Should You Use Fluorocarbon As A Main Line?

Fluorocarbon lines have been around since 1970 more as a specialty leader line. Since then, the popularity of fluoro lines has grown in leaps and bounds due to significant line performance improvements. Nowadays, anglers use fluoro as a mainline instead of a leader line but should you do this too?

Fluorocarbon can be used as a mainline, provided you invest in a high-quality fishing line. Using a high-end fluoro line as a mainline offers many benefits such as excellent casting distance, abrasion resistance and is virtually invisible underwater. 

Fluorocarbon lines are fantastic lines in their own right. The fluorocarbon mainline and leader lines are slightly different. Let’s check out the differences and see why you should use a fluorocarbon line as a mainline.  

Using Fluorocarbon As A Mainline

Fluorocarbon lines are made from a polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). 

The PVDF material gives fluoro lines their excellent reputation as a leader line due to their excellent abrasion resistance, resistance to absorbing water, low visibility underwater, and ability to sink in water.

The downside of fluorocarbon has always been significantly higher prices than monofilament lines. Up to 500% more expensive in some cases, which scares many anglers from trying fluoro lines.

Over time, the manufacturing processes have improved, resulting in an improved product in terms of both quality and price.

Modern fluorocarbon lines have improved the lines’ flexibility and improved the knot tying quality of the line. This minimized line memory issues where the line would coil off the spool uncontrollably, causing the line to tangle. 

Today’s fluorocarbon lines are available in two different categories. One type is for use as the mainline, available in lengths of up to 1100 yards.

The second is a leader line. Besides being a thicker diameter, it is stiffer than the mainline fluoro and only comes packaged in short lengths.

The Difference Between Fluorocarbon Fishing Line And Leader

The leader’s purpose is to increase the abrasion resistance and strength of the line closest to the bait.

fluoro leader is regularly paired with a braided, monofilament, or fluoro mainline.  

Fluorocarbon main lines are different from leader lines as they serve two other purposes. The mainline is spooled onto your reel, which is cast out. Therefore, it must be thin and flexible for casting far, yet it still needs sufficient strength to stand up to your target fish species.  

Fluorocarbon Line Characteristics

All Fluorocarbon Lines Main Line Leader Line
Great abrasion resistanceFlexibleStiffer than other lines
Low visibility in the waterGood castabilityHarder to tie knots
It lasts a long timeGood knot strengthMinimal stretch
Not affected by UV lightGreat line sensitivityExpensive to buy
Water-resistantSuited to all reelsVery Strong
It doesn’t form line memoryLong lengths available 
Minimal stretchThin Diameter 
Sinking LineCompetitively Priced 

Do Fluorocarbon Lines Last A Long Time?  

Fluorocarbon lines last a long time as they are not affected by UV light and do not absorb water, which breaks down mono lines over time.

Fluorocarbon is more abrasion resistant than other lines. This means that line is durable and is not easily damaged.

Knot Tying Tips For Fluorocarbon Mainlines

The double uni knot is a great knot to join a fluoro mainline to a leader line, even if both lines are fluoro. 

palomar knot is good for tying a fluoro line to a swivel, lure, or hook. 

Now a handy tip for tying of fluoro line knots. Always wet the knot before pulling the knot tight to avoid the fluoro cracking.

An odd characteristic of fluoro is that the line tends to crack if excessive tension is exerted. 

Excessive force is only placed on the line for the average angler when tying a knot. 

Wetting the knot reduces the friction on the line and allows the knot to tighten up neatly without causing weak spots in the form of fine cracks.

Modern Fluorocarbon Lines Cast Well

Today’s fluorocarbon main lines cast very well. 

In the past, fluorocarbon had such bad line memory it made the line hard to manage. 

Modern fluoro main lines are limp and have overcome the past challenges. 

These lines perform pretty much the same as monofilament lines and offer all the advantages of the Fluoro line.

Some anglers take advantage of the low visibility of the line and opt to use a thicker diameter fluoro line. A thicker line gives greater peace of mind when there is no need to cast far or where the bait is trolled or jigging. 

Fluorocarbon – Sinking Line

Fluorocarbon line material is denser than water, so it sinks faster than other lines. 

A sinking line is an advantage mainly when using lighter baits. The fluoro line helps get the bait down faster to where the fish lurks without needing a sinker.

Fluorocarbon Line For Novice Anglers

Novice anglers can definitely use fluorocarbon as a mainline. 

After all, that’s how we all learned. Modern fluorocarbon main lines are similar to monofilament lines.

The thinner fluoro lines feel and perform very similarly to mono, which is more beginner-friendly. Novice anglers would be hard-pressed to notice any difference between the fluoro and mono lines in terms of performance. 

Knot tying may initially be a hassle but once mastered, the fluorocarbon line does have some stretch that reduces the risk of breaking the line when setting the hook. 

The angler must ensure that the reel drag is placed on the correct resistance to avoid the line parting under strain.

However, the comparatively high cost of the fluoro line may not warrant the expense, which would be a consideration for most of us.

Can You Use Fluorocarbon Leader As A Main Line

The fluorocarbon leader line is useable as the mainline. But, you need to consider a few factors: 

  • Leader lines are generally thicker than main lines, creating line memory issues. 
  • They are usually only available in shorter lengths, up to about 150 yards, which would require a backing line to ensure the reel is sufficiently full of line. 
  • Casting a fluoro leader line as a mainline may cause issues with developing wind knots or backlashing. The additional line thickness will increase line memory and stiffness, which might be troublesome to manage.
  • Knot tying with thicker fluorocarbon leader lines can be challenging for any beginner angler because of the extra stiffness.
  • A fluoro leader line cost is significantly more than a mainline when broken down as dollars per yard.

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