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FlyPoppy

Fluorocarbon vs Regular tippet and leader

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Yes seaguar has a very large following in salmon circles for a line that holds up over rocks and has that inherent stiffness to turn over tubes and weighty flies. Plenty of people still use maxima traditional mono but if you want to go the fluro route seaguar is preferred by many.

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got to test a few fluoro's over the last few years, the worst i tried was the rio fluoro, seems more brittle, and will break well shy of class plus it does not hold up so well around rocks plus very little stretch, around the mid area and very well priced i found was 'sight free g3', a good mix of abrasion resistance and toughness, now at the very top for me is frogs hair fluoro, probably one of the more expensive but this stuff is by far a way better fluoro, tests very close to class, has some in built stretch and handles rocks and brutal stuff nicely. Would love to test the seaguar vs frogs hair.

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I'm with PJ, I use mostly Seagaur and have for years in the salt. For tippet, I use the same stuff I use for conventional fishing, lures or bait. 20# flouro in clear water and up to 30# in tannicy or murky water. For the murky stuff Iwould probably just use mono but since I usually have flouro on hand I use it

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I don't even use "tippet" at all. I go to Wal-Mart and buy Berkley Vanish Fluoro fishing line in 2, 4, 6, and 10 lb test for about $5 for 110 yards instead of $10-$15 for 30 yards of "tippet" material and just load it onto the tippet spools i already have. Tippet, in my humble opinion, is a rip off. Kind of like some other fly tying/fly fishing materials and equipment.

 

Now, before all you guides/shop owners/writers get all pissy, I have to do this, my family's finanicial status depends on me cutting corners where I can. I also buy $10 fly lines and non-labeled equipment (rods, reels, tools, etc.) on ebay for as cheap as I can find them.

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I agree completely, most 'tippet' material can be bought under a different label in much larger amounts and cheaper prices. Here in the UK bait fishes have a host of lines available in fine diameters, various b/s and different stretch. But you won't find them in the fly shops!?

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As a guide who works in the salt I use a quite a bit of fluorocarbon leader material, preferring Seaguar or Ande (the Ande is very good and you get more per spool than with Seaguar so it's probably the better value...). When I need much heavier tippet material (60lb on up) then the Seaguar is better than anything I've found. I don't use Fluoro for it's claimed transparency in water - I use it because it's a bit more abrasion resistant when used for shock tippets... A word of caution here... there's lots of fishing line that's labeled as "fluorocarbon, or son of fluorocarbon, or possibly fluorocarbon" (pretty quickly you get the idea that this is just marketing stuff - which sounds better than outright lying...).

 

Now for some reality.... I avoid fluorocarbon marketed for fly fishing like the plague (but still see and handle quite a bit of high end name brand stuff that my anglers bring). In general the stuff marketed for fly fishing is smaller diameter and generally actually poorer quality than the two brands I've already named... In fact I generally figure that if stuff labeled for fly fishing is designated as "80lb" it's the equivalent of the Seaguar 60lb in actual diameter and real world (tarpon are very hard on leaders...) performance...

 

A few words of caution are in order here.... One thing is certain, fluoro has different knot characteristics than mono so you have to be careful when splicing the two together and careful as well about any terminal knots since the stuff is noticeably stiffer than ordinary mono.....

 

I use fluoro in two ways -the most common is as a bite tippet for fly leaders and as plain leader material when used with spin or plug casting gear. I always do my best not to use any more of it than is necessary (for general applications as a leader for conventional gear I'm only using a two to three foot section spliced to a three foot doubled line). For fly applications as shock tippet (or bite tippet) I keep it to the regulation 12" (including knots to be in compliance with IGFA record rules). Here's the second (and much more common usage)I have for fluoro in fly leaders -that's as a "poor boy" leader with a length of fluoro usually about four feet long looped to a mono butt section that's permanently attached to the fly line (those leader butts break down to four feet of 40lb for an 8 or 9wt line, and get progressively heavier and longer as you go to larger line sizes.... five feet of 50lb for a 10wt... six feet of 60lb for an 11 or 12wt.... The poor boy is nothing but straight leader material with no shock tippet at all, usually 20lb fluoro, occasionally 30lb... This is a very general system for almost anything that swims when you either don't want to use a shock tippet (or can't, popping bugs don't perform well with shock tippets at all....). The combination of a heavy mono butt section, and quick change (loop to loop) lighter straight fluoro tippet has great utility, and we catch many, many fish with it each day (including small tarpon up to about 20lbs). You have to cut it back after almost every fish since you're not using a bite (or shock) tippet but it's really effective.

 

Lastly fluro has one other characteristic that makes it very desirable as tippet for the salt... Unlike mono, fluoro will quickly lose any kinks or curls when stretched tight just before use. As a result most that I know long ago quit using any fly leader stretchers at all.... Here's a pic of a pair of tarpon leaders just before they're cut into individual tarpon leaders and stretched out... The breaking strenth is Mason hard mono the shock tippet is 80lb fluoro and these leaders are meant for the biggest tarpon around....

 

Tight lines

Bob LeMay

(954)435-5666

post-30940-0-09741300-1383392059_thumb.jpg

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Thankyou for the info Captain Bob! One other thing i might just mention if you are using a GT or Albright knot to attach your short section of shock or IGFA class to the butt section then fully test your knots! Give them some short sharp tugs or even better is if you have a scale you can use to see how close to class you can get. I did learn the hard way as in the salt for large beast fish there is absolutely no effing around, you are going to need the most pressure u can without popping. Be sure that if you get a single wind knot in your class section you are screwed and should change it straight away. Good info on fluoro too, i might have to give a few other brands a try. One more thing and i do not know if it is just me but if say an albright has been used over time say months the knot will weaken significantly, we found freshly tied was always testing closer to class.

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I think that's just the action of UV rays on the mono portion of line. I've not noticed problems with leader knots tied up for months when Rods are left set up inside a rod bag. But a rod in a car, or in a place the sun gets it the line can be crap down to a couple of rotations on the reel (spinning set Ups)after just a day or so

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I don't fish salt water but from what Capt Bob has said, I think those of us the fly fish for trout have additional criteria for what we want out of fluorocarbon.

 

Abrasion resistance, and low visibility are important, but equally important for me is suppleness. Suppleness, or that ability to allow a drag free drift for a longer period, allows the angler to fool more fish. So when I examine fluorocarbon tippet material I take the same "X' size of two competing brands, pull out the same lengths from each spool and compare them for stiffness. I'll give up a few ounces differences in breaking strength and take the more supple tippet material.

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Honestly i have never really noticed a diffrence unless the water is really clear and at that point i am fishing size 22 and 6x tippet

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The marketing hype that fluoro is "invisible" in the water is BS. Put on a mask and snorkel, put your ass in the water, and see for yourself. Yes it might have a "refraction index" close to water, or whatever crap they want to say, but visibility is due to a whole host of factors in addition to what the item is made of.

 

I have used, and will continue to use flouro tippet when I feel like it. I use 30 lb leader spools from Cabela's for bite tippet on toothy stuff. I don't buy it from the fly shop, but from the "regular" fishing section. It's cheaper. Why? We (fly fishermen) are huge suckers. Some of us are honestly egotistical enough to feel special just by paying extra money for the same thing.

 

I've used as small as 4lb fluoro tippets when I was experimenting with the stuff. It works fine, and I found a regular 5-turn simple clinch knot to be the strongest knot to the fly and tippet ring. Nothing wrong with fluoro as a tippet, just as there is nothing wrong with Trilene XL for tippet.

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There are two issues in the underwater visibility of mono vs fluorocarbon. One is refractive index and fluorocarbon is much closer to water. Refractive index measure the bending of light as it travels THROUGH the material. So fluorocarbon is LESS visible IN water since there is very little disturbance of the light that is passing through the fluorocarbon to your eyes. Refractive index is visual DENSITY so fluorocarbon will be closer to the visual density of water.

 

The second is reflection which is light that bounces back from the material. I am not sure which material reflects more light. Both of these material are extruded and the extrusion process leaves a sheen of due to a thin layer of sheen on both materials.

 

Seeing is believing.

 

Here is a visual test of 0.16 mm nylon monofilament on the right and 0.18 mm fluorocarbon on the left. The fluorocarbon is THICKER than the mono.

 

You decide which on is more or less visible. You decide whether the visibility is due to the difference in reflection or refraction. Are you seeing the mono because of sheen from the surface or because it bends the light from behind it differently that pure water, and are you are seeing a difference in DENSITY of the mono vs the fluorocarbon?

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Silver Creek-

 

I think you have a typo in your text about "right and Right" Which one is on the left ... the fluorocarbon?

 

But thanks for the video, its good to see the tippet underwater. The FC is on the left, and its definitely less visible to my eyes.

 

Bill

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Thanks for the correction. Yes, the nylon monofilament is on the right and the fluorocarbon on the left.

 

The third element of visibility is % absorption of light. If one material blocked more light than the other it would look consistently darker. The nylon looks darker and lighter as the position of the monofilament changes relative to the camera lens. This is evidence that the visibility is due to the refractive index and not absorption.

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The drennan mono used in the link is very popular. It certainly doesn't stop folk catching. Another thing to consider is the suppleness of mono vs flurocarbon. For wet flies, I mean all subsurface flies, I want a direct low stretch link from fly line to fly. Fluro provides this better than mono for equal dia.

For dry flies I prefer a mono that is supple and will allow some natural movement. Stroft being my current favourite.

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