Braid vs mono fishing lines and when to use each
Today we will discuss the pros and cons of braided versus monofilament fishing lines. We recently delved into a similar conversation regarding the nuances of fluorocarbon and monofilament lines. In doing so, we have outlined some of the differences and similarities between these two types of lines, so you can make an informed decision about which line to follow in a given situation. That’s the goal again today, only this time the conversation focuses on braided line vs. monofilament.
Basics of braided lines and monofilaments
Monofilament fishing line, often referred to as “mono,” is usually made from a single strand of nylon. Braided line, or “braid,” is mostly made of tightly woven strands of synthetic fibers.
You will notice that there is a common characteristic listed as positive and negative for both of these types of lines – the fact that both lines are floating. This is because in some situations, the fact that both monofilament and braid float is detrimental to the technique. Take swimbait fishing for example. Since both lines float, neither is ideal for fishing a 5-inch paddle-tail swimbait in 20 feet of water.
To break out of this mono vs braid alliance just for a moment, the third common line type of fluorocarbon is actually the best for this technique, because it sinks. But in response to today’s conversation, the best argument about unilateralism versus unilateralism in a situation like this has to be the lesser of two evils – unilateralism. Mono would be the better choice over braid because it’s harder to see underwater. But the stretching of monomer would make it considerably less suitable for this technique than superior fluorescence.
Since both lines float, they are both good for topwater baits. But is there a time when one is better than the other? definitely. Anytime you want to make very long casts with a water topper, braid is much better. The thinner diameter of the braid allows you to pack more line onto the reel, dramatically increasing your range. Since braid has less memory, it exits the reel smoother and has fewer twists that catch evidence on its way through the rod. Finally, the small extension of the braid makes hooking a fish onto the end of the bomb much easier.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to have braid for topwater fishing. The Mono can be used with a wide range of topwater techniques and is actually best suited for a few, such as close quarters fishing with treble hook baits. In these situations, the buoyancy of the line helps keep the bait on top – in the same way as braid – but the extension of the mono is actually an asset here and allows for sudden bursts of aggression from bass stuck close to the boat or bank. This increases your landing percentage with topwater in these situations, when the fish are ripping off the bait tied on the braid.
When to use braided line
Braid is considered better for spinning reels due to its smaller diameter and lack of memory. The larger diameter of mono compared to braid causes the spinning reels to fill up quickly. Because of its high memory and stiffness, mono bounces off the reel like a coiled spring and is notorious for developing line twists on spinning reels that can quickly create a tangled mess.
Thin diameter braid with less memory can be wound onto the spool and comes out flat and straight, making longer casts with fewer tangles. (Shadow: Braid to fluorocarbon leader is your best bet in finesse situations, with the benefit of the sensitivity, smaller diameter and castability of the braid as well as the reduced visibility of fluoro.) But coming back to the situation where you only have monofilament and braid to choose from, you can use a mono leader with a braided main line to similarly take advantage of the better qualities of braid and mono.
Braid is best suited for most plant applications, unless the plants are particularly sparse in ultra-clear water, or the plants are somewhat woody in nature. The braid blends in well with dense vegetation, making it difficult to spot even in clear water. The braid easily cuts through most submerged weeds and plants. For example, braiding is best for both perforation and frog, both of which are often performed around or within dense vegetation.
Big, bold hooks
Speaking of frogs and punching, braid is better for these techniques for an additional reason as well. Anytime you fish with larger single or double hooks, your hook ratio increases dramatically with braid. The extension of the mono makes setting the hook more difficult with swim jigs, frogs, frogs, and Texas jigs. Braiding is best for lures such as buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and vibrating rigs when making long casts and fishing through relatively dense cover, although monobaits are sufficient for these last three lures in open water when long casts are not necessary.
Pros and cons of the braid
- Almost no stretch
- Higher knot strength
- Thinner diameter
- More resistant to corrosion
- Cuts through vegetation
- Longer cast
- Very sensitive
- Less memory
- Very clear
- Almost no stretch
- Carves into wood
- More expensive
- More susceptible to adverse reactions
When to use monofilament fishing line
Most treble hook baits and other treble hook baits
Usually when talking about subsurface baits with treble hooks, mono will be the better choice between them and braid (although fluorocarbon will win if all three line types are taken into account). Mono is better than braid in these situations because of its lower visibility and again because of its stretch, allowing the fish to fight without breaking free from the small treble hooks.
A prime example where you might stray from this general rule is when fishing a lipless crankbait over and through submerged vegetation, as the low extension of the braid gives you the ability to tear your bait from cover during a retrieve.
Clear water conditions
Due to the simple fact that mono is harder to detect underwater than braid, mono is better than braid in most clear water situations; The main exceptions again are areas with dense vegetation and long-term pelagic fishing. It’s worth noting that you can again use a braid-to-mono leader in these situations, taking advantage of the positives of each line type while simultaneously canceling out the downsides of the negatives. But in an ideal world, you could use a braid-to-fluoro leader instead.
Because monofilament is more forgiving—both for casting and for fighting fish—and because it is cheaper, monofilament is the better choice for beginners. The braid can be very difficult to shape at first, and picking it too early will often result in some epic backlash, like the backlash being cut off and starting over. Instead, start with monofilament, which is not only more forgiving and cheaper but also more versatile anyway.
When fishing around wood or woody plants like thick alligator grass, heavyweight monofilament is the better of the two lines (although most would argue that fluorocarbon would win back in a three-line runoff). Due to the thin braid diameter and high strength, it cuts right through leafy and green plants. But these same qualities will actually cause the braid to dig into the wood and vines, often resulting in the loss of fish and suspended baits.
Pros and cons of mono
- More affordable
- Friendly for beginners
- More stretch
- Easier to handle
- Less sensitive
- Larger diameter
- More stretch
- More susceptible to damage from ultraviolet rays
- More memory
Final thoughts on braid vs mono
Although braided lines and monofilament float, that’s where their similarities end. Mono is generally thicker, more stretchy and weaker than braided line. The slackness of the braid makes it best for use with spinning reels and long-range casting with baitcasters. Its strength and lack of stretch suits the braid best for most techniques involving vegetation. Braid is better at attaching big, bold hooks to the house.
Although Mono still holds its own in certain situations. The Mono is a viable option for all treble hook baits, and is definitely better for those fished subsurface in clear water. Mono is the best bet for beginners, as it has proven to be a versatile line that is fairly easy to work with and at an affordable price. We hope these basic guidelines will make your decision-making process easier when deciphering between braided versus monofilament fishing lines.