Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon review

Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon is regarded as one of the highest quality tippet materials on the market and works brilliantly. However, it's expensive stuff.

Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon review
© Fly and Lure
Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon review
Tippet and leaders Estimated reading time 6 - 9 minutes

What is Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon?

Riverge Grand Max is a high-end fluorocarbon tippet material which claims to be the world's strongest. It's Japanese made by Kureha, whose Seaguar arm also produces other popular fluorocarbon lines including Riverge, Grand Max, Soft Plus, Ace Hard and Reel Soft.

Riverge Grand Max is a well-established product, having been on the market for nearly 20 years and it's earned a reputation as being one of the most reliable and effective premium fluorocarbons you can buy. It's got less stretch than standard Riverge tippet.

Riverge Grand Max is popular with competition fly fishers.

Why use a fluorocarbon tippet or leader material?

Fluorocarbon leader and tippet materials have a refractive index which is closer to that of water than other types of monofilament fishing line. This means that when they're wet, they're much harder for fish to see. Lots of people suggest that they're invisible to fish, which is probably unlikely, but it makes sense that they'd be easier to overlook.

As well as being a bit harder to see, fluorocarbon line is easier to knot and rarely pigtails when lubricated and is also a bit more resilient and a bit denser. This helps it sink below the surface better and it requires little or no degreasing which can be great when fishing dries.

Both hard and soft forms of fluorocarbon are available, depending on your application. Softer ones probably aid presentation and make flies a bit more mobile and allow them to move more naturally, but the downside is that they can tangle more if used for droppers.

Riverge Grand Max is great for dries.

What's so special about Riverge Grand Max?

It's really strong for its diameter and knots perfectly. So I've read, Grand Max has a slightly different structure to some other fluorocarbon lines on the market, so knots better and results in greater strength for its diameter. It's also a relatively soft and limp line as fluorocarbons go, so flies behave as natural foodstuffs would and trout are more likely to take them.

There is an even softer version available called Grand Max Soft Plus if you want something even limper, but a little bit of stiffness does help with turnover and can minimise tangles when fishing with droppers. However, in a nutshell, this is a high-end line with a reputation for quality and reliability.

Grand Max knots brilliantly and without pig-tailing.

What sizes does it come in?

Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon is available in all of the common X ratings from really thin 0.1mm 8X, which has a breaking strain of 2.4lb, right up to 02X which has a breaking strain of 22lb, despite being only 0.36mm in diameter. It comes on either 30 or 100-yard spools. The 3X, 4X and 5X diameters are ideal for most trout fishing on UK stillwaters.

X rating Diameter Breaking strain
8X 0.10mm 2.4lb
7X 0.12mm 3.5lb
6X 0.14mm 4.75lb
5X 0.16mm 6lb
4X 0.19mm 7.5lb
3X 0.21mm 9.5lb
2X 0.24mm 12.5lb
1X 0.26mm 14.5lb
0X 0.29mm 16.5lb
01X 0.33mm 18lb
02X 0.36mm 22lb
 Grand Max comes in loads of different sizes.

What is Riverge Grand Max like to use?

I've been using the Riverge Grand Max in 4X, which is 0.185mm in diameter and has a breaking strain of 7.5lbs. By comparison with other popular premium fluorocarbons, Fulling Mill's Masterclass Fluorocarbon is 0.185mm and 6.5lb in 4X, and Airflo's Sightfree G4 is 0.1778mm and 5.5lb in 4X, so it's fairly thin and claimed to be much stronger.

The benefit of that is that you can potentially scale down your tippet to a thinner diameter to improve presentation and potentially increase catch rate without risking losing fish as the breaking strain still remains sensible. As with other thin and strong tippet materials, it, therefore, makes sense to choose this material based on the diameter you want, rather than the breaking strain, as you then get the benefits.

It's a really nice tippet material to use. It knots better than most other fluorocarbons I've used. There's surprisingly little friction when synching down knots and they tie up very nicely and hold well with no pig-tailing whatsoever. Grinner or uni knots worked brilliantly on flies, while double grinners and surgeons' knots were great for extending tippet and three turn water knots worked well on droppers. Everything tied down tightly and with little need for moistening and the line held tight every time.

Grand Max has proven a reliable line for us.

However, quality doesn't come cheap and it's expensive stuff for everyday use at between 26p and 34p per metre depending on the size of spool you go for, so a typical 15' leader with a couple of droppers will set you back from £1.35 to £1.76. Not the stuff to use on a windy day, therefore... As it's less stretchy (apparently it's "pre-stretched") it has a bit less cushioning than some other fluorocarbon tippet materials, so might be a little bit more likely snap if you get a smash-take.

Works well when pulling lures, twiddling nymphs or fishing dries.

How much does Riverge Grand Max cost?

Riverge Grand Max fluorocarbon is viewed as one of the highest quality tippet materials on the market and is reassuringly expensive as a result. It's distributed in the UK by Fordham and Wakefield and comes in two sizes a 27.4m (30-yard) spool which costs £9.49 (about 34p per metre) and a 91.4m (100-yard) spool which costs £23.49 (about 26p per metre). 

More information: Fordham and Wakefield

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