What is Fulling Mill MasterClass Copolymer?
Fulling Mill Masterclass Copolymer is the top of the range nylon leader and tippet material from Fulling Mill and sits alongside its high-end Masterclass Fluorocarbon, which we used heavily last season. While Masterclass Fluorocarbon is notoriously expensive (though you do get what you pay for), Masterclass Copolymer is a lot more affordable and more cost-effective to use as an everyday tippet or leader material.
Why use copolymer over fluorocarbon?
While some people swear by using fluorocarbon for fishing dry flies, the accepted wisdom is that it's a bit too dense and can cause dry flies to sink a bit. Copolymer is less dense so keeps flies higher in the water, which is better for dries and also other patterns you want to remain near the surface, such as nymphs under a washing line setup. It also tends to be a bit softer, so presentation can also be improved.
What are the specs?
Masterclass Copolymer comes in X ratings from 7X to 2X. The 7X tippet has a very fine 0.107mm diameter and a 1.99lb breaking strain, so this is going to be the stuff for those tiny trout on small brooks. For standard dry fly fishing on rivers and stillwaters you'll probably want the 4.5X stuff, which has a breaking strain of around 5.56lb and a diameter of 0.173mm. The thickest diameters are pretty decent for pulling lures and fishing bigger nymphs, we found.
Strength for diameter varies a bit across the range. The thinner diameters tend to be a bit less strong than the comparable diameter of Masterclass Fluorocarbon, but it's negligible on the lower X ratings. You'd probably barely notice it, I reckon.
|X rating||Breaking strain||Diameter|
|7X||1.99lb / 0.90kg||0.107mm|
|6X||2.96lb / 1.35kg||0.130mm|
|5X||3.91lb / 1.78kg||0.151mm|
|4.5X||5.56lb / 2.53kg||0.173mm|
|4X||6.65lb / 3.02kg||0.187mm|
|3X||7.99lb / 3.63kg||0.209mm|
|2X||10.15lb / 4.61kg||0.239mm|
What are the spools like?
Masterclass Copolymer uses the same style spool as Masterclass Fluorocarbon, only with the spools orange rather than red so you can quickly tell them apart. The spools have the usual central hole so you can thread them onto a T-bar spool tender or your lanyard and they lock together so they don't jangle around when walking. The spool bands on these are much improved over the old ones. They're black rubber bands clearly printed with the tippet X rating, so it's very easy to tell which spool is which. Each spool contains 50m.
What is it like to use?
We've been using Masterclass Copolymer in 3X, 4X, 5X and 6X ratings for a month or so and have got through a good 100m of the stuff. It knots well with a bit of moisture and there's little if any pig-tailing and knots form neatly and hold well. It's really nice stuff to use. It's a nice supple line and presents really well.
We've used it for both fishing dries and for nymphs and lures and it's worked well in every application. If you're fishing dries you will, of course, need to give it a coating of mud, such as Fuller's Mud, to help take the shine off and let it sink just below the surface, otherwise, it may float upon the surface film. The mud improves performance and catch rate considerably.
It's worked really well for us. With George using another brand and me on the Masterclass, I even outfished him a couple of times, though I'm not sure how much of this is attributable to the line. It's proven fairly reliable, with few breakages, except when we've been fishing too light for the unexpected size of larger fish.
How much does it cost?
Fulling Mill provided this for us to review. It's far less expensive than their excellent Masterclass Fluorocarbon and costs just £6.45 per 50m spool. This is a little more than regular copolymer tippet, but it is nice to use and seems to be a reliable and effective material.
Available from: Fulling Mill