Braided line and monofilament line are two of the most common fishing lines found on the water today. Many people prefer one over the other and will argue for hours as to why everyone should use their preference. By examining these closely today, you should have a better understanding about which line is truly better for your fishing style.
Braided line is basically exactly what it sounds like – line that is braided using thread-like fibers, often which are synthetic nowadays. These synthetic materials combine to form a fishing line that is extraordinarily strong. This line is so strong that manufacturers can actually use less of this to make the same pound test line as monofilament, so it has a much smaller diameter than monofilament. For example, 15 lb test braided line would have roughly the same diameter as only 4 pound test monofilament.
How does this affect fishing? Well, for starters you can cast further as it slices through the wind easily, and is often coated with a very slick coating that really makes it glide through your guides on the rod. It means you can fish with higher pound test on a reel rated for a certain poundage of mono. Most reel ratings are for monofilament. As an example, let’s say a reel is rated for 180 yards of 8 lb test mono. If you wanted to use braid on this, you would want to spool it with 30 pound braid, which enables you to do a whole different style of fishing then. Could you merely put 8 pound braid on there and put close to 300 yards? You could, but line manufacturers like PowerPro don’t recommend it. It may cause your reel to handle differently, and if you fish with a baitcasting reel, the line is so small it digs into itself, causing backlashes.
Another benefit of braided line is it’s virtual lack of memory. These lines, especially after the first couple outings, are pretty much limp and retain no memory at all regardless of what you did with them last. This makes them easy to work with.
Braided lines also have no stretch, which creates a whole new fishing experience. When setting the hook, you must be careful not to set it too hard or you’ll about pull the fish out of the water, snap the line, or pull your lure out of the fishes mouth. Many people learn to set their drag a little lower so they can’t overset the hook. This lack of stretch also gives one more great factor, my favorite – these lines are so sensitive you can practically map the bottom out with them. This makes them outstanding for feeling bites and more.
As far as cons go, braid definitely has a couple. Many people will not use them deep sea fishing, as if you get a finger tangled in the line when a fish is on you’ll lose the finger before the line breaks. The shock of having no stretch can also be hard on your gear, all depending on how you have your drag set. Most importantly, these lines are not invisible. Fish see them and many people report catching less fish when they are finicky if they are using braid. Always use a mono leader if you are fishing these finicky fish, such as walleyes.
Monofilament broken down would mean a “single filament of line.” This is exactly what it is – not put together in pieces, but rather formed into one single long line, normally made of nylon or other plastics. They also come in specialty packages like the one shown above where two materials are combined to form a monofilament line.
The biggest benefit to mono and the reason so many people use it is it’s invisibility. It’s hard to see and definitely increases your chances of catching finicky fish. You can use it as leader material as well. Some people may also wonder why I listed stretchy as a pro – this is because it is a good thing in many situations where you need to let the fish take it, take it easy on the hookset, and it’s easier on your equipment. Most importantly, it absorbs shocks well due to its stretchiness, so if you are fishing for hard hitting fish, they are less likely to break your line. One more benefit of mono is it is normally quite a bit cheaper than braid or fluorocarbon.
Mono does come with it’s share of issues, with memory being the biggest. This line always gathers memory from sitting on your reel, so it is harder to cast and control. It’s also not as strong diameter-wise as braid, so it can get super thick if you need 80 pound test, often becoming difficult to handle. Lastly, it is less durable. It breaks down from many little nicks, constantly drying out and getting wet, and stretching all the time.
So, which one wins the battle? The answer is both. Each line has its benefits as well as shortcomings. Braid is strong and sensitive, but not invisible, while mono is stretchy, invisible, and cheap, but also thick, has memory, and not very strong. Try both of them out and see for yourself which one you prefer. Click here to read about the best spinning reels and here to read about the best baitcasters to pair your line with. Good luck!