Fishing lines: Mono, fluoro or braid?

Today’s anglers have three basic types of fishing lines from which to choose — monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid. And all can be good, depending on their application.

Whether you’re fishing in open water or probing heavy cover, one of these line types will be perfectly suited to the need. And in some cases, a combination of two may be applicable — such as braid with a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader.

This is common knowledge. What’s not commonly known, however, is how these lines are made and why that’s important in the selection process — information, some of which, may surprise you. It certainly surprised me.

Ben Miller, Rapala’s head of product development for Sufix fishing lines, is the one who educates me. We’ve been working together for years in the development of high-performance fishing lines, and it has been a steady learning process. 

With Ben’s help, I’d like to share some of that knowledge with you now, by discussing each line type briefly, shedding light on their unique advantages or disadvantages.

Mono first 

Mono (short for monofilament) is a single strand of line made from one or more than one type of nylon. The nylon polymers are then extruded into a single strand of finished material in varying diameters and tensile strengths. These individual strands are then spun onto varying sized spools, measured in yards or meters (as are all line types).

There are different grades of polymers, as there are different grades of nylon, and depending on which a manufacturer uses will determine the quality of the end product. The old adage “you get what you pay for” comes to mind.

Besides clear, mono can come in a variety of pigments, including shades of blue, green, yellow, brown, red or combinations of these. Other characteristics can also be controlled, such as stretch and tensile strength — not just by thickness, but by the materials and processes used to make them.

Of the three basic types of fishing line, mono is considered to have the most stretch. It’s also the most buoyant, which makes it ideal for slow-moving topwaters and shallow-running crankbaits — lures that employ treble hooks requiring some shock absorption, so as to avoid being torn free during battle.  

According to Ben Miller, Sufix employs a slightly different approach in the making of its Advance Monofilament. He says, “By combining copolymer nylon with high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE), a hyper-copolymer structure results. And that offers numerous benefits, such as enhanced abrasion resistance, blockage of UV light and improved hydrophobic qualities.”

In laymen’s terms, he’s saying it provides less stretch and more sensitivity (compared to traditional nylon monofilaments) with increased tensile and knot strength. 

In my own assessment, Advance Monofilament excels in all of these. It has become my go-to mono for topwaters and any type of shallow-running lure requiring a buoyant line with some stretch.

Fluoro next

Like monofilament, fluorocarbon is polymer based but with a nearly identical refractive index to water. That is why it disappears so well beneath the surface.

Fluoro is also denser than mono, which enables it to sink — a very desirable trait for deep cranking or light line presentations like drop shotting. Its added density makes it more abrasion resistant, too. Fluorocarbon doesn’t absorb water, so it won’t weaken and begin to stretch — an issue with some monofilament fishing lines. It’s also better at resisting deterioration from sunlight or harsh chemicals like gasoline.

Fluorocarbon is “stiffer” by nature, which makes it more sensitive — another reason it’s so ideal for certain cranking and light line presentations. Ben adds, “Our proprietary GPT (Gel Phase Technology) process produces ultimate performance and clarity.”