You’ve probably heard anglers recommending a certain type of fishing line for a specific type of rig or for fishing a certain fish. However, they don’t explain why that type of line is more suitable for that purpose. Therefore, here are a few words about the most used 3 types of fishing line and their properties.
The monofilament fishing line is the most used type of fishing line today. It’s called monofilament because it is made from a single fiber of plastic material. One of its most important properties is its stretch, monofilament line being more elastic than other types of fishing line. Therefore is more “forgiving” when the fish bites. However this diminishes the ability to feel and control the bait. Due to its stretching properties, it’s most indicated for still fishing.
Monofilament line has a lower abrasion resistance than braided and fluorocarbon line, thus will wear out more quickly, but that’s one of the main reasons it is usually cheaper. Monofilament line knots are often slippery and may come loose from a hook, or can be cut by the sharp edges of the head of an eyeless hook. Also monofilament line has “memory”, retaining the shape of the spool after a while, which sometimes can make it difficult to cast.
Fluorocarbon fishing line is actually a type of monofilament line, but has a couple of additional properties which make it superior than the common monofilament line. First of all, fluorocarbon line has the same refractive index as water and becomes invisible in water. This being said, fluorocarbon is very effective when fishing for fish that are easily spooked by the fishing line. It does not have the stretch of the regular monofilament which enables the angler to feel the lure and the bite of a fish better. It’s usually more expensive than regular monofilament.
Fluorocarbon line is less buoyant, in other words it sinks better, being more effective for fishing with jigs and crankbaits. That’s why it’s not recommended for surface baits, since it can pull down the bait. It has slightly higher abrasion resistance than monofilament, however, it has a higher degree of brittleness, breaking more easily than regular monofilament.
Just like regular monofilament, fluorocarbon line is also very slippery, can easily come off a hook or can be vut by the sharp edges of the eyeless hooks heads.
Braided fishing line or multifilament line is made by weaving strands of tough materials like Spectra or Micro-Dyneema. Maybe the most important trait of braided fishing line is its strength. A given pound test braided line is usually thinner than a similar pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line.
Braided line is also highly resistant to abrasion, does not have the “memory” specific to mono or fluoro lines. However braided line is abrasive itself and it can cut into the rod’s guide lines and the reel’s spool, if these aren’t made from stronger materials. It has a low elasticity index which allows the angler to feel the bait or lure much better.
On the other hand, braided line is opaque and it’s easily seen in the water, therefore might not be the best choice when you’re fishing for skittish fish. It’s very slippery, making it quite difficult to tie knots using braided line, and it also requires special scissors to cut it. Braided line knots are very strong though.