If you’re new to fishing, then you have probably stumbled upon the option of spooling your reel with braided fishing line instead of the usual monofilament fishing line. But what is braid?
In this article, we will run through everything you need to know about this less frequently used line, from how it’s made, what useful features it has, the best uses, and whether it should be the main line on your fishing reel.
What Is Braided Fishing Line Made From?
Braided fishing line, or braid as it’s usually called, is very different from mono and fluoro line in how it’s made. Mono is made of a single strand of nylon, whereas braid comprises multiple strands of both nylon and dacron.
The way braid is made gives this fishing line its unique set of features compared to the other two lines, making it the better option in certain fishing situations.
10 Benefits Of Using Of Braid
Braid Has A Much Thinner Diameter
The braid would be much thinner if you were to buy a spool of 10 lb braid and a spool of 10 lb mono fishing line. Ten-pound braid has a diameter of 0.011 inches, and ten-pound mono has a diameter of 0.008 inches, so what does this mean when you are fishing?
Bigger Line Capacity
The first benefit of the braid’s thinner diameter is that you can increase the line capacity of your reel or use a heavier pound test on a smaller reel. For example, let’s say that your spinning reel is rated with a line capacity of 250 yards of 0.011-inch diameter line. You’ll be able to spool it with 250 yards of 10-pound mono, 300+ yards of 10-pound braid, or load it up with 250 yards of 30-pound braid with a diameter of 0.011 inches.
Having more line on your reel is incredibly useful when fighting fish that love taking long runs, and having enough heavy line is also great when putting the hurt on big fish with smaller gear.
Improved Casting Accuracy
Regarding casting accuracy, having a thinner diameter is incredibly useful. By being thin, braid has a lot less air resistance than mono which means your casts will have more chance of reaching the exact spot with braid than mono or fluoro lines.
Braids’ lower air resistance also translates to accuracy as it won’t get shifted around by wind while in the air.
Braid Is Very Durable
Of all the fishing lines on the planet, braid is the most durable compared to mono or fluoro, and it lasts almost three to five times longer than mono or fluorocarbon. This is because mono and fluoro fishing lines absorb water and degrade when exposed to UV light.
If you are fishing with a mono fishing line on your reels, you should change it to a new mono line every year if you want to be certain it won’t break on a big fish. When fishing with braid on your reels, changing it every year is not necessary; every two to four years is sufficient.
This means by using a braid; you don’t have to throw lots of line in the bin every year or waste all that time re-spooling your fishing reels. This also makes using braid quite cost-effective as you don’t have to buy more of it all the time – more on this later.
Braid Has Very Low Stretch
By being made of multiple strands of nylon and dacron woven (braided) together, it has little to no stretch whatsoever, and this comes with some benefits. Mono, on the other hand, has a lot of stretch. So, what is so good about a fishing line with minimal stretch?
By having zero stretch, the braid has a lot of sensitivity, meaning that whatever happens at the end of your line will be felt by you at the other end. This becomes very useful for detecting subtle bites, feeling how your lure is swimming, and hooking fish that sit deep, like when you are bottom fishing.
Having close to no stretch also translates to it having a much better energy transfer which in turn equals a longer casting distance.
When you go to cast a lure, the line and weight of your lure load your rod full of energy, and when you finally let go of your cast, that energy leaves your rod and travels through the line to the lure.
When you cast with a braid, more energy transfers into the lure than mono, resulting in longer casts.
Improved Hook Setting
When you fish with a line with minimal stretch and a more direct energy transfer, it allows you to hook fish far more effectively. When a fish with a hard mouth bites your soft plastic, like a largemouth bass, you’ll be able to drive that hook into its mouth far more efficiently than if you were using mono.
However, this has the opposite effect when you’re fishing for species with soft mouths, as with braid, you can easily rip the hook through the fish’s mouth instead of staying connected with it.
Better Fish Fighting Control
By having no stretch, braid gives you the edge when fighting particular species that like to play dirty as it gives you more control over the fight. If you’re fighting, say, a bass or a snook, and it wants to run into mangroves of cover, the zero stretch of braid means it will be able to hold the fish and pull it out of the snag with ease.
If you’re fishing offshore for species that like to dive fast and swim down, like a big yellowfin tuna, then using a braided line will also give you the edge. By having no stretch, you can bring those fishing up so much faster than if you were fishing just mono, as the stretch of mono allows the fish to take control of the fight.
Braid Has A High Tensile Strength
If you compare the strength of the other fishing line to the braid, you’ll find that it has a stronger tensile strength. This means that braided fishing line is stronger than mono when pulled lengthways and, therefore, will handle a fight with a dogged fish much better.
4 Cons Of Using Braid
Braided Fishing Line Is Expensive
When you’re in the tackle shop or browsing online, you’ll immediately notice that braid is about three times the price of other fishing lines, so it’s pretty expensive.
If you want to fish with braid, you will have to make a larger upfront investment, and if you own ten reels that need braid, your budget needs to be quite big.
But, you must remember that braid lasts longer than mono; therefore, it works out at about the same cost as buying new mono every year.
Braided Fishing Line Isn’t Great For Knots
Braid is light, wispy, and, to be quite honest, a pain in the ass to tie knots with! It also has a much lower knot strength than mono as it doesn’t bite into itself, and the knots don’t seat properly.
This makes using braid as the line you attach to your lures a questionable choice as it can easily undo, so you’ll want to add some mono or fluoro leader to your braided main line.
When fishing with braid, you will want to learn quite a few knots and some of the most important ones are the FG Knot and the Double Uni Knot – as these are the best knots for connecting braid to mono or fluoro leaders.
Braid Is Easy For Fish To See
Unlike mono or fluoro, braid is opaque, making it incredibly easy for fish to see. This makes it a bad choice when fishing in clear water, as it will be obvious to fish that your lure or bait is not quite real.
That being said, if you were to add a mono or fluoro leader to your braid using the knots mentioned above, and a long enough one, the fish would be fooled, and you’d still get the benefits.
Braid Is Not So Abrasion Resistant
Braid, as we know, has a very thin diameter, which translates to limited abrasion resistance, especially when compared to mono of the same pound test.
This means if you’re fishing in areas with sharp rocks or oyster beds, for example, chances are your braid will become compromised if it nicks a rock or oyster. Then, when a fish bites, your line will snap.
If you were to use mono, it would stand up better to nicks on oysters and rocks than braid, and this is simply because it is much thicker.
Should I Start Using Braided Fishing Line?
I would personally recommend using a braided fishing line as the main line on all your fishing reels in combination with mono or fluoro.
For baitcasters and spinning reels, combining it with a fluorocarbon leader gives you all the benefits of braid along with the abrasion resistance and zero visibility of a fluorocarbon leader.
For a fly fisherman, a braid backing on your reel will let you add more line to the reel spool or allow you to use a higher breaking strain.
If you like bottom fishing for carp, an all-braid coupled with a mono/fluoro leader is ideal. If you go after pelagics like marlin, filling your offshore reels with 60% braid and 40% mono is an ideal combination of line capacity and stretch.
Overall, there is no one right answer as to whether to use braid, but using a combination of the two is ideal in almost every situation.
Braid is a complex and controversial topic, and debates will go on forever on if it should be banned, where it is best used, and the good and bad of everything braid.
I hope this article explains all the questions that you may have about braid fishing lines. For specific buying recommendations, please check out my article on the Best Braided Fishing Lines To Buy here!
Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.