I was talking with a friend recently who only fishes a few times a year and he started asking me about the different types of bass fishing line. Of course he really wanted to know which type, monofilament, fluorocarbon or braided line is the best.
As I sat there gathering my thoughts on how I was going to answer this question without making it a full lecture (I have a habit of doing that sometimes!), I decided to keep it to an overview of the three main types of those bass fishing line: monofilament, super-lines (braided line), and fluorocarbon.
Given the time of year (people prepping for next season) and fact many people maybe even be looking to purchase some line as present for fishermen, I decided my answer would make for a great “short” post on this site …
Though monofilament lines were originally invented in the late 1930s by DuPont but did not really start to gain in popularity until the 1960s. Some of the benefits and weaknesses of monofilament lines include:
- Relatively low cost;
- Shock resistant (it stretches … actually a plus & minus);
- Great for baits needing a little give (crankbaits, topwaters, etc.);
- It floats;
- Variety of colors for different applications;
- Varying abrasion resistance depending on need;
- Fairly limp (though abrasion resistance lines are stiffer).
- Line stretch means harder to detect softer bites on worm rigs, jigs, etc.;
- Line stretch can also cause hook-setting problems (though this can mostly be offset with the pull hook setting technique);
- It can absorb water and react with chemicals causing it to weaken; &
- Monofilament lines tend to be more visible than others like fluorocarbon lines.
Fluorocarbon lines are polymer-based with a refractive index nearly identical to water and were originally developed in Japan as leaders for that very reason. Benefits and weaknesses include:
- Nearly invisible in water therefore highly useful in clear water situations;
- It has little stretch and therefore is more sensitive (better for worms, etc.);
- It sinks, another plus (great for sinking baits)/minus (not good for floating baits) characteristic;
- It is inert and does not react with chemicals therefore retaining its strength;
- It does not absorb water (also helps retain strength);
- Invisibility sometimes makes it harder for as to detect strikes by line watching;
- Much more expensive than monofilament;
- Lack of stretch can cause line to break on hook set;
- It tends to be stiffer than monofilament giving it memory therefore can cause handling problems (line “fluffing off” reel during cast); &
- Many fluorocarbon lines break easily at the knot.
Though braided Dacron and nylon have been around for over half a century, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the super-braids (microfilaments) took the market by storm due to their high strength and low diameter properties. Benefits and weaknesses include:
- High strength – low diameter combination;
- Lack of stretch meaning increased sensitivity; &
- Low (coated braids) to no memory (non-coated braids).
- Highly visible to fish (sometimes combined with fluorocarbon leader);
- Low stretch means possible to tear hook from fishes mouth on hook set; &
- The line is abrasive sending off unique signal when interacting with certain hard objects (boat docks, stumps, rocks, etc.).
Just as I told my friend, I actually use each type of bass fishing line (monofilament, fluorocarbon, braided) for different fishing situations. The best thing to do is consider the type of fishing you do most often, research the appropriate line choices and select the one best for that scenario.
One other thing, all line will eventually wear so remember to change your fishing line frequently!
Tight lines and full livewells …