One of the most commonly asked questions from new anglers is, “Which fishing line should I use? Braided, fluorocarbon, or monofilament?” The answer is simple: use all three, but at different times. Here are some helpful tips for making that distinction.
With fluorocarbon you are getting low visibility, abrasion resistance, thin diameter, sensitive, sinking line. Fluorocarbon also has some stretch when you set the hook, but not as much as monofilament. All these characteristics have made fluoro popular as a main line and leader material. When using fluorocarbon, be sure to wet the knot when you tie it, or it will fail under stress. Also, because of its sink rate, many anglers don’t use it for topwater lures, but love it for throwing crankbaits, Texas rigged worms or jigging for walleye and crappie. Popular options include Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, P-Line Fluorocarbon, and Seaguar INVIZX.
Also called superline, braid floats and performs well with spinning reels or high-end baitcast reels. They also have a thin diameter, which allows them to move through the water with ease and run deeper than other lines, which makes them ideal for trolling and long-lining setups. Their tough, no-stretch construction also allows them to slice through vegetation like a hot knife through butter, which makes them popular among anglers who favor flipping jigs amongst lily pads, working a frog over weeds, or finessing a worm around fallen timber. On the downside, braids have no stretch whatsoever, which means instead of tying it directly to a lure, sometimes it’s best to use a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader so that fish don’t shake the hook. Sufix Performance Braid, and PowerPro are some of my favorite braids.
Arguably the most manageable of the three line types, monofilament’s larger diameter and added stretch works best with presentations where a slow descent is preferred. This includes soft plastics, wacky rigged worms, or Texas rigs. Many anglers use mono when they’re jigging or casting crankbaits, due to the added stretch it allows. P-Line CXX is my personal go-to when I use monofilament, as it’s performed excellently in open water when I’m seeking walleye and in tight rivers when I’m fighting steelhead.
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