Is Fluorocarbon Leader Really Stronger Than Main Line? [Test Results]
By: Luke Simonds on October 26, 2017
Wait until you see the results of this fluorocarbon fishing line strength test…
It shocked everyone on the team here at Salt Strong.
With the rising popularity of fluorocarbon lines, we’ve had numerous Salt Strong Fishing Tribe members have asked about the difference between the material in a fluorocarbon leader line compared to a fluorocarbon line designed to be in the reel’s spool.
This question is coming up because there is a large price difference between the two.
In fact, it is very common for fluorocarbon leader line to be 5+ times more than fluorocarbon main line when measured on a price-per-yard basis.
Fluorocarbon Leader Price
See what I mean above?
As shown in the screenshot above, the price per yard of this Red Label Fluorocarbon Leader line is $.49 cents per yard.
This is much higher than the cost of the same brand that is sold as main line…
Fluorocarbon Main Line Price
The cost of this Fluorocarbon Main Line in this offer is just $0.07 per yard.
This is a special offer, but the normal cost per yard of this same line is typically just ~10 cents per yard.
So what is the justification for such a big (500%) price difference when both lines are both 100% fluorocarbon line?
Is some fluorocarbon better than others?
These are the two primary questions that I set out to answer.
Why Is Fluorocarbon Leader More Expensive?
After some research, it seems like the most common answer to the reason for the increased price of fluorocarbon leader is due to it being more resistant to abrasion.
And the importance of that makes complete sense because the leader line gets exposed to rough surfaces so much more than the mainline due to it being in contact with a fish’s mouth as well as any sort of structure that a fighting fish will seek out for protection.
So a line that’s more abrasion resistant would give anglers a huge boost, which makes paying a higher premium a valid choice.
But that led me to this next question…
The big elephant in the fluorocarbon fishing line room…
Is Fluorocarbon Leader Extra-Abrasion Resistant?
If you go with the chatter in online forums, the answer to this seems to be an absolute Yes.
I have personally not seen any documentation on exactly how much stronger fluorocarbon leader line actually is (if any at all).
So I decided to build a line testing tool that would allow me to actually test the abrasion resistance of lines against one another so that I could know for sure.
Here’s what the line testing platform looks like:
This line testing assembly allows for an accurate abrasion test because it isolates the two lines on the same surface (sandpaper) with same tension (weights of equal magnitude).
And although the oscillation is controlled by hand (vs. machine), any inconsistencies of oscillation speed will not interfere with the overall results because any imperfect motions will impact both lines equally at the same exact time.
Here are the steps I took for each fluoro line test:
- Tie each line to a screw at the top of the line tester
- Tie each line to a weight with the same length of line so that their swing rates are equal
- Place each line over the sandpaper slowly so that it doesn’t cause any wear on the lines
- Oscillate the sandpaper pole back and forth until the lines break
- Document which line broke first (aka. which line was the weakest)
- Document how many more oscillations the winning line could take
And the final step was, of course, to report the findings to you in the video below.
Note: To make sure that all was recorded properly, we filmed the entire test so that we could spot any anomalies.
The Fluorocarbon Leader vs. Fluorocarbon Main Line Test
Since this seems to have been a heavily discussed topic, we thought it would be helpful to share the video of the experiment with you so that you could see exactly how it was performed.
Here’s a video that shows the experiment along with the final conclusion that was quite the surprise:
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This first line test taught me to be cautiously optimistic about what I read in online forums.
Because the major theme that seemed to be the dominant answer to why fluorocarbon leaders are more expensive (or better) than fluorocarbon main line was because it’s more abrasion-resistant.
But given the results of this test, there doesn’t appear to be true for all lines.
Given that just two lines were analyzed in this test, we, of course, can’t draw any conclusions about the abrasion-resistant capabilities of other fluorocarbon leaders…
All we can conclude right now is that not all fluorocarbon leaders are stronger than their equivalent main lines.
More lines will need to be evaluated, so I’ll be sure to perform more tests.
And if there is interest generated from this post, I’ll be happy to film the future tests so that I can show the results as they come in.
Leave a comment below with any line brands that you’d like me to try next if you would like to see more tests like this…
I plan to perform many more tests so that we can know which ones truly are the best at withstanding the rough mouths of our favorite fish for when we hook up to a fish of a lifetime.
And if you have ideas for how we can improve this analysis, please do not hesitate to let me know.
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