Monofilament line vs Braided line

Monofilament line or braided line, opinions on their uses are as varied as the anglers who debate the point.  But here at we find both monofilament and braided provide advantages over the other when considering specific fishing methods.

Monofilament line is our recommended choice for most fisherman.  When continuously casting and retrieving a bait or lure, monofilament has a feel that works best for most anglers.  Monofilament is inexpensive compared to braided.  Monofilament line is transparent supposedly making it invisible to fish, has variations in color, knot strength, limpness, abrasion resistance, and casting factors.  Additionally, monofilament has a degree of line stretch which is a plus for fish that make strong long hard runs.  However, this stretch does reduce hook setting power as compared to braided line.  Monofilament degrades and weakens over time because of exposure to heat and sunlight.  Also when stored on a reel spool, monofilament develops "memory" making the line come off in coils and loops which may effect casting.  Still monofilament is excellent and most of the above issues are not a problem when the line is changed at lest annually.

So where does braided line fit in?  Braided is worth the expense when used to fill particular niches.  Bottom fishing is one such niche.  Because braided does not stretch, it provides superior hook setting power, in fact the hook can actually be torn from the lips of the fish if the attempt to set the hook is to hard.

Braided line is very strong in relationship to its diameter, for example a 50 lbs test braided has the diameter of 12 lbs test monofilament line.  Plus, braided has great line sensitivity allowing the angler to feel the lightest touch by fish like sheepshead who are notorious nibblers.  Braided is excellent for off shore bottom fishing too, where the bait is dropped under the boat.

With braided under normal fishing conditions, the area of the line which has the most wear is the section between the hook and the reel.  Simply remove a section of line the length of the rod when re-tying a rig before the next fishing trip.  This keeps the most worn section of line fresh and when the spooled line becomes to short change the line.  In all cases the uses of a leader is recommended either a very strong monofilament or steel.

Many anglers who try to use braided as their only line often complain about having backlashes, usually these "birdnest" are so severe re-spooling is necessary.  Another issue with braided deals with the line burying into the reel under itself when setting the hook.  This goes unnoticed until the next cast and will more than likely create a backlash.  Two things will help decrease these incidents, when spooling the line onto the reel ensure it goes on tight and by backing off on the drag, the reel can offer a little give when setting the hook.  One more thing about braided, when hung up on something it is very hard to pull and break, especially if 50 lbs test or more.

So use the monofilament line for more active fishing such as bass fishing with lures and have braided line on your stationary fishing reels like those used to fish a bait on the bottom.  You will find each has their benefits.

When purchasing new line either monofilament or braided, buy a brand name such as stren, trilene, spiderwire, or Excel by Bass Pro and there are several others, because these brands generally have better quality controls.  Read the description of the line carefully to see that it has the characteristics you are looking for and when you find a line you like stick with it.

spooling an openface reel

To avoid line twist when spooling an openface spinning reel set the spool on a flat surface and let the line uncoil, if twisting begins to occur simply turn the spool over and continue.

spooling a reel

For bait casters and conventional reels extend a pencil through the center of the spool and allow the line to unroll.

No matter which type of line is used, remember to help protect our environment by disposing of the unwanted line properly.  Discarding line into the environment creates the danger of entanglement to fish and wildlife which can cause loss of limbs or even death.  Many public boat ramps are now installing bins used to deposit the unwanted line.

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