Mono vs. Flouro vs. Braid and How it Affects Modern Fishing Rods
Over the last twenty years the fishing line available to anglers has changed dramatically. Modern lines include monofilament, copolymer, fluorocarbon, and braided options. This can overwhelm even a seasoned angler. Selecting the correct line is equally as important as selecting the correct bait.
Before modern lines were widely available most anglers were simply fishing monofilament with a stiff, fast rod. The rod had little give in the system because the mono provided 20-25% stretch. The stretch from the mono build shock absorption into the rod, reel, line, bait system.
As line availability and anglers evolved, the entire system had to change with it. Of the “big three” lines out there, each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The old stand by still has a place on the deck of any fishing boat. Mono is inexpensive, reliable and most importantly floats. Mono’s ability to stay on top of the water is critical for smaller topwater baits. Mono also has good abrasion resistance making it a good leader material.
If mono is your main-line of choice, its stretch gives your system plenty of “shock” to keep a fish connected when hooked. It is critical to fish a stiffer and faster rod though. If your rod is not stiff enough and gives with the stretch in the mono, effectively setting the hook and fighting fish becomes very difficult.
Fluorocarbon is smaller in diameter relative to breakage strength when compared to mono. It also has a lower angler of refraction in water that makes it practically invisible, and it has a higher abrasion resistance.
Fluoro’s major drawbacks are its price (twice that or more of mono), and fluoro sinks.
I use fluorocarbon or fluorocarbon leaders for almost all my clear water fishing and rarely fish it as a main-line option.
Fluorocarbon has little to no stretch so fishing a softer rod with more give to add shock to your rod, reel, line, and bait system is critical. Generally, I fish a fast or a medium-fast rod with a soft tip when I select main-line fluorocarbon.
Braid really did change the sport-fishing world. Braid has by far, the smallest diameter-to-strength ratio out of mono, fluoro and braid. Its incredibly small diameter provides incredible sensitivity while offering excellent abrasion resistance. Braid has little or no stretch so a similar rod selection to fluoro is a good option. A fast or medium-fast rod with a soft tip will present just about any bait well. Typically I apply a short fluorocarbon leader.