Steve Schullery

fluorocarbon versus nylon leader abrasion test

55 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I remember the very first article I read about fluorocarbon leader material in which it was introduced to the fly fishing world (either Fly Fisherman or Fly Rod & Reel magazine, I believe). As a corollary to the invisibility claim, the author pointed out that you could now get away with using the larger diameter material that was necessary to achieve the same breakage strength as mono. It was pointed out that a happy consequence of this was that your leader would then have greater abrasion resistance since, as everyone knows, abrasion resistance is largely dependent simply on the thickness of the material. It did not take the marketing folks long to hop on this and begin promoting the "legendary" abrasion resistance of fluorocarbon, as though the material were intrinsically more abrasion resistant than mono. Now, that misrepresentation has become conventional wisdom, on a par--for those who refuse to believe their eyes--with the underlying invisibility myth.

 

Here's an interesting test video, in which the tester claims to be shocked by the results. It's sort of long-winded, and I wish he had confirmed the diameters and provided more specifics about the Yo-Zuri material, but I think the main point is clear. The first test, using the smaller diameter fluoro proves nothing, of course, but the second test is compelling.

 

 

Edited by Steve Schullery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting video.

 

I think I might have to rethink my using Flouro as a bite tippet. I know the visibility thing is a major consideration when fishing Snook but the water in Sanibel is more off color more often than it is crystal clear. I know the test tried to match mono vs flouro  based on diameter and even went to 25 lb flouro. It seems a 20 pound mono leader might even have the a slightly better same abrasion factor than 30 pound flouro which is what I use for my bite tippet. It would seem with the water clarity being what it is the question then becomes can a fish see the 20 pound mono easier than 30 pound flouro and does that justify the added expense. I'm thinking maybe now it doesn't. The only question then becomes do most quality mono's have the same or close to same abrasion factors.

 

The one thing I do know is I have seen what a Snook does to my 30 pound bite tippet and I may just try going with 20 pound flouro and look at the abrasion and see how they compare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I'm not convinced about the visibility thing, either. I can see it in the water just as well as I can see mono; are my eyes lying to me? I think it's the same for fish. One of the first things I did after buying my first spools of fluoro was to snip off a few bits and drop them into my aquarium. The fish all came hustling over and repeatedly inhaled and spit out the pieces as they settled to the bottom, just as they would any other bogus potential food item they (and I) could see perfectly well.

 

I know there's an immense amount of anecdotal lore out there featuring people who have suddenly started catching fish after switching to fluoro. Can it possibly outweigh the anecdotal experiences of all the people who have suddenly started catching fish after not switching, I wonder? Or, people who were using fluoro and suddenly stopped catching fish.

 

The theory is that because fluoro's index of refraction is closer than mono's to the index of refraction of water, light passing from water into fluoro will notice less difference, and so will be refracted and reflected less and thus be less visible. The question I have is, are the indices close enough that the visibility difference is perceptible? I think not. I have seen the experiment in which a mixture of liquids having precisely the same refractive index as glass was very carefully prepared. When a glass beaker was immersed in it, the beaker DISAPPEARED, no ifs, ands, or buts. I don't recall the specifics, but we were told that the indices had to be matched very closely.

 

Edited by Steve Schullery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I would not call Ande mono "cheap" as this guy does.  I love Ande I think it is super strong and stiff.  I go back and forth in the salt with mono / fluoro and have yet to see a huge difference.  Except some of the truly cheap mono seems soft and does not lay out as well on a cast.

 

I have also heard from Tarpon dudes that the heavy fluoro bite leaders of 60lb fluoro runs better on the strip.

 

who knows

Edited by mightyrime

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The things we KNOW about fluorocarbon that differentiate it from nylon are that it’s denser, it isn’t adversely affected by UV light and it doesn’t absorb water. There are some advantages in that it sinks faster, doesn’t degrade with age, and doesn’t change strength and flexibility when in the water. Whether fish react to the sight of a leader attached to our flies is totally unknown, I think it’s vastly overstated. 

 

My opinion is that fish are not affected by the sight of a leader or we’d catch no fish, in trout fishing it’s very important to have a drag free float so an appropriate diameter leader is necessary to allow the fly to drift with the current. In saltwater you need appropriate flexibility to allow the fly freedom to exhibit the action that attracts the fish. I use fluorocarbon for it’s sink rate, nothing else and mono for floating trout flies.

jC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the big advantages of heavier flouro is that you can easily straighten it by hand....major advantage for a straight running fly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure when referring to Ande being cheap he was referring to the wrist spools. A wrist spool of Ande costs about $5 and a wrist spool of Seaguar cost about $24 in most fly shops. I have been using Trik-Fish mono for years and really like it, I think the diameter may be a little thinner than Ande but I am going to stay with that and see how it holds up on my next big Snook.

 

I will say this much, I have had Snook wear through a leader and when you hook a big one on the beach and the fight starts to get long you do start to get nervous and think about will the leader wear enough to break. I can just see me now when I hook a big Snook on the 20 lb.

 

Mightyrime I have heard that how a fly tracks will make all the difference as to whether a Tarpon will eat or not. I never heard about the type of leader making a difference but it makes sense. I have also heard that the knot on the fly has to be tied correctly to allow the fly to track properly but I don't remember what knot is used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, bonefishdick said:

Very interesting video.

 

I think I might have to rethink my using Flouro as a bite tippet. I know the visibility thing is a major consideration when fishing Snook but the water in Sanibel is more off color more often than it is crystal clear. I know the test tried to match mono vs flouro  based on diameter and even went to 25 lb flouro. It seems a 20 pound mono leader might even have the a slightly better same abrasion factor than 30 pound flouro which is what I use for my bite tippet. It would seem with the water clarity being what it is the question then becomes can a fish see the 20 pound mono easier than 30 pound flouro and does that justify the added expense. I'm thinking maybe now it doesn't. The only question then becomes do most quality mono's have the same or close to same abrasion factors.

 

The one thing I do know is I have seen what a Snook does to my 30 pound bite tippet and I may just try going with 20 pound flouro and look at the abrasion and see how they compare.

Dick,
 
You make some valid points I am not sure if any of us will have all the answers to all your questions.
 
Here is some food for thought. I personally would rather hook a lot of fish and lose some here and there compared to hooking less fish and landing all of them. I fish for the grab and the run, if after that point they come off...who cares? you can tell I don't fish for food :)
 
Another thought, in Mexico where I spend a month each year and fish hard for 8 hours a day, we have found that Seaguar (blue label) was at least twice as tough as any mono we ever tested on sailfish and Marlin. A Sailfish bill is as rough as a cob and as abrasive as anything that swims, Seagur will last at least 3 times longer
 
Carl Blackledge
47 mins ago, JonC said:

The things we KNOW about fluorocarbon that differentiate it from nylon are that it’s denser, it isn’t adversely affected by UV light and it doesn’t absorb water. There are some advantages in that it sinks faster, doesn’t degrade with age, and doesn’t change strength and flexibility when in the water. Whether fish react to the sight of a leader attached to our flies is totally unknown, I think it’s vastly overstated. 

 

My opinion is that fish are not affected by the sight of a leader or we’d catch no fish, in trout fishing it’s very important to have a drag free float so an appropriate diameter leader is necessary to allow the fly to drift with the current. In saltwater you need appropriate flexibility to allow the fly freedom to exhibit the action that attracts the fish. I use fluorocarbon for it’s sink rate, nothing else and mono for floating trout flies.

jC

Jon,

 

If you make the right cast, the fly will be the only thing the fish sees. Now after that being said, I have been in Florida and if you cast over the Tarpon or even raise your rod and they see you they will explode, I have  been on the green river and watched the trout swim backwards looking at my fly...I do think Fluorocarbon will catch more fish. also in the older days most of the Florida guides used "Andy" as the bite tippet, then when fluorocarbon came out they all switched to it and the catch ratio went way up. I am a believer of Fluorocarbon....my 2 cents

 

Carl Blackledge

Edited by Carl Blackledge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bonefishdick reminds me of something else that's always wondered me. It's kind of tangential, but since I started the thread, I guess it's OK.

 

Can someone explain to me exactly how it is that snook wear thru a leader? Their mouths are soft enough that you can lip them. I realize that the gill plates are very sharp, but that doesn't seem to be the problem. I'm not questioning the fact; I too have lost snook when I neglected to use a shock tippet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, bonefishdick said:

.... The only question then becomes do most quality mono's have the same or close to same abrasion factors.

 

I saw some tests several years ago that showed that original Stren was distinctly superior to a whole bunch of others, including all of the various newer Stren incarnations. There for a while, I was reloading my tippet spools from a stash of Stren spinning line spools, but then I got too lazy and resumed just buying the tippet spools like everyone else. Also, concerned about the mono's shelf life, although the chemist in me is convinced that if it's stored in the house, it lasts a long, long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say mono lasts a long time also, I keep mine in a dark dry cabinet and have no worries about deterioration.

Different brands of mono have very different properties, color, strength to diameter, suppleness, hardness, etc.

 

JC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Carl I am in the same boat as you I would rather hook more and loose some than the other way around. I also have invested in a few spools of 30 lb Seaguar flouro that I feel obligated to use. When I feel ballsy I will try some 20 lb mono and give it a go.

 

Bob, thanks, I will play with that knot, I usually use a perfection loop on my flies because it is so simple to do and does not require your teeth or anything else to cinch it up. It works fine for Stripers and Snook but I suspect it would not track a fly properly for Tarpon, the finished knot seems to have little French Left bend to it when completed.

 

Steve I agree, I lip Snook and it always feel smooth and yet a Striper will not do that to your leader, I think the Stripers seem to save that rasping for ours thumbs 

 

Jon I agree that I think Mono if stored properly is not as much of an issue as far as deterioration is concerned especially when we are in the 20 pound test and up categories. I do think it is more of an issue when Trout fishing and we get into 5, 6 or 7x material.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bonefishdick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.