Home Fishing Line Diameter Fluorocarbon vs Monofilament Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon vs Monofilament Fishing Line

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Fluorocarbon and monofilament fishing lines have very similar diameters but the line thickness does vary depending on the type and brand of line. In this article, I will compare lines from the same company that make fluorocarbon and monofilament. Ande, Berkely Pro Speck, and Seagaur Blue Label are fluorocarbon leaders while Trilene, Berkely Vanish, and Seagaur Red Label are all fluorocarbon lines.

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There are other line property differences between fluoro and mono as well. A fluorocarbon line is more dense which means it sinks faster in the water while nylon monofilament sinks slowly or even floats if surface tension is holding it on the surface. The index of refraction of water is 1.33, fluorocarbon is 1.42, and monofilament is 1.55. Since the fluorocarbon line index of refraction is closer to water it will bend light less making it less visible underwater. Sometimes fishing lines are transparent underwater and sometimes the line can be easily seen. It depends on the color of the water and lighting conditions. The thickness of the line is a major factor in line visibility. A significantly thinner monofilament line will be less visible than a thick fluorocarbon line.

In general fluorocarbon line is slightly more abrasion-resistant but it is very similar to a monofilament line if the diameter of the line is exactly the same. A fluorocarbon line is made with fluorine and carbon atoms. This chemistry makes it so the line is UV resistant and does not absorb water. A monofilament line breaks down over time with light exposure and will weaken over time when it absorbs water. For this reason, the monofilament line is typically only good for one season and then should be replaced.

Ande Fluorocarbon vs Ande Monofilament Line Diameter

Pound
Line
Fluoro
(mm)
Mono
(mm)
10 .28 .30
12 .30 .35
15 .35 .40
20 .40 .45
25 .45 .50
30 .50 .55
40 .60 .60
50 .68 .71
60 .73 .79
80 1.00 .90
100 1.08 1.00
150 1.35 1.40

Ande makes both fluorocarbon leader line and monofilament mainline. That is what this chart is comparing. Which line has a smaller diameter depends on which pound test is being compared. These lines have a similar diameter at most line strengths. Ande line diameters are comparable to most other lines except at the 80-pound test strength where the diameter is larger than most other lines. I really like using Ande fishing lines and the lines have great overall performance.

ProSpec Fluorocarbon vs Berkley Trilene Big Game Mono

Pound
Line
Fluoro
(mm)
Mono
(mm)
20 .46 .46
25 .51 .48
30 .56 .56
40 .61 .61
50 .74 .71
60 .81 .80
80 .91 .89
100 1.04 .99
130 1.17 1.12

Both ProSpec and Berkley Trilene Big Game have large line diameters compared to other lines. ProSpec is one of the thickest fluorocarbon leaders on the market and has a larger diameter than Trilene Big Game at every pound test. This does mean that both lines will be abrasion-resistant and overall strong lines for their given weight rating. If you are looking for a thin transparent line for leader shy fish there are better options. These lines are both made by Berkley which makes them a good comparison for the different line types.

Trilene Fluorocarbon vs Berkley Trilene XL Monofilament

Pound
Line
Fluoro
(mm)
Mono
(mm)
4 .20 .20
6 .23 .23
8 .25 .25
10 .28 .28
12 .33 .33
14 .36 .36
17 .38 .38
20 .41 .41

Berkley Trilene makes both fluoro and mono lines and these have the same line diameters. This shows how similar the two-line types can be even though they are made with different materials. These lines will only vary slightly in their properties and performance. I like using Trilene XL on spinning reels as it is soft and good for casting.

The fluorocarbon line is labeled as more abrasion resistant and likely a bit more transparent underwater. It will also sink faster which can be an advantage when bass fishing with light soft plastics. When fishing in water over 3 feet deep soft plastics sink too slowly which wastes time as you wait for them to get near the bottom. Adding weights makes the bait look less natural. The 100 percent Fluorcabon line will last longer cause it is much less susceptible to UV damage and the line will not absorb water.

Vanish Fluorocarbon vs Berkley Trilene XL Monofilament

Pound
Line
Fluoro
(mm)
Mono
(mm)
2 .15 .13
4 .18 .20
6 .23 .23
8 .25 .25
10 .28 .28
12 .30 .33
14 .33 .36
17 .38 .38
20 .41 .41

Berkley Vanish and Berkely Trilene XL are a good comparison as these are both used as thin light lines for spinning reels and baitcasting reels. Comparing the line thickness the Berkley Vanish has the same or smaller line diameter than the Berkely Trilene XL. This means the fluorocarbon line likely will be less visible to the fish. Berkley Vanish lines under 10 pounds are thin and flexible which is why I like using them when trout or crappie fishing. When bass fishing the Berkely Trilene XL is perfect in the 10-17 pound test.

Seaguar Blue Label Fluorocarbon vs Red Label Line Diameter

Pound
Line
Blue
(mm)
Red
(mm)
4 .15 .17
6 .18 .19
8 .20 .24
10 .24 .26
12 .29 .31
15 .33 .33
20 .41 .41

This chart compares Seaguar Blue Label which is a fluorocarbon leader line to Seaguar Red Label which is a fluorocarbon mainline. Surprisingly the leader line has a thinner or equal line diameter to the main line. These lines are both 100 percent fluorocarbon so the difference is how they are manufactured. Many people are starting to realize that using fluorocarbon mainline as the leader line is a way to save money and get a very similar line performance.

Fluorocarbon and Monofilament Line Stretch and Flexibility

The monofilament line has higher line stretch which helps prevent the line from breaking from sharp increases in force. This is why mono leaders are used for shock leaders when fishing with braid as the mainline. The monofilament line is also softer and more flexible which makes it better for casting. Fluorocarbon line has made improvements in this area and a fluorocarbon line is softer and more flexible than fluorocarbon leader material. For this reason, Seaguar Red Label, Berkely Vanish, and Trilene Fluorocarbon all work well as a mainline for test values under 20 pounds. This is because the line is thin and light enough to cast well.

Fluorocabon, Monofilament, and Braid Line Sensitivity

Fluorocarbon is slightly more sensitive than the monofilament line when it is under tension. These lines are about equal when not under tension. A braided line is static and is actually most sensitive when there is a load. However, it does not provide any feedback when the line is slack. A slackline providing feedback is actually important when letting lures and bait sink. A slight thump on the line can let the angler know he needs to bring tension to the line to set the hook. This helps the fish from getting hooked deep where it is hard to remove the hook.

IGFA Fishing Lines

Many times the world record fish are recorded based on the strength of the fishing line. This means the strength of the mainline and leader material. While some lines claim to be IGFA rated the line still needs to be independently tested after the catch is made. This is done by sending in 5 meters of the line closest to the hook to be tested. For this reason, it is important that a fishing line company not under-report the line strength. There is some flexibility in line strength because the classes are given in terms of kg. For example, the 10 kg class allows lines up to 22.04 pounds.

If you plan to fish for an IGFA record fish testing the line strength before going fishing is a good idea. The record will still count as a world record fish if it is still the largest fish caught in the next line class, assuming the other requirements are met as well.  The exact type of line does not matter and it can be braid, monofilament, or fluorocarbon. The weight of the fish does have to be 50 percent or heavier compared to the class of line. Most anglers just want the line not to break so they are happy if the line is stronger than the listed values.

You can catch a fish that weighs more than the pound strength of the line if the fish is not lifted out of the water. This is because fish are about the same density as water so can slowly bring a heavy fish to the surface even with a light line. For example, my nephew caught a 30-plus-pound nurse shark with a 10-pound fishing line.

Fluorocabon vs Monofilament Lifespan

A fluorocarbon line has a shelf life of 5-8 years, monofilament has a shelf life of 2-3 years, and a braided line has a self-life up to 10 years. When actually being used on fishing reels the line will not last nearly as long. Braid still lasts the longest, followed by fluorocarbon, and then monofilament. A braided line can last up to 5 years even when being used. Most monofilaments only last a few months of use and breakdown due to UV damage and water absorption.

None of these fishing lines are biodegradable. This means that anglers should do everything they can to make sure the line does not end up in the water. Everyone gets snagged on the bottom from time to time. However, knots are not as strong as the mainline so very little gear and tackle should ever be left in the water. I use to work on scuba diving boats and we always tried to remove any fishing line we found from the ocean.

Fluorocarbon and Monofilament Abrasion Resistance

There are some tests that show a fluorocarbon line is more abrasion resistant and some tests show a monofilament line is more abrasion-resistant. The truth is that each type of fishing line has slightly different properties.

The video above compares lines that are all 100 percent fluorocarbon and the lines still have very different abrasion resistance values. This could be due to a large number of factors. Even though the lines are the same pound test the diameters are slightly different. The manufacture date and storage conditions could also have been different.

Typically I do not have lines that break due to abrasion issues so this is not super important. I will make sure that I use a mono, fluoro, or steel leader rather that a braided line. If you have an issue with tarpon, snook, or billfish wearing through a certain type of line then it would be a good idea to change line type or increase the leader strength. If the line is rubbing on the bottom or rough objects then it is a good idea to remove that line as all types of fishing lines decreased in strength over time due to abrasion.

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