Great question(s). There is a big difference between 100% fluorocarbon line and leader, and here is why. Even though they are both the same breaking strength and the diameter is the same, the process of how the fluorocarbon and its exterior is treated is very different. The leader is treated with a much more abrasion-resistant chemical process. The leader is harder and tougher to scrape and damage on rocks, oysters, etc. The leader will be less pliable and stiffer. In contrast, the fluorocarbon line is much softer and will scrape, cut and damage easier.
The fluorocarbon line is softer and limper so it can be put on reels and cast easier. Using a fluorocarbon leader gives you an advantage since light goes through fluorocarbon fishing line the same way it goes through water because the refractive index is the same for both. Fish are often “line-shy,” particularly in clear water, and invisible line helps overcome this problem. In clear water you are more likely to get bites if you are using fluorocarbon line. But if the water is dirty, muddy and the visibility is poor, you can switch over to a monofilament saltwater leader (not regular monofilament).
Here are a few more fluorocarbon tips: Fluorocarbon line sinks in water so it helps get your bait down more quickly. It's great for bottom-bumping a jig, or if you need to get your suspended bait a little deeper. On the opposite end of that fluorocarbon is a dense line that sinks, which is not optimal for topwater baits since it will pull the bait down and make it harder to fish. When fishing top-water, use a shorter piece of fluorocarbon so it does not have that effect. Also, fluorocarbon does not stretch much, so it makes your hook set more effectively, and you will feel your bait and lures better.
Anglers often ask me why they can't jump to a larger sized fluorocarbon if it is all invisible to the fish. The answer is that the larger fluorocarbon has a larger diameter. For example, the 20-lb. fluorocarbon has a diameter of 0.41 mm, and 80-lb. fluorocarbon has a diameter of 0.86 mm. That is a big difference in diameter, and when it’s in the water, the larger surface area of the 80-lb. fluorocarbon is much easier for fish to detect through their lateral line when the tide is rolling by it. It will move faster out of the strike zone and make more noise when the water hits it. One other useful fact about fluorocarbon is that when it gets a scrape or a nick it becomes more visible in that area of the scrape or nick. So either tie on a new leader or trim that piece out.
If you want to test how good fluorocarbon is, next time you are fishing in very clear water, have your friend use a regular saltwater leader and you use a fluorocarbon leader. Do this a few times and record the results. The best fluorocarbon leader is made by Ohero. I have been saying this for five years. It also is a great price. You can get it at most tackle shops. If they don't have Ohero, you should ask them to carry it. It is that good!!
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Captain David M Rieumont
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