The first consideration is that braid and monofilament lines float. Fluorocarbon sinks, so once you have cast your bait out you will notice the difference very easily. Therefore, if you plan to go fishing 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 would recommend not using a braid as it is far more difficult to handle.
Braid is typically used by bass or carp fisherman in heavily weeded areas. It has also been known to be banned in certain fishing waters, you can read more on this here!
Most anglers would always choose monofilament as the first option due to the lower price and its 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 an easier task when landing a fighting fish. Tying strong knots is simple with mono, and casting is very easy. These factors make mono meet almost all fishing scenarios, where braid and fluorocarbon line may be the wrong choice.
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.
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 every time your bait is bumped by a fish or hung up on some weeds.
Benefits Of Braid
The biggest benefit of braid is that anglers finally have a line to use when they’re fishing 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 for how thin it is. You can throw a jig into every part of the water and not have to worry that your line is going to snap.
Also, when you feel that fish hit, there isn’t going to be any stretch on your line. As soon as you set that hook, it’s pinning 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, braid is amazingly thin, so you can fit a ton of it on your reel. The thinness of the line also makes it very easy to cast long distances. This is great for saltwater anglers of all kinds.
Negatives Of Braid
For beginners, braid can be a challenge. If you aren’t used to it, you’ll likely find yourself getting tangled the first few times you handle it. It takes some time to figure out since it is so thin.
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 around 20 years ago, it still is the most popular line on the market. Now, however, the popularity has dropped recently due to advancements in braid and fluorocarbon line technology.
Benefits Of Monofilament
For anglers who require a stretchy line that’ll float, then monofilament is a great option for you. You can use this if you’re fishing topwater lures for bass and even trout. The line sits on the surface and keeps 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 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 main benefit of this line is that it’s cheap! It’s far cheaper than fluoro or braid, so keep that in mind.
Negatives Of Monofilament Line
The most important thing to understand about monofilament is that it’s not the ideal stealth line. If you’re fishing crystal clear water for spooky fish, monofilament is going to give you away all day long. Also, it’s generally a different color than clear, so that’s another popular way that 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’s going to work well for jerkbaits, crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits, and topwater. You can make your casts into heavy cover or open water and it’s going to allow you to move the bait wherever you would like. These situations call for a line that can hold its own, and fluoro will.
The stretchiness also gives the fish a chance 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 it sees it.
The best feature of this line is that it’s almost invisible. Fish like trout and bass want to make sure the presentation is as natural as possible and fluorocarbon lets you cast in that gin clear water without having to worry about being seen or not. It has the same refractive qualities as water does, so it blends in almost perfectly.
Plus, it’s the same diameter as monofilament, so it’s able to withstand a decent amount of abrasion as well!
Anglers choose to use a monofilament line on most of their reel and let fluorocarbon be their leader. This is a good option if you’re looking for more of a budget option.
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.
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!
With these fishing line guides, we are confident that you will be able to make the right choice for a successful fishing trip. Please check out all my articles on fishing line and braid here!
Remember your line choice is crucial and you should always buy the best you can afford!
Steve is a seasoned angler whose lifelong passion for fishing has not only shaped his personal life but also laid the foundation for Positive Fishing—a community where he and his team of dedicated fishing enthusiasts share their love for the sport. With an impressive repertoire of skills honed over five decades, Steve has mastered both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Steve holds a special place in his heart for the mighty Carp and the elusive Tench