Braided Fishing Line VS Monofilament (Pros and Cons And When To Use Each)

One of the big dilemmas in the world of fishing is whether to use monofilament fishing line or braided line. Each type has its champions and detractors. Depending on who you talk to, one is often the clear best choice over the other.

The truth is, it’s not quite that simple. Both mono and braided line have their strengths and weaknesses, and there are certain situations where one is more suitable than the other.

We’ll take a look at the difference between mono and braided line, when you might want to choose one over the other, and their pros and cons.

The Difference Between Mono and Braided Line

First of all, let’s cover how mono and braided lines are different from one another. Monofilament is the line type most anglers have grown up using. As a result, lots of people continue to swear by mono.

Braided line has become more popular in recent years, and in some circles has largely replaced monofilament. Here are some ways that mono and braided stack up head to head:

Casting Distance

Braided line is considerably stronger with a smaller diameter than mono. That means you can spool more line onto your reel, and you can cast further with lighter lures or rigs.

The ability to fire a cast way out into any spot in your vicinity is a reason that anglers tout braided line.

Ease of Knot Tying

Monofilament is often the best line to teach new anglers how to fish. A big part of the reason is that it’s far easier to learn to tie knots with mono than braided.

You can quickly learn how to tie a variety of effective knots with mono, and mono knots tend to hold fast and true. Braided, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult.

Certain common fishing knots will frequently break if you tie them with braided line. On top of that, braided line is thinner, which can make knot tying a little more difficult.

As a result, many people will start their children or other new anglers on mono line regardless of whether they ultimately prefer mono or braided.

It’s also worth mentioning that braided line is easier to cut yourself on than mono – Another reason mono is better for youngsters.

Line Stretch

Monofilament line is far more prone to stretching than braided line. There are pluses and minuses to each line type’s stretch qualities.

Braided line gives unparalleled feel when fishing – while retrieving a lure you’ll feel the slightest snag or bite. And setting a hook with braided line, especially at long distances, is far easier than with mono.

But there are disadvantages to that lack of stretch. Braided line is far more likely to break on a heavy strike than mono. If you don’t have your drag set perfectly, braided line can easily snap on you while fighting a fish.

Line Strength

As I mentioned before, braided line tends to be stronger than mono. Where this can come in handy is when pulling a fish quickly out of a lot of structure. Being able to muscle a fish in from around structure is an advantage for braided line.

Cost

Monofilament is cheaper per yard than braided. Historically, this has been one of the biggest factors for anglers who use mono.

Over the past few years, the price of braided line has come down somewhat. It’s still more expensive than mono, but the gap isn’t as large as it used to be. Regardless, if you’re looking for value, mono is the way to go.

Line Visib​ility

In especially clear waters, mono is far less visible to fish than braided line. In fact, when fishing with braided line many anglers set up a fluorocarbon leader to avoid spooking skittish fish.

Even with a leader, braided line is often a poor choice for clear water, as fish will sometimes simply not bite if you’re using braided line.

Durability

Braided line is known for being more durable and longer lasting than mono line. Champions of braided tend to point out that the durability of braided line offsets the initial cost being more. They argue that if you have to replace your mono line more frequently, it balances out the cost.

There’s one area where braided line is less durable than mono, though – If you’re expecting to drag your line against rocks or other rough outcroppings, braided will wear out quickly. Check out this experiment on abrasion resistance that the folks over at Saltstrong performed. It's pretty telling.

When to Use Monofilament vs Braided Fisihing Line

While you’ll hear some people say that mono or braided are always superior, the reality is that each have their uses.

When to Use Monofilament Fishing Line

If you’re going to be trolling, use mono. When fish strike, the line is far less likely to break. The same goes for fishing with live bait.

Children and other new anglers should use mono as they get used to tying fishing knots. And any fishing in dramatically clear waters is a time when mono is probably the best choice.

When to Use Braided Fishing Line

If you’re fishing near structure or in heavy cover, braided line gives you the power you need to wrestle fish to the boat or shore. If you need to be able to cast long distances, braided gets the edge.

When working most kinds of lures, whether that be spinners, plugs or any others, braided’s sensitivity and responsiveness is a big plus. The same goes for jigging, where the ability to feel strikes is key.

Pros and Cons of Monofilament and Braided Fishing Lines

Finally, I’ll recap the strengths and weaknesses of each type of line.

Monofilament

PROS:


  • Easier to tie knots, and knots hold up better
  • Less visible in clear waters
  • Extra stretch quality means violent hits are less likely to break the line
  • Least expensive line option

CONS:


  • Can’t put as much line on the reel
  • Casts don’t go as far as braided
  • Generally needs to be replaced more frequently
  • Isn’t as responsive and sensitive as braided


Braided Line

PROS:

  • Far stronger for its thickness
  • Allows for greater cast distance
  • Increased sensitivity allows you to feel strikes better
  • Better responsiveness allows for strong hook sets
  • More durable over time

CONS:


  • More expensive than mono line
  • Lack of stretch can more easily lead to the line breaking
  • Not as good for fishing skittish fish in clear waters
  • Difficult to tie knots, and the line can cut an unwary hand

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s not possible to say that mono is always better than braided, or vice versa. There are situations where each type of line shines.

When picking out the line that’s right for you, think about the way you’re going to be fishing, and what attributes are right for you. And you still can’t decide, simply try them both. Experience can be the best teacher, and over time you’ll find the line that works best for you.

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About the Author

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure. I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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