There are many options available when it comes to choosing the fishing line for your rod and reel. Each type of line has pros and cons and none of them are perfect for every situation.
Monofilament Fishing Line
Monofilament has long been used by bass fisherman, and for many years was the only line used. It is available in different colors to match different conditions and is relatively invisible underwater. Monofilament is water permeable which means it is a supple line that relaxes in the water. This makes mono easy to handle when fishing. It works well on both spinning and casting reels.
Monofilament has more stretch than fluorocarbon and braid. This can be both positive and negative. The stretch helps to keep fish hooked up when they try to shake the lure. It creates shock absorption that keeps tension on the fish as it shakes and turns. During colder weather when fish are moving slow the stretch can improve hooksets. It also helps with hooksets when using lures with treble hooks. When long lining or making long casts to fish the stretch can be a draw back. The rod needs to make up for the stretch in the line before the hook drives into the fish’s mouth. This means that when using monofilament, the angler should use a stiff rod and remember to make a powerful hookset.
The low visibility to fish and monofilaments buoyancy also make it ideal for topwater bait presentations.
Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
Fluorocarbon has become very popular in recent years with tournament and recreational anglers. The biggest features you will hear about is that it refracts light the same as water. This makes the line invisible underwater, which is a great asset when finesse fishing in clear water. Fluorocarbon is also more abrasion resistant than monofilament and does not stretch as much. The abrasion resistance is sought after when fishing around structure. The limited stretch makes the line more sensitive than monofilament.
Fluorocarbon is the most versatile of the three types of fishing line. Anglers have switched to it for many styles of fishing, from Texas rig soft plastics to crank baits. Fluorocarbon does not float like mono, it sinks. It also has a slightly smaller diameter per pound test than monofilament. These features allow crankbaits to run deeper and soft plastic to sink faster. Top water fishing is the one type of angling that fluorocarbon does not excel at. It inhibits the lures action because it sinks.
The largest drawback to fluorocarbon is its stiffness. Companies have improved the suppleness of their lines greatly in the last decade, but they are still much stiffer than monofilament. This can cause issues with spinning reels and backlash on casting reels. The additional cost over mono can also be a drawback. It is important to remember when factoring in the cost of fluorocarbon that the UV resistance can give it a longer lifespan than monofilament.
Braid Fishing Line
Braid or super-lines are the oldest type of fishing line. It is very strong and extremely abrasion resistant. Older braided lines were flat in construction and stiff. These lines were apt to cause terrible backlashes on casting reels that were impossible to get out. Newer premium braided lines are round in construction and much easier to use.
Braided lines have zero stretch which makes them extremely sensitive. The lack of stretch can be a drawback when fighting fish and for hooksets. Fish can shake hooks easier and it is possible to rip hooks through the fish’s mouth if you have too powerful of a hookset. To combat the lack of stretch many anglers who fish braid will use a rod that has a softer or slower action.
Braided lines are not ideal for clear water finesse fishing because they are opaque and very visible in the water. Anglers who use braided line will attach a Monofilament or Fluorocarbon leader to help this.
Braid is much thinner in diameter per pound test than both monofilament and fluorocarbon. This allows lures to run much deeper. The added depth and sensitivity (lack of stretch) make braided line a good choice for trolling and long lining.
It also shines when fishing thick grass or pads. The line cuts through the vegetation allowing the angler to hook and muscle fish out of dense cover. The abrasion resistance give the angler confidence to horse fish out of tight cover situations that may cause other lines to break. Commonly anglers will use a short 2’ to 4’ heavy fluorocarbon leader when flipping pads for added stealth.
Next time you are purchasing new line for a rod and reel make sure you think about the style of fishing you will do with it. Weigh the pros and cons of each line type and you are sure to make the right decision.