Fluorocarbon Leaders: Is Fluoro Really The Best Choice?

If you’re fishing using monofilament or braid as your main fishing line, you might be wondering if fluorocarbon is the best leader choice. Maybe you’ve heard that you need to use fluorocarbon designed specifically for leaders. In this post, I’m going to be answering those questions and talking about when to use fluorocarbon as your leader.

The simple answer is that yes, you can use fluorocarbon line as your leader material and it’s what I use 90% of the time. I prefer using fluorocarbon as my leader material because it’s invisible in the water and is more abrasion-resistant compared to monofilament. Also, regular fluorocarbon is just as abrasion-resistant as fluorocarbon leaders and is much cheaper.

The only time you wouldn’t want to use fluorocarbon as your leader material is when you’re fishing with monofilament or when you’re targeting fish with soft mouths such as kokanee. Using a monofilament leader should give you better results for that. In most cases though, I’ll just buy a regular spool of 150 yards of fluorocarbon as use that as my leader.

Fluorocarbon Line vs Fluorocarbon Leader

One of the things I’ve always heard and wondered about was that you shouldn’t use regular fluorocarbon as your leader. There are special types of fluoro that are designed specifically for leaders and they’re much better to use.

I’ve always heard that the leader material is more abrasion resistant compared to standard fluoro. I assumed this way true because a 25-yard spool is more money than a 200-yard spool or standard fluorocarbon.

Since it costed more for the leader material I always just used standard fluoro and it’s done the job for me. I was pretty curious though if it actually made a difference or not. See for yourself.

As you can see, the more expensive fluorocarbon leader didn’t perform any better when it comes to abrasion-resistance. I’m sure there are some better options out there but I think this shows that you don’t need all this extra fancy stuff.

Just as I’ve been doing for years, I’m going to continue using standard fluorocarbon as my leader material. As long as you get something decent, it should do everything you need it to.

Fluorocarbon Leader vs Monofilament Leader

If you’re wondering whether you should be using monofilament or fluorocarbon as your leader it’ll really come down to what type of fishing you’re doing. Both can work but each of them has its pros and cons.

In 90% of the cases, I’ll use fluorocarbon as my leader material. The reason is that it’s abrasion-resistant, it’s invisible in the water, and it doesn’t have too much stretch. These things come in handy in most situations.

That being said, there are a few situations where I’ll use monofilament as my leader. If I’m fishing for something with a soft mouth (kokanee) then I’ll want to use mono because it has some stretch. If your line has no amount of give to it then it could rip the hook out of the mouth.

monofilament fishing line

Another time I’ll use a mono leader is when I’m using braid as my main fishing line and am fishing a shallow creek. Fluorocarbon sinks and a lot of the time these small creeks will have trees and branches on the bottom. Since mono floats, it’ll prevent me from getting snagged.

Any other time I’ll use fluorocarbon as my leader material. As I said before, I stick with normal fluorocarbon over the special leader material because I think they do the same thing (and standard fluoro is cheaper).

Why Use A Leader

It’s not absolutely necessary to use a leader but I put one on for most of my rigs. The only time I won’t use a leader is when I’m fishing a small creek with a monofilament line. I just tie my lure/hook directly onto the end.

For most of my rigs, I’ll use braid as my main fishing line, and then I’ll attach a leader. The reason is that braid is easy to see in the water and that’s why you need to use mono or fluoro. Both of them are much harder for the fish to see.

This is the main reason you’d want to use a leader. Some fish don’t really care what line you’re using but others do. You want to use as light of a line as you can get away with.

Another reason you’d want to use a leader is that it’ll protect your main fishing line. It’s always a good idea to use high quality mainline and you’re not going to want to keep cutting it. Using a leader will save your mainline and your wallet.

A final reason to use a leader is to get the right presentation in the water. If you want your bait/lure to be suspended above the ground then you won’t want to use fluoro. Mono floats and will be much better. If you want to get your bait down as keep as possible then you’ll want to use fluoro.

Best Fluorocarbon For Your Leader

When it comes to what fluorocarbon line you should be using there really isn’t one right answer. There are a bunch of solid options out there but what I will say is that you shouldn’t use leader-specific fluorocarbon or expensive fluorocarbon.

I talked about it before but there really isn’t any benefit to using leader-specific fluorocarbon. The abrasion-resistance isn’t any better and the cost is way higher. You could use it if you want but I’d rather keep my cash.

You also don’t want to use expensive fluorocarbon that’s made for mainline use. Certain types of fluoro have a lot of memory and some of them don’t. The lines that don’t are normally more expensive and are what you should use as your main fishing line. There’s no need to use this as your leader.

The fluorocarbon that I normally use is Seaguar Red Label. It’s somewhere in the middle in terms of price and it’s always done the job for me. One thing I’ll mention is that you wouldn’t want to use it as your main fishing line. It has too much memory in it and it won’t perform that well. This is completely fine for your leader though.

I’ve used other types of fluoro and they’ve performed well too. I just use Red Label because I heard good things about it and bought a bunch in bulk for a great price. It’s performed just as well as anything else I’ve used.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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