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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today, fresh from my recent foray into the murky world of the spinning reel vs baitcaster debate, I am going to again open the opinion gates with my thoughts on braid vs monofilament fishing line. Now I know I mention this in just about every post I write, but one of the things I love about fishing is the fact that everyone has an opinion on what is best for fishing. And unsurprisingly, the type of fishing line to use is no different.
Personally, I tend to edge towards the braid side of things on most of my reels however have used mono to great success over the past as well. The people I fish with also use a mixture of both and it is definitely something that they experiment with. So let’s check it all out below…
Ok, so first thing we probably need to do here is quickly outline each of the line types we are comparing. So here is what you are looking at when it comes to monofilament and braided fishing line.
More generally called ‘Mono’ rather than the full name, this is the traditional fishing line that everybody used before braid was even a thing. It can be made of a number of materials but usually consists of varying types of nylon and is a single line rather than a number of strand ones linked together (hence the name monofilament). As technology has improved, the old nylon makeup has been blended with other polymers and carbon materials to allow for improved qualities such as stretch, abrasion resistance and strength.
Mono is traditionally a greenish colour which is designed to reduce visibility in the water however it can now also be purchased in a number of colours such as yellow, red, brown or even a clear, colorless option.
For the purposes of this post, I am also going to lump fluorocarbon line into this category as well. There is a massive scientific explanation for the makeup of Fluorocarbon however essentially it is still a single line albeit stronger and more abrasive resistant than its nylon cousin. ‘Flouro’ is also considered to be the best for environments where it is important that the fish cannot see the line.
As the name may suggest, braided line consists of a number of strands of a polyethylene compound (some still use natural materials such as cotton or silk as well) that are braided together to form a single line. Braid has been developed over time to produce a line that is generally thinner, stronger and more sensitive than mono with greater abrasion resistance.
It is longer lasting than mono line (one of the reasons that fluorocarbon has been developed) however not as easy to handle and rig – especially for those new to fishing. It has no stretch to it meaning that a mono leader is usually tied to the from to account for a little stretch when casting and the fact that it braid really doesn’t tie to tackle very well at all.
What should you choose?
This is where the debate begins. I will explain the reasons for my choices below however for now, I think I am going to take the ‘sit on the fence’ approach and simply outline the pros and cons of each. That way, you can hopefully make your choice based on the fishing you plan to do.
- Great for beginners
- Easy to use in terms of tying knots etc.
- Low visibility for fish (especially when using fluorocarbon)
- Line has good stretch providing extra safety when trolling for bigger fish
- Far cheaper to purchase than braid
- Generally slow sinking making it good for surface lures etc.
- Stretchiness of line makes it easier to remove tackle from snags
- Not as sensitive as braid
- Will deteriorate in sun or after periods of non use
- Lower break strength (although fluorocarbon has rectified this somewhat)
- Lower abrasion resistance (again, fluorocarbon has helped here too)
- Generally not as long casting as braid
- Holds shape from being spooled on reel meaning it can twist in the water
I would recommend mono lines for the following:
- For beginners
- When using lures or floating baits
- General fishing
- Fishing in areas where snags are common
- Thinner than most mono lines – meaning more can be spooled onto the reel
- Longer casting
- Generally stronger when line sizes are the same
- More durable and longer lasting
- More resistant to abrasions and fish bites
- Does not hold shape
- More sensitive
- No stretch meaning will snap if snagged or larger fish bites
- Harder to manage than mono
- Will usually need to be attached to a mono leader – for some added stretchiness when casting
- More expensive than mono (although not much more than fluorocarbon)
- Lack of stretch can put more pressure on equipment
- If it tangles or knots it is almost impossible to fix
- Can be more visible to fish
I would recommend braid lines for the following:
- When longer casting is needed
- When using light lures
- When chasing larger species – especially in the ocean
- Fishing around structure when accuracy is key
- Fishing in weedy areas where brute force is required to pull tackle through it
What should you choose?
Ok, so the above outlines the pros, cons and some of the recommended uses for each line. As you mull over your purchase there is however one other influence to consider. When it comes to purchasing a new line – you must match your line size to the reel. This is because the size of the spool generally determines the size, length and strength of the line that you can load into it.
When it comes to spinning reels. there is a simple way to work this all out which via the first number in the side. You see a fishing reel may be rated for example as a ’20’ or a ‘2000’. If this is the case, the ‘2’ is the common denominator and what you match the line to (this is not an exact science but it works for me). So, then all you need to do is match the line kilogram/pound strength to the spool. To make this easier, I have whipped up a little table below:
|Reel Size||Suggested Mono||Suggested Braid||Suggested Rod Length*|
|10 or 1000||1- 2 kg/2 – 4 lb||4 – 8 lb||6-7 ft (line rating 1-4kg)|
|20 or 2000||2- 3 kg/4 – 6 lb||5 – 10 lb||6-7 ft (line rating 2-5kg)|
|25 or 2500||2.5- 4 kg/5 – 8 lb||5 – 12 lb||6-7 ft (line rating 2-5kg)|
|40 or 4000||4- 6 kg/8 – 12 lb||8 – 12 lb||8-10 ft (line rating 3-10kg)|
|60 or 6000||6- 8 kg/12 – 16 lb||12 – 30 lb||8-10 ft (line rating 4-10kg)|
If the line if too big, you will generally enter the painful world of birds nest city (when too much spools off at once and tangles) and too small and you will be lamenting a snapped line every time you try and cast with a bigger sinker – or worse – if you catch a bigger fish.
Baitcaster reels however work in a slightly different manner. As they can generally handle heavier line than spinners, and can cast further, the more line you can fit onto the spool the better. Baitcaster reel spool size is usually categorised as the length of line that can be loaded by line size.
For example, the reel may be specified as capable of loading “150 yards at 15lbs mono capacity – or 15/150” (slightly longer for braid). Some manufacturers will also stipulate maximum and minimum line weight limits as well.
What do I use?
As I mentioned above, when I look to add a new line to a reel, I generally go for braid. I just like the feel of it when fishing and enjoy the extra strength that it has. We also chase a couple of species in the mangroves where you have to get them out as soon as they hit or they will take into the tree roots. Braid can handle this much better than Mono.
I do have to admit however that I do at times get exasperated with it when it comes to tangles or loss of tackle due to the fact that once this happens you really can’t undo it. I usually end without just cutting it away leading to lost line and the constant need to reattach a mono leader which is a must for casting and tying knots. That said, I really do enjoy using it for the sensitivity and how smooth it feels when casting.
And that reminds me – when it comes to fishing line – you definitely get what you pay for. Always always always get the best quality line that you can afford.
And there it is – my take on the Mono vs Braid argument. I know I probably didn’t do anything to really answer the question here and that is because there are definite uses for both and both are loved by many.
I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them. I would love to hear why you love one over the other below!
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time
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