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 DistanceBraided 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.
Ease of Knot TyingMonofilament 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.
Line StretchMonofilament line is far more prone to stretching than braided line. There are pluses and minuses to each line type’s stretch qualities.
Line StrengthAs 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.
CostMonofilament is cheaper per yard than braided. Historically, this has been one of the biggest factors for anglers who use mono.
Line VisibilityIn 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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.