Which is the Best Fluorocarbon Leader for Reservoir Fishing?

In this post I will attempt to provide the information required to pick the best fluorocarbon on the market for your needs. The ‘best fluorocarbon’ will obviously vary from angler to angler based on the nature of the fishing you do, and also the amount of money you can afford (or are prepared to pay) for your leader. I have been using fluorocarbon leader materials since the mid 1990’s. Prior to fluorocarbon I used standard monofilament.Below are some of the benefits cited in favour of fluorocarbon:
Almost completely invisible under water – Fluorocarbon as a refractive index that is almost identical to water, therefore light goes through the material without refracting, making it virtually invisible. I used to find that monofilament could be very shiny in the water, which could potentially spoke line shy fish.   

Best Fluorocarbon Fly Fishing Leader

Fluorocarbon Fly Fishing Leader

Density – Fluorocarbon has a higher density than water and as such sinks. This is a great advantage when reservoir fishing with a dry fly. If your leader is floating on the surface, trout will be very reluctant to take the fly. I still use fullers earth to degrease my leader, but it is not as important as it was when we were using monofilament. With mono, I used to degrease hundreds of times during the day (which is a lot of wasted time if you are fishing in a competition). Lack of Stretch – fluorocarbon has less stretch than monofilament. I am not sure if this is an advantage as such. You could argue that it could help detect a take, but you could also argue that there is less shock absorption when you get an aggressive take. Stiffness – fluorocarbon is much stiffer than monofilament, which is generally a good thing for a leader as it improves cast turn over. Abrasion Resistance – Fluorocarbon lines are apparently more abrasion resistant than monofilament, which would have obvious benefits when it comes to playing large fish. I am not completely convinced by this, I actually think that monofilament is tougher in like for like breaking strains. The big difference is that because fluorocarbon is almost invisible you can fish much heavier leaders. I have to note here that copolymer leaders are also very popular. I know some very successful competition anglers, who always use copolymer. Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience in using copolymer, so can’t make any educated comments. If anybody reading can provide any advice regarding copolymer, please do get in touch. I would be happy to receive guest posts on this subject. I plan to experiment more with copolymer this season.

Best Fluorocarbon - Copolymer Fly fishing Leader

Copolymer Fly Fishing Leader

In summary, I believe that fluorocarbon has some significant advantages over monofilament. Prior to fluorocarbon I used to fish a 4lb monofilament leader when reservoir fishing with dry flies. However, fluorocarbon allows me to fish a 6lb leader for dries, and sometimes even heavier.

Best Fluorocarbon Comparison Chart 

This is my version of a ‘compare the meerkat’ style comparison chart, which I am hoping will allow you to compare fluorocarbon leader materials more efficiently. The chart uses 6lb leader material in each case to allow a direct comparison to be made. I have sorted the data by diameter:

Fluorocarbon Name

Dia of 6lb (mm)

Price per meter (pence)

Standard Spool Size


Rio Fluoroflex Plus – (Buy Online)



30 yrds

Very supple fluorocarbon, very thin but very expensive! They don’t do 6lb, but do have 5lb and 7lb, stats are based on half way between these.

Grand Max Fluorocarbon soft plus (Buy Online)




They don’t do 6lb, stats based on 6.6lb. Extremely fine, particularly considering that it is slightly stronger.

Riverge Grand Max Fluorocarbon (Buy Online)



100 yrds

Good quality fine leader, but expensive.

Frog Hair Fluorocarbon 100m (Buy Online)




They don’t do 6lb, stats based on 6.6lb. Very fine, particularly considering that it is slightly stronger.

Seaguar Ace Hard Fluorocarbon Tippet (Buy Online)




They don’t do 6lb, but they do have 5.5lb and 6.6lb, stats are based on half way between these. I have used stronger versions of this for salmon and found it to be very strong and tough.

Riverge Fluorocarbon Tippet (Buy Online)



100 or 30 yrds

They don’t do 6lb, but do have 5lb and 7lb, stats are based on half way between these.

Sportfish Purecast Fluorocarbon




They don’t do 6lb, but do have 5lb and 7lb, stats are based on half way between these.

Airflo Sightfree G3 (Buy Online)



50 or 100m

Price based on Fistec promotion of 2 spools for the price of 1 (permanent promotion).

Airflo Sightfree Platinum (Buy Online)



50 or 100m

Price based on 2 for 1 (permanent promotion) for 100m spool. This fluorcarbon notably more suple than the other sightfree.

Hardy Mach Fluorocarbon (Buy Online)




Quite thick. Comes on wide diameter spool to minimise memory.

Greys GX Fluorocarbon (Buy Online)




They don’t do 6lb, stats based on 6.4lb Quite thick fluorocarbon, and quite expensive considering the thickness.

Fulling Mill World Class (Buy Online)




Price varies based on breaking strain. Thick for the breaking strain.

Use the following link to browse and buy fluorocarbon online:

Great prices for Flourocarbon Leader

Hopefully the above chart will help you pick the best fluorocarbon leader. Your choice  will undoubtedly be conditioned by the price/ value for money. The Grand Max Fluorocarbon soft and Rio Fluoroflex Plus are coming out as the finest leaders but these are also very expensive.

Airflo’s sightfree fluorocarbon cannot be ignored, its is quite fine and very reasonably priced (due to the buy one get one free permanent promotions). It is actually 4 x cheaper than the rio leader on a pence per m basis. My choice is to use Grand Max Fluorocarbon for competitions and Airflo Sightfree G3 for all other trout fishing. I often use Seaguar Ace Hard Fluorocarbon for salmon fishing.

Thanks for reading.

Tight lines!

Trout fishing tackle on Amazon

One Comment

  1. Thanks for posting, what a useful chart. I tend to use Sightfree as its cheap and good.

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