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Indicator Fishing - Fluorocarbon vs Monofilament

"Why are you catching and I'm not?" Asked a friend as we were anchored side by side off the drop, sitting in around 17 ft of water.

The weather conditions were miserable but as fly fisherman, a little bit of rain never hurt anyone, if anything, it builds character (or so we tell ourselves). The water's surface temperature was sitting at 62 degrees and the Chironomid Pupa were thriving with trout feeding just above the weeds at around 14 ft. We've all been there, it's a great feeling.

With another fish on, the questions from my troubled friend starting flying.

"What colour Chironomid do you have on?"

Five minutes later. "What depth are you set at?"

The rain drops were pelting down on the hoods of our rain jackets. After a while, it starts to become a soothing sound in between moments of drowned indicators. After answering his questions and giving him a few flies, we began fishing again.

Bobber down! Mine not his. Patience was starting to wear thin. I could sense the annoyance.

"Fluoro or mono?" I asked.

"Umm, does it matter?" He replied.

Let's break this down...

Why do we use fluorocarbon instead of monofilament underneath an indicator? There's a list of reasons; sink rates, strength, stretch and visibility, to name a few. Now having said that, monofilament does plays an important role in fly fishing and there are countless situations where we use mono, however, under an indicator is not one of them.

Holding a spool of tippet material while fly fishing
Fluorocarbon spools, 3X down to 5X

Fluorocarbon vs. Monofilament

From our indicator to our fly, we want our leader set up to hang vertically in a straight line. We need to trust this is taking place. Why? Because if you measure the depth and your fly is not reaching the exact point you measured - what's the point?

Accuracy is one of the key parts of the strike indicator setup. We can't see what's underneath our indicator, but we need to trust it's set in the correct position and set at the correct depth.

Monofilament does not hang vertically in the water, instead it suspends in more of an arc shape. This arc is caused by lack of line density which affects the sink rate. This is especially true if you're using a manufactured tapered mono leader because with the taper comes different sink rates. Monofilament is permeable, it will absorb water over time and this will eventually weaken your line.

Fluorocarbon, comparatively, will hang vertically in the water column. It's denser than water, which means it sinks. It doesn't have that same tendency to coil. It lays smooth but yet remains tough. It has higher abrasion resistance with a limited amount of stretch. Fluorocarbon doesn't absorb any water, ensuring countless use and strength.

Switching from mono to fluoro, or ensuring you're using fluoro underneath an indicator, could mean the difference between a successful day on the water versus a day full of regret. When you go to re-stock your spools, take the guessing and the hesitation out of your indicator line and switch to using fluorocarbon today. FISH ON!


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