Braid vs. Monofilament

This informative KLP segment (Knowledge, Location, Presentation—the Fish’n Canada formula for fishing success) aims to clarify the differences between monofilament line and braid, and help anglers determine when to use one or the other.

To see Ang and Pete put this knowledge into practice, check out the full 2014 Fish’n Canada episode from which this segment is taken, “Soft Stick Baits in the Junk.”

4 Replies to “Braid vs. Monofilament”

  1. Mono-a-Mono or Tight Weaves, the choice can get pretty “hairy” for the average fisherman. Understanding the complexities of these types of fishing lines shouldn’t be a matter hit and miss. If it is, you certainly will.

    As Angelo has stated, Braided line is very popular in some situations because of its high knot strength, lack of stretch, and great overall power in relation to its diameter.

    Braided lines consist of a man-made materials like Dacron, Spectra or micro-dyneema, woven into a strand of line. It is wise to keep in mind, these fishing lines have low resistance to abrasion. Sharp objects can easily cut them but their actual breaking strength will commonly exceed their pound-test.

    A rule of thumb : Due to the minimal stretch of braided line, hard-hitting fish will frequently cause the line to break. It is very important to set the drag on your reel at a lower than average tension for that specific reason.

    Braided lines increased flexibility allows for longer casts as compared to monofilament and since it typically floats, it is a common go to line for top water fishing. One obvious drawback, they are highly visible to fish. Tying on a length of monofilament or fluorocarbon line to the end of the braid will act as a leader, reducing it’s visibility. A blood knot is best used for this purpose.

    Keep in mind, when cutting braided line use a sharp pair of scissors, since nail clippers will fray
    the ends. Also, flexibility, lack of stretch and slippery surface, make braided lines hard to knot properly as we all know. The knots I recommend for tying braid to your lure are a Palomar knot, improved clinch knot, the Trilene knot and the nonslip loop knot. Tie them very carefully.

    One word of caution. Make absolutely sure you have a rod suited to braided line. I have learned through experience these lines will damage the guides of you fishing rod, if they are not coated with a ceramic or other protective material cutting the braid to shreds. A good quality rod is your best choice. Don’t “cheap out”.

    Now speaking of Monofilament, it is at the other end of the spectrum in a sense. Manufactured from a single fiber of plastic by melting and mixing polymers and then extruding the mixture through different size holes. This extrusion process controls the thickness and tensile strength of of the line. As you see, they are cheaper to produce than braided line.

    Polyvinylidene fluoride more commonly referred to as as fluorocarbon, is very much like nylon monofilament and has several advantages. Optical density is lower, The surface is harder and more resistant to sharp fish teeth. It does not absorb water, is resistant to UV-light and since It is denser than nylon, it sinks a bit faster.

    Tying monofilament to your lure can be accomplished with just about any good fishing knot. Make sure to wet the knot before tightening as this will prevent over stretching and weakening the line.

    Get into the habit, whether using Monofilament or Braided, to check your line often for nicks or other damage after every fishy encounter. Yeah, I had a audacity to pick up my wife’s rod after she hauled in a Pike thinking, “Hey, I can do that to”. Well, I didn’t! I gave it one mighty cast and Snap, Crackle, Pop! That little embarrassment cost me $10.00. She now has a colorful new lure for her tackle box.

    1. Absolutely spot on, Tacklejunky. High quality rods will equate to implementing lighter lines. I have found rods with eight to ten guides or more takes the strain off the line and places it on the rod, where it should be.

      Case in point:

      There was a time a few years back where my wife and I were fishing at the mouth of Bronte Creek in Bronte Ontario. I had mistakenly given my wife, my 7 ft. Shimano Clarus, medium power fast, action Bass Rod (8 guides) spooled with 8 lb. Berkley Trilene, baited up with a worm harness. Consequently, I was left with her 7 ft. Shimano Shimitar medium power, fast action Bass Rod (7 guides) loaded with similar 8 lb. line.

      Shortly thereafter, the rod my wife had (mine) starting going ballistic. She screamed for my assistance after 3 minutes or so, since it seemed to be more than she could handle. Taking over, I fought what we thought to be a monster salmon or pike for about 30 to 40 minutes. It headed up stream, down stream and in some instances it went side stream, peeling off 50 to 75 yards of line at some points.

      All the while I was under the assumption I was using her rod. Thoughts flashed through my mind of the rod exploding into tiny bits or the line snapping like a whip. Fortunately everything stayed in tact and I was able to land a 34.4 lb. Carp.

      The number of guides on my rod was the key. It took the brunt of the strain off the 8 lb. test line. The fact that I didn’t try to “horse” the fish and allowed it to tire out was another plus.

      As Pete Bowman can attest, “Never cheap out when it comes to your fishing tackle.’

      If you do, it will surely be the “end of the line”.

  2. Most surprisingly I should add, this Carp was not hooked in the mouth. The 8 lb. test fishing line had become entangled in the treble hook of a bright orange #2 Mepps Cyclops Spoon that had one barbed point under the dorsal fin of this fish. It was like lassoing a wild Bronc by the saddle horn. There was no way, no how, that I had complete control of this fish at any time.

    I was lucky enough the drag setting on the reel was just perfect. That among others mentioned, are what saved my bacon.

    After we released the Carp back into it’s watery environment, we noticed it left us a quarter sized scale as a little memento. My wife keeps it in her tackle box, right next to that bright orange #2 Mepps cyclops Spoon.

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