Airflo SightFree G4 fluorocarbon review

Airflo SightFree G4 is a fluorocarbon tippet material that is both thinner and stronger than its predecessor Airflo Sightfree G3.

Airflo SightFree G4 fluorocarbon review
© Fly and Lure
Airflo SightFree G4 fluorocarbon review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Airflo SightFree G4 fluorocarbon review
Estimated reading time 5 - 8 minutes

What is Airflo Sightfree G4?

Airflo Sightfree G4 is a tippet and leader material designed for trout, grayling and salmon fishers on stillwaters and rivers.

Unlike standard monofilament lines, which tend to be copolymers these days, Sightfree G4 is based on fluorocarbon and has a lower optical density, which basically means it's harder for fish to see underwater, so should increase your catch rate, especially if you're fishing clear waters.

How does it differ from Sightfree G3 fluorocarbon tippet material?

Sightfree G3 fluorocarbon has been around for a few years, but G4 only came out in 2016. Effectively, it's an evolution of the old G3, being stronger at the same diameters - or thinner for the same breaking strain.

Probably partially as a result of the lower diameter it also seems to hang a bit more limply, which can help presentation when fishing certain flies. It's got a smooth feel to it, and should you forget to wet your knot, it should still pull tight without leaving a kink in the tippet.

When should I use fluorocarbon?

A lot of fly fishers use fluorocarbon for their leader and tippet material all the time. Others, myself included, tend to use either fluorocarbon or copolymer tippet depending on the situation.

Fluorocarbon is more expensive than copolymer tippet material and there are times when you either don't need to use it (i.e. in very murky water) and times when it performs worse than copolymer.

However, it's harder for fish to see, sinks quicker than copolymer and it's harder and more abrasion resistant. It's often slightly stiffer in general, which is often an advantage when fishing droppers, though G4 hangs almost as limp as copolymers, especially in the lower diameters.

How thin and strong is Sightfree G4?

It's very thin and very strong. The thinnest one is the 6X tippet, which has a diameter of 0.127mm and a breaking strain of about 3.3lb. The strongest is the 1X, which has a diameter of 0.254mm and an 11lb breaking strain. 

By contrast, the cheaper Sightfree G3 6X tippet has a diameter of 0.13mm and a 3lb breaking strain, while the 1X G3 has a diameter of 0.21mm and a breaking strain of 8lb. 

Size Diameter (inches) Diameter (mm) Breaking strain
6X 0.005" 0.127mm 3.3lb
5X 0.006" 0.1524mm 4.4lb
4X 0.007" 0.1778mm 5.5lb
3X 0.008" 0.2032mm 6.6lb
2X 0.009" 0.2286mm 8.8lb
1X 0.010" 0.254mm 11lb

What are the spools like?

The Sightfree G4 spools have been improved since the earlier G3 spool design. This uses the usual notch into which you pull the tippet, however, that can often unravel, especially if you're a lanyard user like me.

The G4 spools are much better. They come with a neat spool band to hold the line in place and prevent unravelling and also have the interlocking spool feature used on the tippet spools of competitors like Greys and Orvis.

If you're carrying several spools, it keeps them all neatly held together and stops them clanking so much. The bands are also labelled with the tippet rating, diameter and breaking strain which makes it easy to find what you're looking for if you've got several spools on your tippet holder.

How much tippet do you get per spool?

Airflo Sightfree G4 comes in different sized spools, depending on how much you need. Most people will buy the standard spools, which hold 30 yards of line (90 feet or 27.4m), but if you need more you'll save a little money by going for the bigger 110-yard spools (which hold 330 feet or 100m of line).

It works.

What's it like to use?

I've been using Airflo Sightfree G3 fluorocarbon for stillwater trout fishing for a couple of years, along with a few other brands of tippet, mainly at the 7 or 8lb breaking strains. I've found it reliable and consistent to use, so have purchased it repeatedly.

G4 is just as good. I use a uni or grinner knot to tie on flies and these synch down nicely with a little salivary lubrication leaving none of the pig-tailing you can get with other lines. Double surgeons' knots used for tying on droppers or lengthening leader also work well. Everything stays put, giving you confidence that your knots will hold when you hook up.

The G4 line is very slightly thinner than G3, but to be honest, it's quite hard to tell in use. It does feel slightly more limp, but has just enough stiffness to prevent droppers tangling or twists occurring when you're fishing dries or anything with a hackle that causes the fly to spin on the retrieve.

I haven't experienced any snap offs and it feels strong when pulled.

Where can I get it?

Both Sightfree G3 and Sightfree G4 are readily available in fly fishing shops and online. The 30 yard spools of G3 are available for £11.99 per spool, but you can often get a buy-one-get-one-free deal, which makes it half the price. G4 is £7.99 per 30 yard spool, so is a fraction more expensive, but it's good stuff, and either one is great value.

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