Braided Line vs Monofilament Line vs Fluorocarbon Line Comparison

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Having a reliable and high-quality fishing line is important in every fisherman’s tackle box, but which one do you use and when?

The three main fishing lines anglers use are braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon line, and in this article, we compare each one and when to use each one for the best results.

Select your article of interest from the list below to access the full in-depth review and my buying guide for each category.

What Is The Best Fishing Line To Choose?

The first consideration is that braid and monofilament lines float. Fluorocarbon sinks, so you will easily notice the difference once you cast your bait out. Therefore, if you plan to fish in an environment where low visibility is a must, then fluorocarbon is your best choice.

Braid has more feel, strength, and sensitivity. But using a braided line is far more expensive than the other two options. Unless you are an accomplished angler, I recommend not using a braid, as it is far more difficult to handle.

Braid is typically used by bass, carp, and saltwater fishermen in heavily weeded or areas with underwater structures such as rocks.. It has also been known to be banned in certain fishing waters due to it reportedly injuring fish.

Most anglers would always choose monofilament as the first option due to its lower price and overall flexibility. It is also much easier for the beginner to use, and for general fishing, it is always the best choice.

Mono is abrasion-resistant and has a little stretch, which allows the angler a more manageable task when landing a fighting fish. Tying strong knots is simple with mono, and casting is easier. These factors make mono meet almost all fishing scenarios, where braid and fluorocarbon line are suited for more specific conditions.

How Do Fishing Lines Compare?

The below table shows the major differences between monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braid. Each line has its characteristics, unique attributes, and interaction with others.

PriceAbrasion ResistanceBuoyancyCastingKnot StrengthMemorySensitivityStretchStrength Vs DiameterVisibility
FluoroHighVery HighNoTanglesHighHighHighLowMediumLow
BraidHighVery HighYesBacklashLowZeroHighZeroHighHigh
Comparing fishing line characteristics

If you specialize in trout fly fishing, you should check out my article on the best fly line for trout fishing, which explains why fly lines are different and what makes the best type to use for specific conditions.


If you’re an angler who likes to feel every single movement in your setup, then braid is for you. It’s extremely sensitive, and you can feel it whenever your bait is bumped by a fish or hung up on some weeds. 

Benefits Of Braid

The most significant benefit of braid is that anglers finally have a line to use when fishing around heavy cover. We all know fish like to sit in dense areas with trees and rocks. In the past, anglers had no braid option, and the fluoro and mono weren’t strong enough to withstand these types of areas. 

The kevlar strands that are woven together are amazingly strong in comparison to how thin it is. You can throw a jig into every part of the water without worrying that your line will snap. 

Also, when you feel take your bait or lure, there isn’t going to be any stretch on your line. As soon as you set that hook, it pins itself into the mouth of the fish. It won’t have any time to react or try and spit the hook before it’s too late. 

Also, due to its thinner diameter, you can spool far more of it on your reel. The thinness of the line also makes it easier to cast long distances. This is a great positive for saltwater anglers, where casting longer distances can make a difference when finding the fish. 

Comparing fishing line strength vs diameter is an important consideration many anglers fail to take advantage of.

Negatives Of Braid

For beginners, using braid can be a challenge. If you aren’t used to it, you’ll likely get tangles the first few times you cast with it. It takes some time to figure out, but with practice, eventually backlash and “bird nests” will become a thing of the past. 

Also, it’s not overly difficult for the fish to detect, so you’re not able to stay hidden in that ultra-clear water; it would be best to choose to fish with fluorocarbon. 


Anglers of all skill levels and types have used monofilament for years for spin and baitcasting. At one point, 20 years ago, it was used by more than 90% of anglers. Today, it’s still the most popular line on the market. However, over recent years, its popularity has decreased due to braid and fluorocarbon line technology advancements. 

Benefits Of Monofilament

Monofilament is a great option for anglers who require a stretchy line that floats. You can use it for multiple styles of fishing, especially when using topwater lures for bass and trout. The line sits on the surface, keeping your topwater lure even higher than a braid or fluorocarbon line would. 

If you’re the type of angler who likes to fish with crankbaits or spinnerbaits, then monofilament is a good choice. The stretch in the line gives the lure more action and also allows fish to take the bait and “play” with the hook for a bit. A braid or fluorocarbon line would immediately set the hook on the fish and likely cause them to spit out the lure. Use that stretch to your advantage. 

This line is also fairly tough and amenable. You can tie knots and move them around however you would like. It can rub against rocks, logs, and the teeth of fish but still keep its strength. You can trust that it’s going to work hard for you.

The most important benefit of this line is that it’s cheap! It’s far cheaper than Fluoro or Braid, so keep that in mind if you’re on a budget. 

Negatives Of Monofilament Line

The most important thing to understand about monofilament is that it’s not the ideal stealth line. Monofilament will give you away all day if you’re fishing crystal clear water for spooky fish. It’s generally available in green and brown rather than clear, so that’s another way it gives anglers away. 

The stretch that the line has also may not be what you want! If you need that stiffness for your quick hook sets, then don’t choose it. 


Fluorocarbon is essentially an improved monofilament. This line is also extremely versatile and can be used in almost any fishing situation. It has its fair share of both positives and negatives! It’s all about the situations you need it to perform with. 

Positives Of Fluorocarbon Line

Fluorocarbon is quite stretchy. As a result, it will work well for jerkbaits, crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits, and topwater lures. You can make your casts into heavy cover or open water, allowing you to move the bait wherever you want. These situations call for a line that can hold its own, and fluoro will. 

The stretchiness also allows the fish to bite the bait and not immediately feel tension. This is important if you’re targeting finicky fish that may not want to chomp down on your bait as soon as they see it. 

The best feature of this line is that it’s almost invisible. When fishing for trout and bass, you want to make sure the presentation is as natural as possible, and fluorocarbon lets you cast in that gin clear water without worrying too much about it being seen. It has the same refractive qualities as water and blends in almost perfectly. 

Plus, it’s the same diameter as monofilament so that it can withstand a decent amount of abrasion as well! 

Anglers use a monofilament line on most of their reel spools as the main line and let fluorocarbon be their leader. This is a good option if you’re looking for the best presentation, plus at a slightly lower price. 

Negatives Of Fluorocarbon Line 

The biggest downside of fluorocarbon is that it’s about twice as expensive as monofilament. For anglers who fish quite a bit, the continual purchasing of a line can add up over time. However, the benefits may outweigh the downsides, depending on your preferences! 

Another potential downside is the stretchiness of the line! If you aren’t as eager to have that line stretch with your bait, then make sure you keep that in mind. 

Final Thoughts

Fishing line isn’t something that most anglers talk about when you’re out with your friends. It’s usually time to swap stories of fish that got away or trips with insane conditions. However, if you want to set yourself apart as an angler, you’ll put in some time to learn about the differences between the three primary lines. It’ll only serve you well when you’re out on the water! 

One brand that stands out is the Maxima line range of fluoro, mono, and braid. Maxima has a quality and well-respected option for every scenario.

Remember, as the interface between you and the fish, your line choice is crucial, and you should always buy the best you can afford!

Steve Fitzjohn