Anglers have one clear choice, says John DeVries, vice president of sales for Seaguar - the company that invented fluorocarbon fishing line. He sees no compelling reason to use tinted monofilament or fluorocarbon. "Coloring agents can weaken a line's structure by as much as 10 percent and can be seen underwater," DeVries says.
Bob Hoose, West Coast marketing manager for Pure Fishing (which includes Berkley and Stren), names clear as its best-selling line color "because it covers so many fishing applications."
So why do manufacturers offer such a variety of line colors? "Colored line provides an advantage in two situations," explains Richard Hart, general manager of Maxima. "Sometimes visual tracking of lines is important. For example, high-visibility lines in trolling spreads provide a reference for anglers. Second, color can help line blend into an environment. Light passing through clear line can make it shine - called light piping - and appear fairly bright underwater in some instances. Color tones down this effect to deliver a stealthy subsurface presentation."
Here's expert advice on when to use monofilament of different hues.
"Berkley Trilene Big Game Steel Blue is a favorite for slow-trolling live baits for marlin in Cabo and Kona, and in the Northeast Canyons fishing for line-shy tuna," says Hoose.
Capt. Mike Weinhofer (www.fishnkw.com) of Key West, Florida, relies on Sufix Elite Clear Blue mono to match offshore water color when pursuing keen-eyed pelagics. Capt. Brandon McGavran (www.brandonsguideservice.com) of Kalama, Washington, uses the same line for salmon and steelhead. "The blue is easy to see out of the water but not in it," he says.
Examples: Berkley Trilene Big Game Steel Blue; Momoi Hi-Catch Diamond Brilliant Blue; Momoi Hi-Catch Diamond Leader Light Blue; Sufix Elite Clear Blue; Yo-Zuri Hybrid Blue.
"During tests we found UV light traveled 30 inches in clear mono, 10 in clear fluorocarbon and only three in Quattro mono," says Michael Shields, vice president of sales and marketing for Hi-Seas. "Our unique camo pattern - alternating one- to two-foot lengths of black, blue, green and red - stops light from traveling through the line, therefore making it less visible. The camo coloring also breaks up the line, so it's difficult to detect against nearly any background."
Examples: Hi-Seas Black Widow; Hi-Seas Quattro Plus; Hi-Seas Quattro Fluorocarbon; Triple Fish Camo Original; Sufix Elite Camo; Sufix Siege Camo.
"Berkley Trilene Big Game Green makes a good choice for coastal yellowtail fishing in both iron and live-bait applications. The color blends in with inshore conditions found off Southern California. We also see salmon anglers using it in the Pacific Northwest for mooching," Hoose says.
"Maxima Ultragreen's subtle tint excels in all conditions, from brackish bay water, through inshore green water, to offshore blue water," Hart says.
Examples: Ande Tournament Green; Ande Premium Dark Green; Berkley Trilene Maxx Lo-Vis Green; Berkley Trilene Big Game Green; Hi-Seas Grand Slam Green; Maxima Ultragreen; Silver Thread AN40 Green; Stren High Impact Lo-Vis Green; Sufix Elite Lo-Vis Green; Sufix Siege Smoke Green; Sufix Titanium Plus Dark Green; Triple Fish X-Rated Moss Green; Yo-Zuri Hybrid Camo Green.
Brightly colored mono gets the nod for offshore trolling, kite fishing and other scenarios where anglers need an instant read on line position. Weinhofer likes Sufix hi-vis line. "It helps in crisis situations. When two sailfish get tangled, you need to know which way to go, and do it fast," he says.
Examples: Ande Premium Green Envy; Ande Premium Hi-Vis; Ande Tournament High Visibility Fluorescent Yellow; Berkley Trilene Big Game Solar Collector; Cajun Optix; Cortland Endurance Hi-Vis Orange; Cortland Endurance Hi-Vis Yellow; Hi-Seas Grand Slam Fluorescent Yellow; Maxima Fibre Glow; Maxima HV; Momoi Hi-Catch Diamond Hi-Vis Yellow; Stren High Impact Hi-Vis Green; Stren Stamina Hi-Vis Gold; Sufix Elite Hi-Vis Yellow; Sufix Key Lime IGFA; Sufix Pro Mix Lemon Green; Sufix Siege Neon Tangerine; Sufix Superior Hi-Vis Yellow; Sufix Titanium Plus Chartreuse; Sufix Titanium Plus Gold; Triple Fish Game Fish Green; Triple Fish Ultra-Viz; Yo-Zuri Hybrid Hi-Vis Yellow.
Dave Bertolozzi, national sales manager for Yo-Zuri America, says their underwater tests with pink and clear fluorocarbon revealed that pink lacked the light-piping effect. "And the pink line didn't show fluoro's characteristic milky color after becoming chafed," he says. "It excels for snapper and grouper fishing, but I also hear tuna fishermen say they get more bites with pink leader. I use it for seatrout and snook with good results as well."
Examples: Ande Premium Pink; Hi-Seas Grand Slam Pink; Stren Tinted Fluorocarbon Leader Coral Mist; Triple Fish Pink Perlon; Yo-Zuri HD Fluorocarbon Disappearing Pink; Yo-Zuri Hybrid Pink.
Since red is the first color filtered out of the spectrum as an object descends the water column, red line fades to gray (it doesn't turn invisible) as it sinks. "We suspect this lack of color helps the line blend into the natural environment, thus making it harder to see," says James Therrell, engineer and brand manager for Cajun Line. "Consider red snapper. They're a tasty treat to a variety of predators. Imagine how hard it would be to survive if they actually glowed bright red underwater! Based on field testing combined with proven physics, we know red line brings an advantage to most situations."
Therrell does not recommend red line for shallow water because the color remains visible at depths of less than three feet. "I think red is the obvious choice for bottomfishing," he says.
Examples: Berkley Trilene XT Tough Red; Cajun Advantage; Cajun Red Cast; Cajun Red Lightnin'; Stren Blood Red; Triple Fish Red Line.
"Silver Thread's silver mono becomes all but invisible beneath the surface in high sun and clear water, making it an ideal line for offshore and other clear-water applications," says Kim Norton, brand manager for Bomber Saltwater Grade.
Examples: Maxima Crystal Ivory; Maxima IGFA Tournament Silver; Silver Thread AN40 Silver; Sufix Pro Mix Platinum; Sufix Siege Silver.
Depending on the hue, dark mono makes a good choice for clear as well as off-color water. "R&D testing and angler feedback tell us Stren Tinted Fluorocarbon Leader in Gunsmoke performs best in shallow to mid-depth clear-water situations. Many of our top captains feel it's perfect for the clear blue waters from Key West through Miami. Stren's tannic-tinted fluorocarbon proves best suited for stained-water conditions such as Florida's Indian River Lagoon," says Scott Dubiel, Florida marketing manager for Pure Fishing.
Hart says Maxima Chameleon's rich brown color provides effective camouflage against dark structure like jetties, reefs, kelp beds and offshore oil platforms.
"Smoke Purple Yo-Zuri Hybrid finds favor among kingfish anglers working green water because it's easy to see above water and has low visibility underwater," Bertolozzi says.
Examples: Ande Premium Back Country Slate Blue; Ande Premium Gun Metal; Hi-Seas Grand Slam Smoke Blue; Maxima Chameleon; Stren High Impact Smoke Blue; Stren Tinted Fluorocarbon Leader Gunsmoke; Stren Tinted Fluorocarbon Leader Tannic; Sufix Superior Smoke Blue; Yo-Zuri Hybrid Smoke Purple.
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