I was probably one of the last to ever give flourocarbon a try...
I started using it last summer as an expirment on some holed up hatchery summer-runs and low and behold, I felt I started hooking an extra fish or two and did not feel I lost a fish due to the flourocarbon (Umqua Deciever).
Then I started using the Seaguar Grand Max and had phenomenal luck with it on chums, coho and steelhead. It was great as it was softer then Maxima but seemed just as strong and had nearly identical abrasion resistence.
And now I have been playing with the Umpua Super Flouro which I have been to be equal to Grand Max...I like the Super Flouro because I think it may have a tad more abrasion resistence.
And lately, it is rare to find me not fishing with Grand Max or Super Flouro...I never would of thought I would be fishing flourocarbon 80% or so of the time.
Been using it for quite awhile now (six or eight years) and LOVE it. Generation 1 was good, Generation 2 is great, BUT expensive. Get Generation 2 - the only brand I can get locally is Rio Fluoroflex Plus. (Not Rio Fluoroflex - that is Gen. 1). Use it for tippets only, and it's not that much additional cost.
Do NOT attempt to use Berkley VANISH line - it is cheap, and a disaster - lousy knot strength, especially in the cold.
To tie knots with fluoro, wet 'em liberally before pulling tight, and pull tight with a JERK! That is required, as it generates a lot of damaging friction when tightening.
Though the heading on your post referred to fluorocarbon, the post did not specifically limit discussion to that material. There is a new mono from Germany called Stroft that has incredible breaking strength to diameter numbers. How about a 2X material that tests at 11 lb.? Then there's a 0X that tests over 16 lb. It comes in a clear version, call GTM, and one with a slight brownish tint, called ABR. The ABR has a slightly higher abrasion resistance but both are extremely good in that regard. Knot strength is outstanding and you can use all the standard knots. It also absorbs far less water than almost any other mono. I like it enough that I rarely use anything else anymore in fresh or salt water.
I'm in the process of tieing all fluoocarbon leaders
(butt section is still Maxima due to the extra stiffness) and they seem to be working well. Rather than 'leader material' the leaders are all flo. main line, which is a whole lot less expensive.
Appear to be working well as they 'sink' far faster than the Maxima, good knot strengh, etc. Only place they've 'proven' so far to be less than satisfactory (it's the sinking thing) is with floating top water flys. Pulls them down far too easily.
I was taught that fish have a much harder time seeing a submerged tippet than a floating one, nylon or fluoro. Some people degrease their nylon tippet to get it to sink with dry flies. For the past three years, I have been using fluoro. tipet with dry flies with the belief tht it improves fishing. I have only occasionally noticed that it MAY be pulling down my tiny trout dry flies on a dead drift.
When swinging sttelhead flies, I don';t know if the tippet would have any effect on whether a fly floated or sank.
Agreed Nevada, I have never found steelhead to be leader shy, except. perhaps. in the dead of winter in low clear conditions. Thanks to all who answered. I must say that I am more than a litte intrigued by "Stroft" I have checked out the BC distributors. and I am going to pick some up.
Becasue of some of the above posts, I did a google search on Stroft. It is nylon, not fluorocarbon, and it is treated with a coat of PT something, something to improve abrasion. Compared to Rio nylon, Powerflex, it is not superstong!! Stroft rates its 3x at 9# plus breaking strength, Rio rates theirs at 8# plus. Rio uses the same coating for abrasion. Rio's 2X tests at 10# and their 0X tests at 15#
Rio's 3X Fluoroflex Plus also has an 8#plus strength.
The advantage of fluorocarbon is, primarily, its index of refraction, which is a LOT closer to that of water than any nylon or copolymer material. That is why it is claimed to be "invisible" to fish. Not really true, it is LESS visible to the fish.
It proved itself to me first time I used it, and I am firmly convinced that it is advantageous. Yeah, I know, steelies are not supposed to be "leader shy". But, when fishing for the individual fish that happens to be, which tippet do you want to have on? Me, I'll go with the "safe" choice every time. I need all the help I can get!
Does anyone have data re the breaking strength of any brand of late generation fluoro vs. Maxima for shock loading?
No doubt fluoro has rated strength when pulled slowly in a tension testing machine. My experience makes me believe that fluoro has less strength in "shock" loading, such as a steelhead grab/hammer/smash on the swing, than when pulled slowly in a test machine.
Maxima does not fail in shock, in my experience.
A testing program with dropped weights simulating shock loading vs. slow tension testing on standard tensile testing machines would be very interesting.
Is such data available? Does any manufacturere plan tests?
Any data would be welcome. Does anyone on this board have access to testing equipment?
To answer your question, I doubt if anyone has relative test equipment to do what you ask. Too many variables for meaningful data. Most testing is performed on standard "Stress/Strain type of equipment.
To do what you ask, you would have to "standardize" the variables. In other words, there is some "spring" in the rod, depending in what position you have it in relative to the hook? Same thing with amount of line out (and type) and what kind of stretch it has, and what is the time/stretch rate relationship? Also, how big is the fish, and what position does he "grab" it in?
And, role of water speed, current, your grip on the rod, as nauseum.
I know this doesn't answer your question - here is a simple answer.
1. Get the maxima and the fluoro you desire to test in the same strengths. Test them to assure that they are by standard means (try to avoid knots in any testing you do. If you don't know how, PM me.)
2. attach a specific length of the materials to be tested to a beam (no knots) and attach a bucket (again, no knots). Put some small amount of sand in, and weigh the bucket and sand bucket. Then drop from a measured height of a foot or two..
3. If neither line fails, add more sand and weigh. Keep doing this until failure occurs.
4. Repeat this test at least 10 times for each brand of leader mat'l. to assure repeatability and minimize experimental error.
(Now, you will have tested the specific lot of those specific materials... one problem in making generalizations is that lots do vary.)
If you wanted to test knot strengths, remember that different materials seem to have specific knot preferences, and that technique in tying them plays a VERY specific role.
PS - Me? I use fluoro TIPPETS because I believe that less visibility to the fish results in more hook-ups.
The advantages of Stroft strengthwise increase as the tippet size gets larger. At 0.40mm, which is 03X, Grand Max is 25.3lb. and Stroft is 30.86. AND a 25m spool of Stroft is only about $5.00US rather than the $14.00US you'll pay for Grand Max. I still use FC in some situations, but when swinging a fly the fish, regardless of whether it's a steelhead, Atlantic, or whatever, is not particularly leader shy. FC would seem to be more important for the Great Lakes guys who fish for steelhead with nymphs under an indicator.
I've used flouro a lot for big saltwater fish and summer steelhead. I was not as happy with other brands I'd tried until recently.
SW: I fish mostly 15# tippets for striped bass when visibility is an issue, for instance mid-day sight fishing with the two-hander. The stress testing comes from switching to the surfside or hitting a pack of nasty blues all of a sudden, the flouro was not intended to be subject to hell but it happens. The real test is landing a big 20 or even 30 pound striper in the turbulence of a chest-high surf. I know I should be using straight maxima 20#, but hey I was lazy and had a good fly on the line as the hook-up proved.
Anyway for these conditions I've settled on a brand called "sight-free" which is very expensive but it has excellent knot strength with a palomar knot (clinch knots suck IMHO) and blood knot to maxima ultragreen taper and butt sections (hand-tied). Incredibly it's survived some borderline bouts with gnarly bluefish teeth and is tough enough to grab the leader and pull a cow to my side in a waist deep current. This tippet materials performance wasn't just acceptable, it was notably superior than anything I'd used in the past. I'll be investing in more despite the ridiculous price.
I will be trying some 8 or 10# Sightfree tippet for summer steelhead on my upcoming trip to see how it performs there. I normally use 8# ultragreen maxima for summer runs, with 10# maxima on light summer tips. Will post results.
Whatever they've done to this stuff lately it sure is better than the flouro I tried when it first came out! It would be helpful if anyone in the know could post the actual differnces between 1st/2nd generation flouro, etc.
My main source of data is the "Fly Fish America Gear Guide", both the 2002 and 2003 "Annual Gear Guide"s had extensive articles on Fluorocarbon (among other subjects), and I always save these for future reference. As part of the comparisons, I will compare Gen.1 and Gen. 2 at the bottom.
Let's recap -
The advantages of fluorocarbon over nylon follow:
1. Refractive index - water = 1.33
- Nylon = 1.62
- Fluoro = 1.42
Therefore, fluoro is less visible to fish.
2. Fluorocarbon is substantially more abrasion resistant than nylon. (no numbers to quantify it, however.)
3. UV resistance - Nylon weakens with prolonged exposure to UV (e.g. sunlight). However, Fluoro is unaffected. In fact, this is a problem - always dispose of both materials in the proper manner, but fluoro is very persistent, and will virtually never decompose naturally!
4. In both dry and wet knot strength, fluorocarbon has highest knot strength of any leader material. However, care in tying knots is very important, as fluorocarbon is very susceptible to frictional damage when tying knots.
5. While monofilament nylon does absorb water and deteriorates in strength when in use, fluorocarbon has extremely low water absorption, and subsequently is virtually unaffected. x
6. Strength - Generation 1 had less breaking strength (pound test) for the same diameter than nylon. Gen. 2 numbers will be shown for comparison to your favorite line.
Cost - Compared to nylon, Gen. 1 is much more expensive, and Gen. 2 is even more expensive.
All I could find for Gen. 2 is that it is stronger (lb. test) than Gen. 1 for a given line diameter. It is also more expensive.
Here is the comparison of Gen. 1 and 2 for strength per diameter. This example uses Rio Fluoroflex (which is a Gen. 1 Fluoro) to Rio Fluoroflex Plus (which is Gen. 2)
I can therefore assume that the 10# flouroflex plus (which is the same diameter as the 8# ultragreen maxima I use today) will test out at a sufficient or comparable strength as the UG and be less visible (albeit 3-4x the price).
I've always done pretty well with the UG 8#, but there are those days when I feel the tippet might be too visible. Perhaps stepping down to an 8# Flouroflex plus for summer steelhead is the way to go. My problem with 6# UG was that large bucks would "saw off" the tippet often enough (and quite painfully I might add if you'd seen these fish!) so that 8# became the absolute minimum even for summer work. Even still when I feel the plink-plink during a headshake I get nervous.
Again, just use it for the tippet - that's where visibility is most important. Then cost is not as much of a factor. If I had to make the whole leader out of the darn stuff, I'd have a hard time justifying it.
Secondly, it is supposed to be MORE abrasion resistant than nylon. That way, it is supposedly "better" at being scraped by rocks, over oyster beds, and sharp teeth. At least that's what the
"book" said -
(But I don't believe everything I read, either!) :hehe:
Not to worry, I've never used it for anything more than tippet and probably never will. Truth is, even with a full season of guiding on the flats I barely go through two spools of sight-free. For personal use, unless generation 3 is refractive index = 1.335, I'll continue to limit even the tippet use to sight fishing on the flats and potentially some bony-low steelhead situations.
I happened to notice the strength of the new stuff because one of the areas on the Monomoy refuge is an easy crossover from the flats to the pounding atlantic surfline, and I often don't bother to change flies or tippets. One day after fishing the flats for a while I crossed over and hit the jackpot on big migrating bass some over 3ft long and feisty, and never replaced the tippet through the whole day. It was 15# sightfree flouro, it impressed me. Landing 38" spring pigs in 4' surf is a real test of tippet, but it passed the test.
I sure didn't need flouro out there in the slop - in fact I usually use 20# maxima for "tippet". I'd argue that the difference between even the best flouro and Maxima ultragreen is negligible except under the most extreme conditions - high sun, shallow water, spooly fish, etc.
But thanks for the explanation on genII fc, I feel informed on the topic.
If you'll reread my post you will notice that I said the 03X was almost 31lb. 03X is no more the same as 3X as a #6 hook is the same as a #6/0 hook. 0.40mm is indeed about 0.15". I, for one, have used the 0.40mm. Since most spey rods cannot exert anywhere near that much pressure on a fish it doesn't matter if it is as strong or even stronger than the line. Where it doesn't work particularly well is when one is dredging the bottom because hangups border as being almost impossible to break off. It is truly a terrific material. I had some of the same concerns about it and knew about it close to a year before I actually did finally get around to trying it. It didn't take long to make a believer out of me, and I now use it for probably 80-90% of all the fishing I do, fresh or salt. The old cliche "don't knock it until you've tried it" is clearly appropriate here.
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