For many seasons now I have been using Fulling Mill fluorocarbon for almost all of my Stillwater and reservoir fishing, be it pleasure or competition.
I have used many brands and long before becoming a Fulling Mill ambassador I had settled on this material as my first choice. It is also the first choice of a number of top international small Stillwater anglers who also use it in preference to other, often more expensive brands. Considering small Stillwater are often the most challenging venues in terms of leader shy fish, this is a real vote of confidence in its quality.
There are many reasons why this material is so popular, and each individual will have their own deciding factors, however, I have summarised my top 5 reasons below.
Strength and Reliability
This has to be the number one reason for choosing any leader material!! Fulling Mill fluorocarbon is extremely strong for its stated breaking strains and in my experience exceeds the stated breaking strain on the spool. As a result, I now always use the diameter of a leader material as my measure, rather than breaking strain. After all, fish see diameter of leader, not a breaking strain…
By using diameter as a guide I often find that I use a lighter than average breaking strain when fishing Fulling mill fluorocarbon. This however does not affect the strength and reliability and I will happily use 5lb when many others reach for 7 or even 8lb in other brands. In reality, the diameter and breaking strain are often almost identical.
Lack of leader shine
Next on my list of reasons is lack of leader shine. I have noticed that Fulling Mill fluorocarbon is one of the least shiny brands that I have used. Leader shine can be a significant reason for fish refusing flies, particularly on bright days and in clear water conditions. As a result, I feel that using this material gives another advantage over more shiny materials.
Fulling Mill Fluorocarbon Density
It is well known that fluorocarbon has a higher density than other leader materials such as co-polymer or monofilament – check out my recent blog indicating the differences between co-polymer and fluorocarbon leaders.
In certain fishing situations, fluorocarbon gives the angler some advantages. This is particularly the case when you want to get your leader material under the surface quickly and use it to help keep your flies down in the water column. The difference between fluorocarbon and monofilament is most obvious when fishing the washing line method with a team of nymphs and a buoyant fly on the point on a floating line. When fishing co-polymer leader material the buoyant fly will usually stay on the surface throughout the retrieve. When fishing fluorocarbon (typically in the 0.20 – 0.22mm diameter range) the buoyant fly will be dragged under the surface and as a result, all of the flies will fish through the layers, on some days this is a real advantage.
Another advantage of fluorocarbon is when fishing deep with nymphs, the leader material helps keep the flies deep and hold them there, this is particularly important when fishing deep buzzer tactics.
As well as being a denser leader materials fluorocarbon is also a stiffer material when compared to co-polymer or monofilament. This can be a real advantage when fishing in strong winds, as the material will help turnover, even when using weighted flies. The extra stiffness in the leader is also a real bonus when fishing a team of 3 or even 4 flies, which are very popular with today’s loch style anglers. The extra stiffness of the material also helps prevent tangles which helps minimise wasted fishing time during the day. Another bonus is that even if the fluorocarbon leader does tangle, particularly in the higher diameters, it is much easier to undo and start fishing again without having to replace the leader.
Value for money
Finally, the cost of tippet is an issue for many anglers, Fulling Mill fluorocarbon is very reasonably priced compared to other brands, in fact it is safe to say it is one of the most competitively priced on the market. You can purchase 100m for the price of 30m of other brands. Paying extra for quality materials is something that most anglers are willing to do, however I feel that Fulling Mill fluorocarbon is one of the few products where I do not feel it is necessary to break the bank to get a real quality and reliable product.