When do you use monofilament vs. fluorocarbon vs. braid?
With all the different types of fishing lines available it is difficult to know what line to use for each lure type and water conditions. For years, millions of Bass were caught using only monofilament but today you put yourself at a disadvantage if you stay with one type of line. There are three basis line types; monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid/superline. In the world of Bass fishing, I am going to provide my reasons for choosing a specific line for the conditions and the techniques use to catch America’s # 1 game fish.
Monofilament – Monofilament remains the number one choice by anglers although it is losing favor to fluorocarbon with many of today’s Professional Anglers. Monofilament has the most stretch of the all the types of lines and in some situations this is a huge benefit. Monofilament is king when fishing topwater baits as the stretch allows a slight delay in the hook set, giving the bass time to inhale the bait (or keeping you from pulling it away too fast). Plus monofilament floats unlike its counterpart, fluorocarbon, allowing topwater baits to work as designed. I still prefer monofilament for many fast action baits such as spinnerbaits, rattle traps, spoons and swimbaits. It is also great for pitchin and flippin in heavy cover. Key benefits of monofilament are its’ low cost, ease of use and long lasting. Monofilament is a supple line that is easy to cast and has minimal memory (small loops created from the reel spool after use) allowing the angler to cast longer and more effectively. The knock on monofilament from today’s pros is it has too much stretch, visible (compared to fluoro) and in some applications, it’s floating properties
– this line has gained popularity with many anglers because it is practically invisible to fish. The pros #1 choice for clear water, fluorocarbon has less stretch compared to monofilament providing better feel and hook ups when fishing deep water. Because the line sinks, it is a must when I am throwing crankbaits and jerkbaits to maximize their effectiveness. Both fluorocarbon and monofilament are great for heavy cover conditions, but I prefer fluorocarbon because the minimal stretch provides better feel and fluorocarbon is more abrasive resistant. The down side to fluorocarbon is the cost and longevity. At least twice the cost of monofilament, fluorocarbon creates a lot of memory after use and needs to be replaced more often. Some brands are more supple than others so trial and error may help you settle on a brand that meets your needs.
Braid/Superline – there are many types of braided lines but they all are made of strands of fiber that create the toughest line in the industry. Manufacturers are able to create extremely fine diameters with enhanced strength resulting in 50 lb test line having the diameter of 12lb monofilament. Because of the toughness of the line and no stretch many anglers prefer for fishing in heavy cover, especially in stained water conditions. I use braid when I am fishing deep ledges in the summer in clear lakes and tie and 6-8’ fluorocarbon leader. This combo provides great feel and improved hook ups when fishing in 20 feet or more. It is also a good choice for a Carolina rig, with a fluorocarbon leader. The down side to braid is its’ poor casting performance and it is highly visible. Plus it is tougher on your equipment (guides, reel gears) than the other styles.
Other Considerations – Knots are an important part of your fishing day and learning specific knots for each type of line is critical. I use the Polamor knot for all of my monofilament needs. This knot is OK for fluorocarbon but I would recommend upgrading for better results. I use a Double San Diego knot for fluorocarbon and in my testing this knot is far superior that the Polamor. Braided line has the worst reputation with knot strength and many anglers will not use because of this problem. Many anglers use super glue to ensure the knot will not slip. I recommend the snell knot or whip finish knot for braided line (no need for glue).