I use fluorocarbon line for a large majority of my fishing applications these days. Fluorocarbon has many advantages over braided line for finesse fishing techniques: it is incredibly strong, nearly invisible in the water, has a great deal of stretch, and sinks when it lays on the water.
For all of these benefits though, it can take some practice to get used to fishing with fluorocarbon. The stretch can be counterproductive if the line is wound onto the spool too tightly, and given the stretchy, springy nature of the line, it requires more attention to line maintenance than you may otherwise be used to.
I prefer a 2000 sized reel. The Daiwa 2004 finesse spools are the perfect spool size for fishing fluorocarbon for light line finesse applications. I’ve used 1000 sized reels before, but found that line management on these small spools is even more critical.
One of the main reasons that Daiwa reels function so well is because they come equipped with the large diameter ABS (Anti Backlash System) Spool. The ABS spool is a large diameter, reverse tapered spool that allows the line to be wound on with less line memory and without excessive loops and loose line, which in turn minimises line tangles and “birds nests”. On the cast, the line unravels off the spool in large even loops.
Line comes off other more traditional spools that tend to have a smaller diameter, unevenly with a smaller loop and more line memory. This can cause issues with wind knots, and also reduce casting distance.
Spooling line onto your reel: The video below from Daiwa Australia provides a detailed demonstration of how to spool your reel with fluorocarbon line (Plus a bonus segment on how to spool your reel with Braided lines). But here are the basics.
- Fix the line directly to the spool using a uni knot and trim off the tag end of your knot
- Wind on the line using your fingers to apply minimal tension to the line. It’s important that the line goes onto the spool with some tension to prevent loose loops, but not too much tension that the line becomes overly stretched. This can place undue pressure on the spool, but also consider that if you completely fill the spool under tension your reel may become over-spooled after the first couple of casts, when the line is not wound back under the same amount of tension.
- Fill the spool with line so that it sits a couple of millimetres below the lip of the spool. Over spooling can cause line to fall from the spool on the cast causing tangles
Line Management: Fluorocarbon line requires a bit more line management to maintain its integrity and to prevent tangles.
- After your cast, it is the first couple of loops of slack line that get wound onto the spool that are the biggest culprits for causing tangles. If you grab the line between the fingers of your hand holding the fishing rod for the first couple of turns of the reel handle, you eliminate this slack line. Remember the lighter your line, the more important that it is to do this.
- If you notice a loose loop on your spool, it’s often safer to open the bail arm and pull the line off the reel by hand until you clear the loose line. Wind the line back onto the spool under tension. If you take the lazy approach and simply cast the line, you’re more than likely going to end up in a mess.
- After using the line for a while, you may notice that it retains some line memory on casting. This might reduce casting distance and increase tangles. It certainly doesn’t hurt to cast out your line as you idle along slowly in your boat, allowing the majority of the line to come off the spool. Winding the line back under tension should return everything back to normal.
- Fishing fluorocarbon lines around structure can cause a great deal of abrasion at the terminal end of the line. I check the last meter or so of my line regularly during an outing for nicks and cuts on the line. They are easy to feel if you run the line through your fingers, and you can see them if you hold the line up to the light. I often cut off the last meter of line and re-tie my lure. It’s a small inconvenience to ensure you maximise your chances of catching that fish of a lifetime.
Fishing with fluorocarbon line requires a bit more effort initially, but after a while it becomes second nature, and soon enough you start to reap rewards from the benefits that it has to offer.
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