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Fluorocarbon vs. Nylon Tippet

Published: 8th December 2020 | Author: Fulling Mill

Fluorocarbon vs. nylon. We’ve all heard it debated over the years. You’ve probably wondered, what’s the big deal? Well, we’ll tell you.

The Start.

In truth, fluorocarbon has been around since the 1970s. However, it never truly gained popularity until the last 8 or 10 years. The reason behind this is simple: the chemical processes which creates fluorocarbon has become much better, and nuanced. Before that, it was unreliable, which resulted in an inconsistent end product. Few people trusted it, and rightfully so.

A Sea Change.

How things have changed. Not only has fluorocarbon become much higher in quality, it has also become much more needed. With the surge in popularity of both modern nymphing and streamer techniques, many anglers won’t ever fish without it again. Everyone on the competition scene had to have it. And, instructional videos were raving about it. As a result, almost every brand has tried their hand at fluorocarbon.

That’s where Fulling Mill comes in. About 4 years ago we recognized the need for a truly premium product, and we answered.

Masterclass Fluorocarbon is excellent for all trout applications.

Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon.

The new Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon is the result of all-new technology that’s exclusive to us. It’s like nothing else on the market.

Check out our latest video featuring our Masterclass Fluorocarbon!

This 23.5″ Landlocked Atlantic Salmon was easily brought to net with Masterclass 4x Fluorocarbon.
Photo: Joe Klementovich

Refractory Index

Masterclass has the lowest refractory index of any other fluorocarbon on the market. This makes it the least visible in water to fish, which makes a massive difference—especially when targeting heavily pressured fish. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve been chasing fish using nylon with no luck, only to switch to our fluorocarbon and have things change completely. 


Our fluorocarbon is among the densest you’ll find, which allows it to cut through the surface tension quicker so that you’ll be in front of fish sooner. When nymphing especially, this allows you to have your flies in the strike zone much longer. That extra bit or duration changes the game. 

Fluorocarbon vs. nylon tippet, which is the most dense? Fluorocarbon is the clear winner.


Not only is it dense, but it’s also extremely durable. This helps greatly against abrasion on the bottom, or, when the fish develop sharp teeth in the latter end of the season. You’ll be much less likely to break off as a result. 


Lastly, Masterclass has a superb diameter to strength ratio so you can rest assured that it’s incredibly strong, ultra-supple and as a result, has great knot strength. In the early years of fluorocarbon people had issues with fluorocarbon being too stiff and not holding knots properly. However, the supple nature of our modern product is what allows it to have such great knot holding capabilities. 

The more supple, modern fluorocarbon boasts incredible knot strength.


Have you ever noticed that your nylon gets stiff over time? This is because it’s like a sponge, so it dehydrates over time and loses its flexibility. The flip side is also true; when nylon is exposed to water, it absorbs it. Not only that, but the more water it absorbs, the more it weakens. As a result, the longer you fish a piece of nylon the weaker it becomes. Neither of these issues are true for fluorocarbon. It doesn’t dehydrate, and it doesn’t absorb any water. Thus, it holds strength significantly longer than nylon.


While the fluorocarbon itself remains the same, in the past year we added a new band system for an improved user experience on the river. The new pro bands hold tighter and allow you much easier and cleaner access to your tippet.

The new pro bands are found on all of our fluorocarbon tippet spools.

Fluorocarbon Myths.

Despite all the incredible qualities of modern fluorocarbon, there are still many myths that persist from its early days. Frankly, many of these myths limit the modern angler from maximizing fluorocarbon’s potential, so we wanted to correct them to help you out while you’re on the water.

Fluorocarbon vs. nylon. Which to pick? We hope that’s pretty clear at this point!
  1. Myth one: Fluorocarbon gets stiff in cold water. In fact, nylon gets stiffer than fluorocarbon in cold water, so we recommend sticking to fluorocarbon when fishing in cold conditions. Not only that, but nylon has more memory in general, so it’s more likely to get kinked and knotted.
  2. Myth two: never fish fluorocarbon with dry flies. While nylon has more natural buoyancy than fluorocarbon, it’s also much more visible and much less durable. When targeting pressured fish, or fish that are likely to have more developed teeth, we recommend fluorocarbon. To combat the sink, just throw on some Loon Outdoors Payette paste, and the problem will be solved. As the season goes on, fluorocarbon is increasingly the difference maker.
  3. Myth three: fluorocarbon doesn’t hold strong knots. When fluorocarbon was first introduced, it was too stiff, which resulted in knots that wouldn’t hold. Now, with modern advances in technology, the bar has continually risen in terms of quality. Our Masterclass is ultra-supple, and has exceptional knot holding strength.
  4. Myth four: Fluorocarbon doesn’t stretch. While it’s true is that fluorocarbon stretches significantly less than nylon, it does have some stretch. But that’s not a bad thing. Think about a day on the river where you’re making long casts to picky fish. Or, when you’re swinging a fly at distance to steelhead. When that moment comes where the fish eats, having less stretch will help you get a more positive hook set. 
In fact, fluorocarbon gets less stiff than nylon in cold water.

If you’re new to euro nymphing, have a look at this piece by John Newbury.

If you’re interested in trying out Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon, have a look at the chart below to determine what size is best for your fishing styles!

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