
According to a large number of anglers, yes, fluorocarbon is better than monofilament fishing line.
This, of course, is strictly based on opinion as well as specific circumstances surrounding fishing scenarios. But given the fact that fluorocarbon is known for being less visible, more abrasion resistant and overall just stronger compared to mono of the same diameter, fluorocarbon edges out monofilament when compared side by side.