Steve Souter is a bit of a tackle animal. Here he subjects a new fluorocarbon line to some real brutality, but first, some fluoro facts.
Before investigating Tubertini Fantasm lets talk a little about fluorocarbons. The world of fishing fluorocarbons is not all that it seems to the casual eye. There are few 100% pure sea fishing fluorocarbons sold across the UK. Pure fluorocarbon can be difficult to work with and arguably is not always the best for rig building purposes. Let me explain.
Genuine fluoro downsides are several-fold: They are typically of a wiry constitution, which is compounded by being sold on very small spools. Straightness is achieved by introducing subtle friction by drawing a length through the hand a few times and pulling straight… but this is a pain in the rear if you’ve lots of rigs to build. Diameters tend to be higher by comparison to identical strains of mono lines, and bona fide fluoros are also not the easiest to knot tidily. The most obvious indicator of a 100% fluoro is the price… the real deal does not come cheap, and it is not unusual to pay well over £15 for a 50m spool.
Having cleared that up we can draw attention to what the majority of products labelled as fluorocarbons actually are. Most are in fact copolymer/fluoro polymer hybrid bonds with typically a copolymer core and fluorocarbon exterior. Fluoro-coats, fluoro-bonds or fluoro-brids might be more accurate descriptions for many of the best selling products that sea anglers take as read for fluorocarbons proper. Pure or otherwise, fluorocarbons possess similar surface refractivities to water, making them near invisible to begin with. But they are prone to surface scuffing, kinking and eventual fraying which serves to counteract the ultra-low visibility properties. Indeed the very action of pulling a knot tight can scar the line immediately behind the hook or swivel, and extra care should be taken when knotting fluoros.
Fluorocarbon or Fluoro-Coat?
Tubertini Fantasm carries the product sub-heading of ‘Polyvinylidene Fluoride Fluorocarbon’, which is to say that this is a trend-bucking, GENUINE fluorocarbon. Although displayed in Italian, the product packaging gives the different refractive indexes of water at 1.33, fluorocarbon at 1.37 and nylon line at 1.52. This very simply illustrates the close match fluoro has to water, and how near invisibility is achieved. Fantasm comes on 25 metre spools, and five different breaking strains/diameters are currently available through Weymouth Angling Centre. I tested the 7.2kg and 9.1kg, which are 0.25mm and 0.33mm in respective diameters – these diameters are favourably low for a fluorocarbon. Despite a compact spool, the line displays very little spool memory. A quick draw through the hand morphs the line straight. Surprisingly supple by real fluorocarbon standards, it produces neat knots/loops with no obvious residual ‘crinkling’ behind knots. It also ties off well behind a two-way rig bead and takes a dropper loop well.
Linear knot strength and shock strength fresh from the spool are good, both wet and dry. Thereafter, Fantasm was subject to the ‘sandpaper test’, which first involves rasping the line with a medium grade wet and dry paper. The fluoro is then examined for visible wear, before knots are re-tied in the worn line and the product once more tested for strength. Fantasm stood up well to my rubbing brutalities, and didn’t immediately shred and surrender like many of the fluoro-coats I have tested over the years. As can only be expected, the line did fray and fur very visibly after several passes through the sandpaper. The real surprise was that the Fantasm did not burst when I proceeded to stretch and jerk the merry hell out of it having just scuffed it to death. The fact is that the line would have cut into my hand before snapping. And no normal fishing situation or fish would test the line beyond these efforts.
I am not an angler who uses fluorocarbon for everything, but I do like it for clear water situations for particularly bass, pollack and bream. I also regularly use fluoros on my multi-hook match rigs and Fantasm has successfully answered the questions I have asked of it so far. It only comes in 25 metres spools and is expensive at a penny short of £15 for the 9.1kg, and £10.99 for the 7.2kg. Such is the price of quality.
Breaking strains/diameters and prices
- 6.5kg/0.26mm – £9.99
- 7.2kg/0.285mm – £10.99
- 9.1kg/0.33mm – £14.99
- 11kg/0.37mm – £15.99