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Monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines have different advantages and disadvantages, depending on the fishing situation. Monofilament, which traces it roots to the DuPont Company in the late 1930s, is still the best-selling fishing line today, according to the Bass Pro Shops website. However, fluorocarbon line, introduced by the Japanese in the 1970s, has features that make it desirable to anglers for assorted reasons.
Fluorocarbon line comes from a polymer that has a refractive index that is almost the same as that of water. The refractive index measures the degree to which light will bend when passing through something, such as water. This feature makes fluorocarbon indistinguishable in the water. Monofilament, however, is much more visible to fish. The invisible nature of fluorocarbon when submerged is one of the traits of the line that anglers favor, as it makes a presentation appear natural, with no line coming off it that fish can detect. Many anglers will use fluorocarbon on the very ends of their line, tying it on as a “leader” so fish will not see it as it attaches to the hook or lure.
Despite great improvements from its original form, fluorocarbon line is still much stiffer and less flexible than monofilament line. This means that you can cast your lures and baits much farther and more smoothly with monofilament. It also means that you can tie knots more easily in monofilament fishing line, an important factor for new anglers to think about when choosing their line. Monofilament works well on spinning reels and baitcasting reels, while fluorocarbon on spinning reels is a poor fit.
Strength and Stretch
Fluorocarbon line has superior strength and resistance to abrasion when you compare it to monofilament. You can pull a large bass, for example, out of heavy vegetation like lily pads with fluorocarbon line, whereas monofilament may snap under the same amount of pressure. Monofilament absorbs water, while fluorocarbon does not; this causes monofilament to stretch more. A bite by a fish on monofilament will not feel the same as one on fluorocarbon line; an angler will feel the fish biting on the latter more acutely than on monofilament.
Monofilament fishing line will break down much quicker due to its exposure to water, chemicals and sunlight. Fluorocarbon line, though, is a much denser fishing line, making it hold up longer against these elements. Monofilament line is lighter and does not sink as quickly as the denser fluorocarbon line. Experienced anglers who want to fish their lures in deeper scenarios often choose fluorocarbon line for this reason.
Monofilament line is less costly than fluorocarbon, an aspect of this line that adds to its popularity. For example, as of June 2010, 1,700 yards of one type of monofilament that comes in 8-lb. test sells for about $8, while just 200 yards of 8-lb. test fluorocarbon sold by the same company costs almost $18. What anglers do need to consider is that their fluorocarbon line, though more expensive, can last much longer than monofilament.
John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.