I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

• Vicious Fishing Fluorocarbon

Over the last year or so, I have tested a few brands of fluorocarbon line. Generally speaking, there are certain expectations anglers demand when it comes to any fluorocarbon line. On top of that, every brand out there all make similar claims. That makes it very difficult for most of us to sort through all the hype. Ideally, fluorocarbon should have high abrasion resistance, low stretch, low visibility, excellent sensitivity, and a faster sink rate. These claims are usually plastered all over the box. Fluorocarbon is also not very cheap. For 200 or 250 yard spools, expect to pay anywhere from $18 to $30 on average. That can really break the bank.

Each successive review I have written has been more extensive than those I have written previously. Why? Each brand raises the expectations for the next challenger. When one brand fails, the others get to pay for its shortcomings. Each brand ends up getting compared to its predecessor. While that may be unfortunate and somewhat biased, that's where I'm at in the world of fluorocarbon.

What are these shortcomings I speak of?
Fluorocarbon tends to have a lot of memory. It makes for a less than ideal choice for spinning reels. Knots usually need to be tied when wet to maintain knot strength and stability. People tend to use their own spit. Break offs are very common, especially at points in the line where stress has been applied. Kinks from backlashes are potential breaking points. Although abrasion resistance is touted by all line manufacturers, I've had bad experiences where brand new fluorocarbon either breaks in mid-cast or frays after minor abrasion. All of these limitations play a huge role in deciding whether or not a line wins my trust.

Prior to this particular post, my fluorocarbon of choice has been P-Line Halo. The sensitivity has been good. The abrasion resistance has been better that others. The real plus has been that I do not need to wet a knot in order to cinch it down tight. It has been relatively easy to purchase. I have tried Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and Gamma Edge. Neither held up quite as well as Halo.

Let's throw Vicious Fishing into the fluorocarbon fray!

Here's what you'll notice right off the bat. It's inexpensive! For $10 or $11, I can buy a 250yd spool of 15# fluorocarbon. For around $19, I can buy a huge 600 yard spool at one of the local tackle shops. For the life of me, I do not understand why line companies do not sell fluorocarbon in standard 300 yard spools.

I noticed Vicious on racks and shelves around town, but my happiness with Halo kept me from putting myself through another exhausting line review. I saw how inexpensive Vicious line was and did plan on trying it out at some point eventually. While perusing the showroom floor at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic Expo, I came across the Vicious Fishing booth upstairs. I had a chat with the guy about fluorocarbon and he eventually gave me two sample spools of 100 yard 12# and 15#. Maybe I was just being too much of a conversationalist and he was trying to get rid of me. Then again, an expo is for convincing people to try your product. Who knows?

I spooled up the 15# line after the Halo that had been spooled on one of my reels ran its course. I've had it spooled on for about four or five weeks now. Yep. It's doing pretty good so far. I think I have enough of an impression now to write up my thoughts.

Let's look at how it performs as a fluorocarbon line. Let me start with the best part. In my opinion, the abrasion resistance blows other lines out of the water. Maybe it's because I'm using the thicker 15# version, but I can run this line against cypress trees, cypress limbs, and weed stems at the base of cypress trees without even a scratch most of the time. I've wrapped a lure in loops around a limb, yanked it in an attempt to shake loose, and was forced to undo everything by hand. Upon inspecting the line, not a single scratch could be found. There have been a few occasions where cypress limbs have damaged the line, but so far, it has proven to be one tough line. Not a single break off to speak of either.

The sensitivity was not as pronounced as I would have liked it to be. I could feel a lure bounce against things and could certainly tell the difference between a bite and a twig. On occasion, I could even feel the lure fall. I was able to feel a jig tilt as I shook it. Bites were extremely easy to notice too. With regard to sensitivity, I will leave you with this thought. I'm pretty sure the sensitivity will be there when you need it, but I'm not sure how good it really is until I bump it around some more.

This line did have an element of stretch in it. P-Line Halo and Trilene Fluorocarbon all had the same amount of springy stretch though, so maybe it's normal. I've had a couple of fish throw me, but I don't think I can blame the line for it. Fluorocarbon is not supposed to have any stretch, although the Tackle Tour FC Shootout showed the low stretch claims to be a somewhat loose fallacy. They all had a bit of stretch in that test. Another problem with fluorocarbon is that after being stretched, it stays that way. My hooksets have been fairly consistent, so I don't have any complaints.

Visibility was tested in crystal clear tap water. Of course, I don't have Fish-O-Vision, so I'm not sure how useful testing line visibility can be when using the human eye. I could still see it pretty well in clear water. In a real world setting, a fish nipped at my line when fishing parallel to the pier the other day. It must not be as invisible as they claim ("virtually invisible underwater"). Although fish might be able to see this line, I caught numerous decent fish using it.

Sink rate is something I was not all that concerned about. For cranking purposes, I was able to feel a lure rated for a diving depth of six feet drag bottom in six to seven feet of water. The goal is to get your lure into the ideal strike zone faster and perhaps allow a lure to swim deeper than its rated diving depth. Soft plastics should also hang at the desired depth as you work them across the bottom. Vicious Fluorocarbon appears to live up to this expectation. I want to put it up against topwater techniques to see if I can get away with it. Generally speaking, you don't want to use a line which sinks when using topwater lures. It can't hurt to give it a try though.

Casting has also been a relatively pleasant experience. I have only been faced with two backlashes. Both can be blamed on playing with my baitcaster braking systems a bit too much. Otherwise, the line was easy to control, very smooth on the way out, and offered a slightly improved casting distance. A healthy dose of line conditioner helped in the beginning. After letting it sit overnight, I noticed a whirring noise while casting it the following day. I thought my reel needed to be oiled, but I learned it was actually the sound of the line rubbing against itself as it came off the spool. Applying more conditioner fixed that, but I discovered all I really needed to do was just get the line wet again.

Memory has not been a big issue either. Other fluorocarbon lines tend to coil up in very narrow-spaced loops. I noticed some stiffness and broad spirals from memory after being spooled on the reel, but relatively speaking, the line behaved itself. The consistency of this line reminded me of Trilene FC, but it lacked that wiry feel that Trilene is known for. Suppleness in a fishing line is a characteristic I appreciate, but unfortunately, Vicious FC cannot be considered a soft line. I'm not sure I should expect fluorocarbon to be very supple anyway.

Some stats:
(Interesting that the diameter appears to correspond to line rating)
Available in 4-20# test
15# has a .015in diameter
12# has a .012in diameter
Color: lo-vis clear
Made in the USA

Need a guide for picking out which line you will need? They provide this simple graph on the back of the box.

There was a typo on the back of the box I purchased. It read "diamter" instead of "diameter." I wonder if the printing mistake has been corrected. Tsk tsk tsk. I know I make typos every now and then, but a company putting out a product should really be able to catch those sorts of mistakes. Remind me to check the next box I buy.

So where does that leave me? Halo is still going to be a strong player in my lineup, but for the price, Vicious FC is going to slide in and take some of the work away from both Halo and Gamma Copolymer. Why? Purely for the abrasion resistance. I change line more often than I'd like because of nicks and scratches. With the cypress trees greening up, getting caught in limbs will be a problem. I need to start saving money on fishing line. Anything that lasts a little longer gets my vote of confidence.

Best two fish so far have been 3lb 15oz and 5lb 6oz, but I've hooked many other 2-3lb'ers. Vicious Fluorocarbon works for me. You ought to give it a try.

Vicious Fishing
Vicious Fluorocarbon

Related Posts:
Vicious Fishing Line Conditioner
Gamma Copolymer
P-Line Halo
Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon
Trilene Fluorocarbon First Impressions
Trilene Fluorocarbon Day 2

Related Links:
Polyvinylidene Fluoride Wiki

In honor of this being my 300th post here at my blog, I would like to thank all of my subscribers, visitors, and those who have left comments. Without readers, my blog wouldn't be where it is today. Here's to 300 more. Thanks for reading!


Rich said...

Nice job, I concur, that Vicious may not be the easiest to handle but it seems to be the toughest and probably the best Value!

Anonymous said...

I personally think Trilene 100% handles better, but the Vicious is some tough stuff. Both are made here in the USA so either option works for me.