Fluorocarbon for steelhead - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Fluorocarbon for steelhead

I bought fluorocarbon fishing line 10 lb. to use as tippet for steelhead fishing , the diameter seems to thick. What would be the best pound test to use? Cheaper to buy the spool instead of tippet especially since it on sale now
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-18-2017, 10:36 AM
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The line you purchased is different than tippet manufactured specifically for leader material. You've discovered what is probably the biggest difference, which is that regular fishing line is larger in diameter compared to tippet for the same break strength.

Your question is a tough one to answer, it really depends on a number of things such as water conditions, location (lake, creek, riffle, pool), and type of fishing (streamers or nymphs). If I was forced to pick just one size leader material for all around steelheading in PA, it would be 4x which is roughly equivalent 6# test. If conditions are low and clear over spooky fish, I'd go with 5x or 4#. If creeks are running high, I'd go with 3x or 8#. My suggestion is to be flexible and let the conditions dictate what kind of leader to use.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-21-2017, 06:24 PM
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Good advice from Esox_Hunter. I've had to go all the way down to 7x in gin clear water with finicky fish. But then it's really hard to land them. I probably use 5x the most in general.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 08:33 PM
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I fish Seaguar Blue exclusively for steelhead and salmon on the Salmon River. 6 pound is my go to for steelhead and maybe bump up to 8 pound if water is high/stained or fish are very aggressive like this time of year. The others are spot on with their advice.......buy the 25 yard spool and you will have the right diameter.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 08:38 AM
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There are several issues here.

The first is the obvious Strength per Diameter issue and tippets win over line both for fluorocarbon and nylon mono.

This is not just a theoretical advantage in fluorocarbon that is used mainly underwater. A thinner tippet has less surface area that is proportional to the square of the diameter. So not only will a thinner tippet sink faster but it will have less drag through the water to pull on the fly. So visibility is not the only issue. Thinner tippets reduce drag.

The second, less obvious reason to buy the tippet, is suppleness. In most instances tippet should be supple because they are on the end of leaders and suppleness is the ability that allows flies to move more freely. A stiff tippet of the same diameter as a supple tippet will tend to straighten rather than to fall with slack. Slack allows a drag free drift.

Not all fluorocarbon tippets are the same. Seaguar Grand Max is the most supple fluorocarbon that is commonly available in the USA and has good breaking strength.

For Steelhead I use Seaguar Invis-X in 4-6-8lb test for tippet material. If the water is really low and clear dropping down to a true tippet material can be necessary for line shy fish. 200yds for about $15. Inland waters in smaller streams I prfer the tippet material for it's smaller diameter and its suppleness...

As said before knots are critical when tying on fluorocarbon tippet. All knots must be wetted before drawing them up tight or they will fail.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-30-2017, 10:00 AM
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For steelhead in erie it all depends on water conditions. Low and clear you need a good 4-6# fluoro leader. Stained water but not higher flows id go 6# maxima ultra green. Stained and high flow ill run 8# maxima ultra green.

For lake ontario tribs i run 8# maxima ultra green. The fish are bigger and the water tends to be more stained (tea colored).

For kings id bump to 10 or even 12 if the water is up.
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