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Monofilament vs. Braided Fishing Lines

author image Nicholas Coppola
Nicholas Coppola has been a professional in the fly fishing industry for more than a decade. He graduated from State University of New York at Potsdam with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and went on to work as a professional fly fishing guide. Coppola began writing professionally for Demand Studios in 2010.
Monofilament vs. Braided Fishing Lines
A couple is fishing in a stream. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Fishing lines are available in an array of options to accommodate anglers with different needs. Some fishermen use monofilament line while others prefer braided fishing line. Consider the type of environment you fish, target species and techniques you use, before choosing a line. Both types of line excel under the right conditions, and choosing the right one may make the difference between heading home empty-handed or landing a prize-winning catch.

Materials and Construction

Monofilament line is made of nylon. The line is formed by heating small nylon pellets until they are liquidized. The melted nylon is then pushed through tiny holes to form strands. The strands are later stretched to the desired diameter to form the finished product. Braided fishing lines are made by weaving manmade fibers together in a long strand. Dacron, Spectra and micro-dyneema are a few of the materials used in this process.

Strength and Stretch

Monofilament fishing line is designed to stretch. This has advantages and disadvantages for the angler. Stretch acts as a shock absorber during violent strikes, sudden snags and hard runs. The down side is that the line stretches during the hook set. This means the hook might not get driven deep enough to hold. Braided lines have little or no stretch, making it easy to detect subtle bites and monitor lure activity. Braided lines produce sharp hook sets and increased sensitivity.

Abrasion Resistance

Braided line is extremely resistant to abrasion when compared with monofilament. It is an excellent choice for anglers who encounter rocky terrain or submerged timber. Some manufacturers of monofilament line apply coatings to aid in abrasion resistance. They are still much more susceptible to fraying and nicks than braided lines.

Skinny But Strong

When comparing braided and monofilament line of the same diameter, braided line is much stronger. In other words, 10 lb. test braided line is thinner than 10 lb. test monofilament. Smaller-diameter line cuts through the water with less resistance, allowing lures to run deeper. Small-diameter line also allows the angler to fit more line on a reel.

Tips and Tricks

Most braided lines are olive or brown and are quite visible in water. This presents a problem in clear water conditions where fish tend to be spooky. In this case, monofilament leader attached to a braided line gives the angler the best of both worlds. Keep a pair of sharp scissors nearby if you are using braided line, since it is difficult to cut. Braided line is also known to wear a groove into the bail of some spinning reels and may damage certain types of rod guides. It will easily slice through skin, so gloves are advised when handling braided line and big fish. Use an improved clinch knot with monofilament but try a Palomar knot with braided line.

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