Flouro vs Mono Leader for Salmon

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by gibbycu, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. I've broken off the 2 of the last 3 fish I've lost from the beach and it has got me thinking, albeit probably too much. Last year I used 12lb flouro and had no issues with leader breaking. This year, 12lb UG and two break offs. I'm only using UG because I couldn't find my flouro tippet and didn't feel like spending more money.

    My understanding is flouro is more abrasion resistant and is near "invisible" in the water, but costs more than UG. Is it a$$ backwards to be spending a bunch on rod, reel, fly line, gas, time, etc, and choosing UG over flouro?

    After this morning, I tied on some 20lb UG, but I'm wondering if my number of takes is going to diminish with a larger leader.
  2. I would guess you're thinking too much. Probably just a bit of bad luck. Maybe some knots that didn't seat properly or something. Earlier in the season i was using Fluro, and losing lots of fish for some reason. I changed to mono and things got better. But I doubt it's actually because I changed to mono--my guess is that I just fixed something else that I didn't realize was happening.
  3. UG is generally stronger than it's rating because it runs thicker than advertised. I have hooked or landed several >20lb kings on 10 or 15lb UG leader in swift rivers with no breakages, so a coho in the salt with a lot of room to run shouldn't break off tippet even as light as 6-8lbs. The problem is that beach casting is hard on tippet due to rock-slapping backcasts and wind knots. Plus, you make a heck of a lot more casts than on a river, so there are a thousand opportunities for leader damage.

    Saltwater salmon are generally not leader shy, unless they happen to be staging in shallow estuaries in clear water, but even then they are probably just lockjawed. If they were leader shy, then you'd not expect them to bite on the tackle people drag around with 30-60lb leader!

    Go forth and fish the 20lb UG with confidence. I use it and hook about as many fish as the next guy. Enjoy the lack of break-offs and easy to untie wind knots. Don't over think leaders for salt.
    Patrick Allen likes this.
  4. How old is the tippet? Has it been in the sun? I have thrown out tippet due to breakage. Once replaced, that solved the problem.
  5. i've pointed a rod straight at a foul hooked estuary chum and tried to break 10 and 12 lb UG and couldn't. sounds like a crappy spool of maxima.

    i used to think tippet didn't matter but changed my tune this june and july when fishing over smaller numbers of coho offshore. i felt like dropping to lighter fluoro made a difference in the number of hookups... but was much more of a pain to deal with fish boat side with lighter tippet.
  6. 8# maxima can pull your car.

    I'd go with bad luck (sun rot, bad knot, gremlins).
    Patrick Allen likes this.
  7. I think the first break was a tired week old knot that played a couple fish and might have got a casting loop added on. The break this morning was just above my loop knot attached to the fly so either I burned the line or maybe knicked a rock since the fish was close to the beach, not ready to come aboard and started thrashing about. I was also pulling on it pretty hard to keep it out of some piling.

    Yeah, I think I agree with you all. The 12UG should be fine. I did slide a 7lb hen up the beach with it. I'd like to avoid the heavier leader so the fish close to the beach don't have another reason to deny my fly. Although if I used 20# and still got action, then I'd probably relax just a hair.

    Maybe I'll run some experiments tonight doing up some knots and lifting dead weight fast and slow.
  8. Where is your leader breaking and are you using just a straight 12 lb UG leader....as in no knots other then at your fly line and fly?
  9. Just to add to the questions. What does the break look like? Does it have a little curlyQ at the end of the line?
  10. I'm using a tapered leader with UG tippet. All breaks in the tippet. The first break was just below my surgeon's knot connecting tippet to tapered leader, as in I could barely see the line sticking out of the knot. Second break looked more curly and given the length of line left close to my cinch knot to make a loop (forget what it's called).

    So, I went outside and tried to pull a car and the 12#UG broke, so did the 20#UG and 40#UG, hmmm. Next I tied the 12# to a 5 gallon bucket, lifted the bucket up and started filling with the hose. By my measurements of bucket and qty of water, the line broke around 12lbs within the line. Then I put a gallon of water in a five gallon bucket so about 8.3 (water) + 2.2 (bucket) = 10.5lbs total. The 12#UG held lifting slowly. I started to jig it up and down slow at first then getting faster. Pulling it up about an inch at a moderate pace, it broke. Once in the main line and a handful of times at the hook. Completely blew apart the cinch knot and a cinch knot to make a loop to the hook. I also tried a the knot I use to make mooching rigs, it broke too. Surgeon's knot never broke. I did take care to wet the knots and pull slowly to prevent line burning. It's worth noting that when I reused the line and spliced it back together it would break near the previous break, so probably some necking in the line occurring. Finally, I tied on the 20#UG, and put 2 gallons of water in the bucket so about 19lbs total. Lifted slowly, line held, jigged it, knot blew apart.

    Based on this I think I horsed the second fish too much and blew out the knot to the fly. 5-6 lb fish, swimming with the tide, makes an attempt to run, I prevented creating too much inertial load and snap. Maybe a tooth helps cut it too. I had it on the reel and should have let the drag do it's job.

    So either I use 12#UG, play the fish some more and let the drag do its job or use 20# and man handle the fish.
    David Dalan and Patrick Allen like this.
  11. You can put some serious heat on fish with 12 lb test.
    If I remember correctly, I believe 12 lb Maxima had a breaking strength of around 15 lbs based on some tests I recall reading. The diameter is greater then many other 12 lb lines.

    The reason I like 12 versus heavier leader material is I think that my fly swims better with a lighter material.
    I also like the straight leader because it uses a minimum number of knots and will turn a fly over fine.

    One other thing to consider is where you buy your leader material. I like to buy it at places that have high sales volume so they turn their inventory on a regular basis with fresh stock.
    If you note the purchase date on the back of the spool with a sharpie you never have to guess how old your leader material is.
  12. Wow. You took that further than I would have.

    One thing to keep in mind though:
    1. Your rod will absorb a lot of that more jerky force from the fish shaking, turning, etc. Imagine doing that jigging action that you were doing with just the bucket and the mono--then imagine doing that same thing with an actual fly rod attached. You could probably jig and pull that fly rod up and down quite a big, and you won't break the line because there is going to be so much more absorption of the forces involved. So I don't think tying mono to the bucket does much more than just show you the actual breaking strength of the line, and it isn't very applicable to actual fishing situations.

    Another thing to think about: If you tied that leader attached to your fly rod up to a car, and then tried to pull it (at the angle you would play a fish at), what would happen? My guess is that you might get close to breaking the rod before you broke the leader.

    Sure, 20 lb mono will do the trick, and you'll probably almost never lose a fish to a line break--Ten80 uses it and he catches more than his fair share of fish.

    But if you take good care of your leader, and tie good knots, there's no reason why 10 or 12 lb mono wouldn't work just as well.
  13. A 4 ft chunk of 15lb UG looped right to the end of my intermediate is as fancy as I get. Haven't broken a fish all season. Lost plenty, but not broken.any
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  14. Most reels can only go to 12lbs of drag. 12 lb ultra green is way stronger than flouro of equal strength. When using flouro for salmon I never go less than 15-20lb. If it's true and the fish can't see it why not just use 40lb. Oh other than it's like rope!
  15. had the same thing happen to me last year with 2 steelhead lost. at the time i was using 12lb flouro that had been on my reel for 6 months. my stupid fault. but i did throw out the leader as it was several years old. this year using newer flouro i have had no problems.
    12 lb green Max is really strong stuff in good condition.
  16. Thanks all for the reality check. Maybe I just got lazy with my knots. I was using a rapala to the fly and maybe I missed bringing the line through the large loop. Hopefully a kind fish will select my fly tomorrow so I can test a new carefully tied leader.
  17. IMHO it is backwards to save a little on the weakest link connecting you to a fish. :)

    I use fluoro for subsurface flies for its abrasion resistance and reduced visibility but choose mono for surface flies due to its slower sink rate. Loop knots with both for fly mobility.
  18. What do you suppose was used to catch all those salmon before flourocarbon came along? Oh. It seems we used 12 - 15 lb. mono. Flourocarbon has its uses but mono is still pretty damn good. I also heard and please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but I heard that a fish has only 1/4 of its weight in the water. That would mean if true, a 20 lb. fish would only weigh 5 lbs. in the water. Don't know if that's true or not and of course, the fish muscles up when fighting, but you could easily handle most fish on 12 lb. leader and tippet.

  19. I would listen to the guy with a king salmon in his Icon picture..
  20. Sorry Steve the fish weighs the same but it does have some boyancy. If you took a bucket of water that weighed 10 lbs and put a 10 lb fish in it you would end up with 20lbs. I would also say baring a bad knot, and any damage done to the line you should be able to land a fish way over 2 times the break strength if the line. Just don't horse it.

Share This Page