Techy Thursday - The Age Old Question

Fluoro or co-polymer? Its a question I get often and it really all depends on the water you are fishing, and the way you fish IMO. Here Matt poses the question.

On 12/07/2017, at 2:52 AM, Matt wrote:

Hi Chris,

Hope you are well.

One / a few questions if you don’t mind but what are your thoughts on copolymer and fluorocarbon for dry fly fishing, I know fluorocarbon is meant to sink and copolymer is meant to float but it sinks so slowly that does it really matter? And what are your thoughts about tippet rings and if you don’t use them how do go about prolonging the life of your leaders.

Thanks in advance.



Well Matt, I'm not using fluorocarbon as much as I used to as an everyday material on the waters I fish, as a high end copolymer such as Trout Hunter is pretty abrasion resistant these days, while being that much more supple to allow my dry, or nymph to do its thing more naturally. I'm primarily fishing the rivers of southland however, where I'm constantly switching from small dries to tiny nymphs, often multiple times on each pool.

When fishing the boulder and log jam strewn waters of fiordland, or the west coast and some headwaters I would certainly carry a few spools of quality fluoro. When fishing subsurface on stillwaters, yes. And certainly if throwing big double tungsten, stoneflies or streamers. Fluoro can simply take more of a beating than co-polymer.

With dries, especially with the film flies I most often employ you will find they will follow the sunken path of the fluoro tippet upon pickup, submerge, water log and most often cause that loud, disturbing splash as they're pulled back through the surface, even when employing a dynamic lift. Most trout wont tolerate that.

Notice I use the word quality: you're better off with a good quality co-polymer than a cheap fluoro of the same price.

With modern day, high tech leader materials you also need to pay more attention to your rigging to make knots stick. Once you get this right, surprising knot strength and performance is worth the extra moment ensuring all is solid. 

Tippet rings? I just use a blood knot. I find tippet rings make anglers lazy and the knot from the ring to the leader rarely gets changed... knots weaken fast with time, often over a few hours, and with encounters with snags, or fish. It only will end in tears.

Again, a good quality leader will outlast a cheaper one, remain stronger, cleaner, and will be more abrasion resistant with less memory for longer.