In today's article, we will discuss the main differences between monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines. There are some glaring differences between each of these three types of line, as well as some subtle ones that you might not be aware of, whether you're an experienced angler or brand new to the sport. There's something for everyone in today's post, so this one is packed to the brim with information. So, let's get started.
What is Monofilament?
Monofilament is the most common line used by bass fishermen, though it is not the oldest. Although a large diameter braided line predates monofilament, it was closer to small rope than the highly sophisticated braided line we use today. Monofilament, or mono for short, became the primary fishing line used by anglers in the 1950s.
A few of the key characteristics of monofilament are its transparency, its floatability, and its durability. We will talk about how these characteristics compare to those of braided and fluorocarbon lines, but the thing you need to know about monofilament is that it is typically a very affordable line that can do a lot. There are so many anglers who fish with it because of that.
What is Braided?
Braided line is highly visible, has little to no stretch, floats, and has the highest pound test for its diameter. As braided line has the smallest diameter of all three lines, it makes a great mainline for spinning reels since it has the least memory. When it comes to fishing lines, memory refers to the line's ability to maintain its shape once it comes off the spool. A line with a lot of memory causes line twists—a common nuisance on spinning reels spooled with monofilament and fluorocarbon. Still, many techniques require at least a fluorocarbon or mono leader when using braided line on a spinning reel.
Due to its strength and low stretch, braided line is extremely effective for flipping and pitching, especially in low visibility and heavy cover. Its abrasion resistance and cutting power make braided a great tool for tearing through thick vegetation in the fight to free fish from matted grasses. The fact that it floats also makes it a good choice for topwater, such as hollow body frogs that are typically fished near heavy cover.
What is Fluorocarbon?
For advanced anglers, this type of line is a staple. The majority of professional bass fishermen use fluorocarbon, or fluoro, a lot. It's because it's so versatile. It combines many of the advantages of braid and mono into a super line that eliminates some of the drawbacks of each. Fluoro has much less stretch than mono, similar to braid. In contrast to braid, fluoro is transparent, even more so than mono. Abrasion resistance is also higher than mono, but not as high as braided, it is also more sensitive than mono, but not as sensitive as braid.
Fluorocarbon sinks, so it is different from mono and braid in that way. Fluorocarbon is also the least visible of the three materials. This makes it an excellent line for subsurface baits, especially in clear water situations where visibility is good. Therefore, you should almost always fish fluoro crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jerkbaits. However, you can't fish a topwater on fluorocarbon, because the sinking of your line will make it almost impossible to keep the bait on top of the water.
Thoughts on Top Waters
Fluorocarbon is out for topwater baits. When should you use braid and when should you use mono? Even though monofilament could be used a lot of the time with topwaters, it's best to use thin wired treble hooks in open water at close quarters. If you're getting bites close to the boat, you should cast a finesse popper on mono. In this case, the low stretch of braid could warp thin-wired treble hooks on hookset or during the fight. Mono's stretch absorbs a lot of that tension, making it a better choice.
Thoughts on subsurface or below the waterline
Monofilament can be extremely effective with jerk baits, wake baits, and shallow running crankbaits, especially when you want to keep these baits above the surface. That's always the case for wake baits, so mono and braid are the best options. The buoyancy of monofilament, however, sometimes makes it a better choice than fluoro for jerkbaits and crankbaits when you want to fish them in shallow water. If you're fishing a jerkbait that runs 7 to 8 feet on fluoro, switching to mono should keep the jerkbait around 4 to 5 feet below the surface.
Thoughts on Bottom Baits
In the case of baits along the bottom, such as jigs, Texas rigs, and shaky heads, several factors are involved. These include water clarity, cover, and depth. When flipping a jig around stumps in two feet of muddy water, go with braid. As a result, it's more abrasion-resistant, and the visibility is less important. A football jig dragged in 20 feet of water requires fluorocarbon, regardless of the water clarity. If you used braid, your line would float and create a large bow, making it difficult to fish the jig effectively and get a good hookset.