Not all fishing lines are created equal: each type has its own properties and suits different angler’s needs, according to the targeted species, goals and fishing styles.
With so many options out there, how do you choose which type is best for you?
Mono is the cheapest option and it may suit the needs of novice anglers; while fluoro and braid are more expensive and offer zero stretch (and thus, a great sensibility when it comes to feel the fish bites).
Despite fluorocarbon and braided line have some similarities, they are not interchangeable and each one has different applications.
In this article we’ll see in detail these types of fishing lines and how they’re made, including some recommendations on when to use them.
All the differences, advantages and disadvantages of the two lines types
Fluorocarbon and braid are the expensive alternative to monofilament, which is mainly made of nylon and therefore it’s cheaper to manufacture. Fluorocarbon is made by a special plastic which is highly resistant and it’s the same used in wire insulation.
Perhaps the biggest difference between fluoro and braid (and mono too) is that fluorocarbon line sinks, and therefore it’s a better choice if you want your lure to go deep into the water. Mono and braid, instead, tend to float on the surface and are better for topwater baits.
Here’s a list of the main advantages of fluorocarbon line:
- Low visibility: there’s a common belief among anglers that fluoro line is almost invisible when it’s dropped in the water, and that is partly true. The refractive index of fluoro is very close to that of water, meaning that it will appear less noticeable. However, less noticeable does not mean invisible; but if you’re looking for a fishing line that does not scare shy fish away, fluoro is the best choice you have.
- Abrasion resistance: this is a good feature if you often fish in environments with rocks or similar obstacles, as they will not damage your fishing line.
- UV resistance: both braid and fluoro are UV resistant, meaning that your line will not be spoiled by long exposure under the sun.
- Density: fluoro is denser than monofilament and that’s why your bait will sink to the bottom.
- Stiffness: fluoro is stiff enough not to stretch (unlike mono, which is very elastic), but it’s suitable enough for spooling. Be careful here, as there are different types of fluoro: some are especially designed for leaders, and others can be used as your main fishing line. Similarly to braid line, fluoro does not absorb water.
Now that you know all the pros, what about the downsides? Here are fluorocarbon flaws:
- Stiffness: yes, again. In fact, this may be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Both braid and fluoro do not stretch and you may find them less manageable if you’re used to monofilament.
- Price: braided line and fluoro are usually priced the same, but the cost is higher if you compare them to mono.
- Low stretch: again, this can be an advantage or not. With braid and fluoro you must remember to take it easy when a fish bites, as the line will be way more sensible.
Braided line has been around for long time, more than monofilament or fluorocarbon. Here are its main advantages:
- Very low stretch: braid is the line that provides less stretch and offers tougher defense against snapping, compared to fluoro. Fluoro has less stretch than mono, but more than braid, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a compromise.
- It does not absorb water: both braid and fluoro do not absorb any water and thus, they keep the same strength, no matter if they’re wet or dry.
- Strenght to size ratio: this is perhaps the best advantage of braided fishing line: a 15-pound braid is as thin as monofilaments of half the size of it. This means a higher reel’s capacity and less weight in your fishing outfit.
- UV resistant: same as fluoro, braid can resist UV light very well and will not be affected by the intense sun rays.
- Works well with topwater baits: the biggest difference between braid and fluoro is that the first floats, while the second sinks. Therefore, choose braid if you want to use topwater baits.
Now that you know the advantages of using braided fishing line, let’s move to its flaws:
- Tying knots is harder: braid is slippery and you need to take extra care when tying your knots. Moreover, not all knots will work well with braid. The ideal choice is the Palomar knot. In any case, avoid cutting the tag end too close to the knot.
- Price: when it comes to price, braided line is slightly more expensive than fluoro, but both are higher in price compared to monofilament.
- Color fading: braided line comes in many different shades. However, the color tends to fade over time, resulting in visibility issues.
- It’s harder to cut: you can’t use clippers to cut braid as you would do with mono. Always carry scissors with you to efficiently cut your braided line on your fishing trips.
The first and most obvious difference between fluoro and braid is that the first is made up of a single strand of line, while the second is made up of several strands of fiber and it can hold much more weight.
Both fluoro and braid are more expensive choices than monofilament. However, you should consider that they’re also way more durable, with braid being the most long-lasting between the two. While fluoro can last 4 times more compare to mono, braided line can virtually last for as long as you live, provided that you take good care of it.
Finally, there’s a big difference in visibility: fluoro is transparent and almost invisible in the water, while braided line is the most noticeable line you can buy. This can be an advantage in situations where you need to see your line in the water, as braid is the only line that is sold in different colors.
What’s better, braided or fluorocarbon?
You now have a better understanding of the differences between fluorocarbon and braided line.
Regarding which one is better, it highly depends on the angler’s necessity and preferences. Fluoro line is denser and it allows your bait to sink deep into the water. It has low visibility and it’s perfect for fishing in crystal clear waters or to tempt shy fish.
If you want to use braided line for casting long distance or because you think it better suits your fishing style, but still want to take advantage of fluoro’s invisibility, you can attach a fluorocarbon leader to your braid line.
When it comes to strength, braided line is the toughest one due to its multiple strands. Therefore, it is advisable to use braid in waters with heavy vegetation or debris that may damage your line.
Should I use fluorocarbon line?
Fluorocarbon is extremely versatile, and its use is not only limited to leaders, but more and more anglers choose it as their main line. Choose fluoro if you need to cast from low to medium distance and want your bait to sink deeper. Fuoro also provides some protection from debris, although it’s less resistant than braid.
If you want to do long-distance casting and need a highly sensitive line to feel the fish bite, definitely look for braid.