Fishing line: you’ve seen commercials, tv shows, read articles, and listened to anglers discuss their favorite line. You’ve found each and every person using a different line for a different purpose. You may even be asking, “Can one fishing line really be that much better than another?”


Well, the answer is yes… and no.  It depends what you are fishing, where you are fishing and your technique.  

So which one should you use? We break it down for you in this post!



First, let’s start with reality. When it comes to picking the proper fishing line, it comes down to numerous variables, with the biggest one being personal preference.   There are three types of popular fishing line to choose from: monofilament, braid, and fluorocarbon. Although there are varieties of these three types of line, most options fall within one of these three categories. All three have their benefits and all three are capable of catching fish.   Determining which one is better is a matter of preference and scenario.  

As for which one is absolutely superior? Well, there will never be a single answer unless someone is willing to invest in a controlled, non-profit (meaning unbiased) study.  This means the same water, same location, same fish, and same presentation.  Considering this will never be the case, determining which line is truly “superior” is a matter of personal experience, not facts.  

I’ve heard some of the best anglers in the world catching fish from nothing but braid, or nothing but monofilament.  While others will use a combination of both. With such disparity between preference, it’s important to educate yourself on the properties of each line when picking out which one is best for you.  



Technically, there are numerous types of monofilament line. For example, fluorocarbon is technically “mono”, since it consists of only one strand.   However, most people call fluorocarbon “fluoro” not “mono”, because of its vastly different properties.  

Therefore for the scope of this article, monofilament will consist of a single strand of nylon.  This is the most common type of monofilament line. It is a universally trusted and an affordable line for any angler. Nylon has been an industry standard for some time.


There are three main types of popular fishing line. This includes monofilament (nylon), braid, and fluorocarbon. All three have their benefits and all three are capable of catching fish

Below are some of the positives of monofilament and why it might be a good fit for you.



  • Flexibility: Monofilament line is flexible, making it extremely manageable.  It’s relatively easy to bend (in comparison to fluorocarbon), cast, and knot.
  • Density: It is considered “neutrally buoyant”.  This means it’s about as dense as water. Therefore, it works great for topwater bait, considering its drop through the water column is slow.
  • Stretch: It is known for its “stretch”.  However, the benefit of line “stretch” can be highly debated.  Despite this, one fact remains true: classic monofilament has the greatest amount of it. Having stretch may benefit your hook set if you tend to be overly aggressive on finicky fish.
  • Visibility: It can come in a variety of colors.  However, clear monofilament tends to be less visible than braid but more visible than fluorocarbon. If line visibility is a concern for your presentation, then monofilament is the most affordable option of the two.
  • Price: It is usually the cheapest of the three.  This makes it a great all-around fishing line at an affordable price.
Monofilament line has “memory” where it will take on the shape of the spool.


  • Short Lifespan: Monofilament is not as “abrasion resistant” as braid or fluorocarbon.  Meaning it can degrade over time and should be checked and replaced regularly, particularly on the end. It also means you might go through it more quickly (bringing up the debate on just how affordable it can be).
  • Line Memory: One of the most frustrating qualities of monofilament is line memory.  This means it takes on the shape of the spool, a knot, or whatever other mess you can get it in. These line twists can also be a pain when trying to work a certain technique, as they can add unwanted movement to your lure of choice. An example of line memory is shown in the image above.
  • Sensitivity: In comparison to braid and fluorocarbon, mono is also the least sensitive.  This is due to the “stretch” of the line.  This can be an issue for anglers who pursue finicky fish (think walleye for example).
  • Diameter: For its strength, monofilament line is awful thick in diameter. Essentially, to get the same strength you would out of braid or fluorocarbon would require a bigger diameter. Depending on what fish you are targeting, this may be important to you.
  • Visibility: As previously mentioned, visibility is both a pro and a con.  It’s more visible than fluorocarbon but less visible than braid. It also comes in a variety of colors, making it suitable for “line watching” as well.


Considered the “superline“, braided line has become a favorite among anglers of any species. It’s simply tough. 

There are many variations of braid out there.  However, as its name entails, it consists of separate strands braided together.  For example “Power Pro” and “Fireline” have their own versions of braided lines.


  • Sensitive: Braided line doesn’t stretch, making it extremely sensitive to every bite, rock, or weed you encounter. This is great for anglers who target finicky fish with finesse strategies.
  • Less Dense (It Floats!): Braided line floats, making it a great line for topwater baits.   What about those who need to get to the bottom fast? Manufacturers have started implementing material such as Gortex to help some braided line sink. With that said, most braided line will float.
  • Relaxed: Braid makes tying knots and casting a breeze. You will feel in “control” and not like you are fighting the line.
  • No Memory: Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of braid is that it’s flexible but doesn’t take on any shape.  No line memory means ‘s fewer headaches. 


  • Visible: One of the biggest drawbacks from braided line is its visibility.  Out of all three types of line, it is the most visible. A great way to combat this is to attach a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.
  • Less Dense: Again, this is both a positive and negative depending on what presentation you are using. If you are looking to drop your lure to the deepest depth as fast as possible, braid might not be your best bet (or simply require a bit more weight).  With nothing attached, it floats. 


As previously mentioned, fluorocarbon is technically a “mono” line, due to it consisting of only one fiber (fluorocarbon is the material). However, fluorocarbon has some significantly different characteristics when compared to mono.


  • “Invisible”: Fluorocarbon is the least visible line.  That is why it’s often a favorite in clear water lakes.  
  • UV and Abrasive Resistant:  Fluorocarbon is tough. It won’t wear and tear at the rate that monofilament will.
  • Thin Diameter:  Because it’s so tough, it has a significantly smaller diameter to strength ratio than monofilament. For example, line 10 lb monofilament and 10 lb fluorocarbon up and you’ll know which one is which by the size.  



  • Expensive: In comparison to monofilament and braid, fluorocarbon is usually going to be the most expensive. 
  • Line Stiffness: Fluorocoarbon is stiff in comparison to braid and monofilament.  This makes tieing knots more difficult.  It also feels like you have less “freedom” and “control” as you would with a more flexible line. 

Therefore, in summary…



  • Most affordable
  • Slow sink rate
  • Greatest stretch
  • Can be “clear” but not invisible
  • Line memory is an issue
  • Large diameter size for strength


  • Highly sensitive from no stretch
  • “Tough” line for diameter size
  • Easy to tie knots – highly flexible
  • Floats
  • Visible


  • Nearly “invisible”
  • Sinks
  • Abrasive resistant
  • “Stiff” line
  • Expensive
  • Often used as leader material


When walleye fishing, I use braid almost exclusively, often paired with a fluorocarbon leader (dependent on water visibility).  The idea is the fluorocarbon leader helps reduce the visibility of the line while staying highly resistant to wear. Sometimes I’ll even use high visibility braid to help monitor action through my line, while feeling confident in the fluoro leader for my presentation. When running crankbaits, I also favor braid due to its strength. I always use braid when fishing for pike; in murky or clear waters. I like the confidence I have in the hookset and I trust it when casting through weeks, rocks, and shallow situations.  



“When picking line for pike and muskie you must be aware of their sheer strength and ability to saw through even the heaviest of lines. For my large baitcasting or spinning reel, I use a heavy 60-100lb braided line. A good go-to is Sufix 832 Braided Line Lo-Vis Green in 80lb test. Next, I pair that braid with a premade fluorocarbon leader over 80lbs. The muskie specific leaders come with heavy duty snaps and crimps to ensure once a fish is on, they do not get off”.

Erin Howard, Ladies of Angling Cofounder | AKA Nebraska Muskie Girl



It comes down to situation and preference. We both love the feel of braid, but neither one of us would have known that if we wouldn’t have tried each one.  Using them is the key to finding out which one is right for you and your presentation.

A few things to think about:

  • What species am I targeting?
  • What are my primary techniques going to be?
  • Is the water clear?
  • Are there snags and rocks to look out for?
  • Do I have a hard hook set or a soft set?
  • What is my budget?

Remember, nothing beats spending time on the water.  However, you can help increase your own luck but educating yourself on line properties and practicing that knowledge in real-world scenarios.

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