Fluorocarbon or mono, which leader should I use?

USING a specialised leader material when fishing with braid is important for two reasons: Firstly, braid has practically no stretch and therefore little shock absorbing quality. Secondly, braid is non-transparent and, at times, must be highly-visible to fish. To combat these properties, most anglers opt to use about a rod length of leader tied to the reel's braid mainline.

The most common types of leader are nylon monofilament line (or mono for short) and fluorocarbon line. Both types of leader are relatively clear and look and feel similar. Though, fluorocarbon is harder and "wiry" in the hand when compared to soft nylon mono. This is because fluorocarbon is a more dense material, compared to nylon. Given fluoro is more dense than nylon, it also makes sense that fluoro leader has less stretch than mono. Fluoro also sinks in the water, whereas mono typically floats.

While most anglers will be able to make do with either leader material, knowing the below basics, anglers will be able to use the two different leaders to fine-tune lure and bait fishing techniques:

Fluorocarbon leader

  • Stiffer
  • Minimal stretch
  • High abrasion resistance
  • Thinner diameter compared to nylon mono of same breaking strain
  • Sinks

Nylon monofilament

  • More elastic than fluoro, good shock absorber
  • Easy to tie knots
  • Better knot strength
  • Floats

Which leader material should I use?

Based on the above, we are able to identify some obvious benefits of using either fluoro or nylon mono leader for certain lure and bait fishing techniques.

For example, casting lures around structure for fish like giant trevally and kingfish – which aren't too "leader shy" – is best suited to the use of OCEA Nylon Casting Leader, which is a great "shock leader" and alleviates tackle failure from heavy drag settings and repeated casting. OCEA Nylon Casting Leader is also a great option for fish like barramundi and big mulloway where the inbuilt stretch can reduce tackle failure from aggressive strikes and head shakes.

Conversely, the stiffer OCEA Fluorocarbon Leader is better when deep water jigging and bait fishing for fish like kingfish and snapper, where it will assist in imparting action on jigs and lures. Less stretch helps to keep a fish from reaching the bottom structure, too. Similarly, finesse luring with small soft plastics in the estuary is best suited to the use of thin and responsive OCEA Fluorocarbon Leader that allows anglers to detect subtle bites.

There are several great knots to attach these leaders to a braid mainline, but two of the most popular knots in recent times are the "FG" knot and "Double Uni" knot. While the "Double Uni" knot is easy to tie and works great for lighter lines (up to about PE3 or 30lb), the more complicated "FG" knot is worth learning for heavier lines – the FG also works great in lighter lines, too!

It is also worth noting that fluoro and nylon mono can be used to achieve different sink rates and actions from floating, suspending, and sinking lures.

Both fluoro and nylon mono leader material has their place and Shimano's OCEA Nylon Casting Leader and OCEA Fluorocarbon Leader won't let you down.

Written by: Patrick Linehan