Fishing can be a very technical sport. Just choosing a line for your fishing reel can seem like a daunting task. I am going to break down some of the pros and cons of the 3 major types of fishing line. Hopefully, this will simplify the process and allow you to pick the one that best suits you so you can get on the water.
Monofilament is what most people picture when they think of a fishing line. It is relatively inexpensive per yard of line and what most people grew up fishing with as kids. The translucent color makes it difficult for fish to see and it is relatively resistant to abrasion. It is a sinking line, but it sinks at a much slower rate than fluorocarbon. If you are fishing topwater it may be a good choice. Another benefit of monofilament is that it absorbs water which increases its stretch and instability. The absorption of water, however, can decrease its abrasion resistance. The downside to monofilament is that it stretches quite a bit and can be degraded by UV rays. It also has a memory which means that the more it’s used the more kinks and bends can develop in the line.
Fluorocarbon is similar to monofilament in that it is a synthetic translucent line, but it is much denser. Due to the density, it is a better choice for sinking lures. It is also more abrasion resistant than monofilament and has less stretch which makes it a better choice for hard hook sets. The increased line sensitivity over monofilament makes it easier to know what is going on with the end of your line and to feel bites. These benefits do come with a tradeoff, which is that fluorocarbon has more memory than monofilament and braid. It also does not tie knots as well as monofilament or braid, but can be secured properly if the knot is wetted. Generally, fluorocarbon works best as leader material, though several new spoolable options do work well as your mainline if you need decreased visibility and increased power and sensitivity.
There are several different types of superlines. Most of them are braided, but there are some non-braided superlines as well. What they all share in common is superior strength by volume. You can spool more braid of a stronger test strength onto a reel than either monofilament or fluorocarbon due to its smaller diameter. It is also extremely durable. The same braided line can be used for several seasons depending on how hard it is used. It is UV resistant, has no memory, and does not absorb water. Because it repels rather than absorbs water the line naturally floats. This makes it a great choice for fishing line because it will easily float topwater lures, but can be brought down to sink by adding weight or using heavier lures. This makes it extremely versatile. One of the main downsides to braided line is the cost. Per yard, it can cost 4-5 times as much as monofilament. Also because of its abrasion resistance, it can require special scissors to cut the line—you’re not gonna be cutting it with your teeth.
Which is The Best Choice?
The answer is it depends. For most fishing situations I would recommend some combination of braided mainline with a fluorocarbon leader. This will give you the best of both worlds with excellent abrasion resistance, strength, and invisibility near the lure. I was initially of the impression that monofilament was simply outdated, but after researching for this article I can see some situations where it could be beneficial such as fishing topwater with light lures. A well-rounded angler is going to have a few different rod and reel combos set up with different lines. Overall though, if you can afford it, I recommend rigging up some Power Pro braid with a Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.