Fishing tackle and related product refinements usually occur slowly over time. For example, technology has gradually over the years made fishing rods lighter, more sensitive and better able to telegraph bites. The rods we have available today are vastly improved over those produced a couple decades ago, but the process happened so slowly that the improvements aren’t obvious.
Enter fluorocarbon lines stage left. Fluorocarbon is so vastly different from monofilament line, its light years ahead in terms of the performance it provides compared to more traditional line types. Some anglers are so excited about fluorocarbon lines they are switching and using them as their main line. I personally feel that fluorocarbon shines best as a leader material, not as a primary fishing line. The properties of fluorocarbon that make it unique also make it ideal for a wide variety of leader applications. Toughness and near complete invisibility in the water are the properties of fluorocarbon that make this line my choice for a wealth of walleye fishing presentations.
Fluorocarbon is an exceptional product for tying crawler harnesses, rigging hooks for slip sinker fishing, adding leaders to vertical jigging rods and for leaders used in combination with diving planers. In fact, the more I fish with fluorocarbon, the more I wonder how I ever lived without it. For more than 25 years I’ve tied my own crawler harness for walleye fishing. I’ve used a number of line types to tie spinners including monofilament, super lines and now I’m exclusively using fluorocarbon line for producing these deadly walleye lures.
The break strength of fluorocarbon I use surprises many anglers. Tradition suggests that spinner rigs are tied on 10 or 12 pound test. I personally prefer to use 15 or 17 pound test for crawler harnesses. Using slightly heavier line makes the harnesses more durable and the extra diameter doesn’t influence on the presentation. Since fluorocarbon is virtually invisible in the water, using a larger size makes sense and helps me get the most from my custom tied crawler rigs.
Fluorocarbon is also my top choice for slip sinker rigging. The leader I’m using when slip sinker fishing can terminate into a single hook, a two hook rig or sometimes into a floating jig hook, but fluorocarbon is always the leader material that performs best. Because slip sinker rigging is a more finesse presentation and the action of the live bait used becomes critical to success, I favor thinner diameter and more flexible six or eight pound test fluorocarbon line for this presentation.
Another use for fluorocarbon line that’s less obvious is when vertical jigging in rivers. For my main line I favor fused Microdyneema lines for the exceptionally thin diameter and low stretch. This makes it easier to maintain a perfect vertical presentation, detect subtle bites and also to avoid snags. While fused lines excel in this department, their knot strength isn’t as exceptional as other lines. To get the best of both worlds, when I’m vertical jigging I use eight pound test fused line on my reel and add a No. 12 barrel swivel at the terminal end. To this I add about 18 inches of six pound test fluorocarbon line. The advantage here is the fluorocarbon is invisible to fish, super tough and able to withstand abrasion and the knot strength is exceptional. Also, should the jig get snagged and need to be broken off, I can quickly and easily tie on a new jig using fluorocarbon. Fused line is just a little harder to work with.
Yet another fishing application for fluorocarbon line involves the use of diving planers. Mini disks, floating/diving devices and even the larger divers more commonly used for salmon fishing are all useful tools for deploying spoons, plugs and even crawler harnesses to the depths walleye frequent. Fluorocarbon line is the ideal choice for fashioning the leaders required when fishing diving planers. A six foot leader of fluorocarbon attaches to the diver and then to a snap or swivel at the terminal end. To this snap or swivel a spoon or crankbait is added.
Again fluorocarbon leader material is the best choice because it is exceptionally strong, abrasion resistant and hard for fish to see. Berkley and Stren both produces fluorocarbon lines ideal for the fishing applications outlined above. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon Professional Grade provides the ultimate in invisibility, strength and manageability. This leader material is ideal for tying crawler harnesses and also for fishing with diving planers. Berkley Vanish is a softer and thinner fluorocarbon ideal for making finesse leaders used in slip sinker rigging and also leaders used in vertical jigging. Stren’s Fluorocarbon leader material is designed to blend perfectly with most water colors. This fluorocarbon choice is best used in tying crawler harnesses and other fishing chores that require an extra tough leader material. These lines are sold in filler spools and also smaller and less expensive leader spools. Fluorocarbon leader material is so exceptional in performance, I can’t imagine not taking advantage of this fishing edge. In short, anytime I need a leader for walleye fishing, fluorocarbon is the obvious choice.