The Great Fluorocarbon Test

Always looking to improve our test data we added one more set of figures to our results. The “knotless steady pull break test”. This test would completely rule out any bad data as a result of knots which was one of our major concerns.

Are you like us and just gotta know how the different fluorocarbons rate, how they stack up against each other and are the more expensive brands worth the money?
We bet you are!

We started by purchasing eight brands of 10 pound test tippet material right off the store shelf, just like we all buy it. No "special samples" from the manufacturer. We did buy from a large retailer to try and ensure we at least didn't get a spool that had been sitting on the shelf for a couple years.

    The questions we wanted to answer were simple:
  • What's the price per foot of the most common fluorocarbons out there?
  • How do the listed breaking strengths compare with the actuals?
  • How do the listed diameters compare with the actuals?
  • How abrasion resistant is each line?
  • Are the more expensive fluorocarbon lines worth the money?

BrandManuf.DiameterPrice¢/ftSteady Pull Break (Lbs)Drop BreakFriction Test
100% Fluorocarbon Tippet
Cabela's Private Labelna.012$7.2512.5823.
Frog Hair FCGamma.009.010$12.9916¢8.5220.311.00.05.65
Non-Fluorocarbon Benchmarks

List Diameter / Test Diameter:

Ever wonder if the diameter printed on the label is correct? We do too! Using a micrometer, we measured the diameter at 3 points and averaged them out. The results speak for themselves.

Price & $/ft:
We always wondered exactely how much the different lines cost compared to each other. Since some are sold in meters, some in feet, and some in yards, until you sit down with a calculator you never really know. Interesting results!

Knotted Steady Pull Break Test:
This test would give us an idea of what the breaking point of each line is. We attached the line to a digital scale and pulled until failure. Only breaks in main line were counted, knot breaks were not. We needed at least 5 good main line breaks and at least 10 trials for each. Some lines took up to 18 tests to obtain 5 good breaks! The results are an average breaking point of each line. The margin of error from our scale is +/- .13 lbs. This test data gives us a great idea of how even the most precisely tied knot can affect fluorocarbon line. We’re still searching for that perfect knot.

Knotless Steady Pull Break Test:
A simple yet effective knotless way to test the “full” breaking point of the fluorocarbons. Both ends of the line were wrapped tightly around a padded bar to prevent any slippage, our scale was placed into the center loop which was left long. A steady pull was applied until failure. Now if we could only figure out a way to take knots out of our fishing equations!

Drop Break Test:
This test would simulate a hard strike by a fish or perhaps the force generated on a hook set. We attached the line to a padded bar, tied the other end to a 1 lb. weight and droped it from heights of 12" and 24". The results are how many times each piece of fluoro survived the test without breaking. We repeated this test 3 times at 12" and 3 times at 24", each time using a new piece of line.

Friction Test:
This test would simulate line dragging over rocks, zebra mussels, and other debris. We ran 5 separate tests on each line. It was run over an abrasive cylinder with a low speed electric motor until failure. The results are the average time the line would survive the test.

Visibility Test:
With manufacturer claims out there like "In laymans terms, that means when you immerse a Fluorocarbon leader in water, it blends in so well that it's almost impossible to see with the naked eye.", we wanted to test it's visibility under water. Without going into detail we could see EVERY brand just fine! We couldn't see ANY difference between the fluoro's and other non-fluoro lines. Is it all just an elaborate hoax? Who knows, but if nothing else the use of fluoro's seems to make a difference to most anglers, us included.

In a Nut-Shell:

CFX PLine:
At 9 cents per foot it's not the most expensive out there, but it isn't the cheapest either. The knotted breaking point came in at the closest of what we tested at an honest 10.25 lbs and rated the best for diameter vs. strength. It did very well in the drop test and lasted the longest in the friction test. Overall it was the best performer of the group.

Berkley Vanish:
Well, we guess what most people say about it is true! It's by far the cheapest line tested and we believe the cheapest fluorocarbon made to date. It was definitely the worst performer of the group. It failed miserably in the knotted steady pull break test, and broke well under the rest of the group on the knotless side. A result you don't see is how many times we had knot failure. It's a good thing the spool had 100M on it. If it had 25M like most of the others we'd have run out long before completing that test, not to mention the rest of them. In all arenas Vanish was at the bottom of the pile, but what do you expect for a penny a foot?

GBS Seaguar:
This is the one the staff was waiting for; most of us prefer Seaguar over all other fluoros. At 11 cents a foot the "tippet/leader" material is in the middle of the group. The knotted steady pull test showed it to be a couple pounds over the rating, but again what you don't see is that it took only the minimum number of tests to complete with only 3 knot failures. On the knotless side of the house it was another middle of the pack line. It did redeem itself during the drop break test where it took top spot and fared well in the friction test.

Umpqua Deceiver:
A surprise... It performed well in all tests and looks to be a very good line if you’re willing to spend the money. Notable results included 2nd best in the knotted steady pull test and #3 on the knotless side.

Cabela's Fluorocarbon Leader Material:
Cabela's private label leader/tippet material looks to be a pretty solid buy. It performed in the middle of the pack, just short of Seaguar. For the money it's a good all around performing line.

Gamma FrogHair FC:
We're not sure if it's fair to test this line in the same group regardless of the 10LB Test Sticker. It was the highest priced line of the test, but also had the smallest listed diameter at .009. This would be more comparable to 8lb line class, however our test was based solely on the fact it’s rated at 10 pound test. It tested with a diameter of barely .010 which was hands down the smallest of the test. However, in losing diameter we knew they’d pay for it in the abrasion resistance category; which they did. It did place a very surprising 2nd in overall strength vs. diameter. Overall a good line, but pricey.

Maxima Chameleon:
Every test needs a benchmark, right? As most anglers are familiar with Maxima it was an easy choice. Just keep in mind it's not fluorocarbon.

SA Freshwater:
Another benchmark for those who’ve never used Maxima….if there are any?

** Disclaimer of test results – In this test we duplicated the manor in which all of us buy line, over the counter. We have no control over some of the factors that may have affected the test results such as the age of the line, how it was stored, even down to how long it sat in the sun in the UPS truck. These test results should only be used as a starting point to make your own decision…and we all know how to do that, GO FISH!

As always, Quest invites manufacturers to submit comments on this test. Comments will not change the review in any way, but will be added along side the information presented.

Questions or Comments? Send em' HERE

Manufacturers Comments can be read HERE