I always learn something new when I spend time with a Denver fishing guide from Minturn Anglers. I was in my favorite fishing fly shop in Denver, Minturn Anglers in Parker, checking out their selection of fishing line, when Scott happened to wander by. Scott and I have spent many pleasurable hours exploring Colorado Front Range waters, and I always learn from him. This brief encounter was no different, as I finally picked up the differences between fluorocarbon and monofilament line.
Realizing the Differences
The higher cost of the newer fluorocarbon line does not automatically mean it is better than traditional nylon monofilament line. There are advantages to both kinds, depending on how they are being used. Scott pointed out some important differences:
- Transparency: Fluorocarbon line is much more transparent than monofilament line, making it harder for fish to see in the water.
- Strength: Fluorocarbon line is more resistant to abrasion, important when nymphing or fishing around large objects or structures. Overall, a fluorocarbon line will be resistant to temperature, UV rays and sunlight, and rain and humidity, and will even resist water absorption throughout the fishing day. Depending on the manufacturer, a fluorocarbon line will have the same breaking strength as a thicker monofilament line.
- Density: Fluorocarbon line is heavier than water and will sink. This is useful when you want to work the river bottom with nymphs or streamers. On the other hand, monofilament line will float and be suspended in the water, especially useful when working small dries.
- Knot Capability: Fluorocarbon line is stiff and is often difficult to form into knots that will not slip or break. Monofilament line is easier to work with, and is typically used to tie leaders for larger fish that need thicker line.
- Stretch: Monofilament line tends to stretch, which is useful in dealing with the shock of taking in a fish. On the other hand, many anglers prefer working with fluorocarbon, as its reduced stretch allows a more sensitive sensing of fish curious about the fly.
The Bottom Line
While fluorocarbon line seems to hold the advantage of monofilament line, it all comes down to the type of fishing I want to do. Cost is not always the main consideration. Scott also reminded me to be careful in my purchases, as not all manufacturers produce line of equal quality. He showed me a few that have proven successful for him.