So what’s the difference between mono-filament, fluorocarbon and braid? Which is better?
Browsing the web for these answers has most likely resulted in contradicting information. Part of the reason for this is most anglers provide their opinion on which is better.
Given the different materials that each are made of, the question should really focus on which is better in different scenarios that anglers encounter or plan for.
Each line has unique properties, so applying each to certain situations is reasonable.
These scenarios involve water clarity, trout’s visual ability, type of lure you are using, and size of the trout. An additional mention is the price of the line – some are more expensive than others but not significant enough to break the bank.
A Breakdown of the Material Used:
- Mono-filament: Contains one single strand of Nylon, hence the name “mono”.
- Fluorocarbon: Made of one continuous strand of PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride).
- Braid: Braided strands primarily made up of polyethylene.
Can Trout Spot Fishing Line?
This ties into the main objective of this post – Best Fishing Line for Trout. It also goes back to my statement that the question isn’t about which fishing line is better, but what fishing line is best in different scenarios.
A trout has impressive vision, both monocular and binocular. It can see to the side out of one eye independently, and it can use both eyes to focus on objects or space in front or above it.
This makes sense if you think about it as a defense mechanism, as fish don’t just need to worry about what’s it the water but also prey from above swooping down to pick them up.
You’ve watched any trout fishing YouTube videos or have heard someone say not to get too close to the bank, the trout’s line of sight can detect objects or shadow’s so these are reasonable tips.
If the trout is that much concerned for what’s around it and recognizes its place in the food chain, then we of course need to consider whether they can see line on top or under water, which leads us to the breakdown of each type of fishing line:
Braid does have a place in trout fishing, but it is not the most popular among anglers when attempting to land trout. Again, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a use for it, but out of the three this is most likely to be seen by a trout.
Some benefits of braid is that it has a small diameter, it floats and doesn’t have any line memory, but the ability for the trout to see this line as well as minimal stretch makes it ineffective.
So how do you use braid when trout fishing?
The trick here is to use a mono-filament or fluorocarbon leader. Tie the leader to your braid by using the Double-Uni, Alberto or Albright knot. I prefer a 6’ leader in this case, leaving some room for snipping and re-tying lures. I also prefer this length so as not to have the leader touching the reel.
I have come across a lot of anglers who say you can’t land a trout with braid. This is not true as last year I landed some, using braid in those cases because I didn’t bother to switch my line after bass fishing. That was without a leader. Using a leader will greatly improve your chances.
Maybe you do a lot of bass fishing and have one reel, this might be an option for you instead of taking the braid off and replacing it with a full spool of mono or fluoro.
It’s not impossible to catch a trout with braid, or with a leader but if you really want to increase your chances then there are better options.
Mono-filament fishing line for a long time has been the line of choice for most anglers targeting trout and many other species. As braid was introduced, mono remained popular due to its low visibility and inexpensive price point compared to braid and fluoro.
Another characteristic of mono is that it has more stretch than braid and fluoro, which can be good and more manageable to cast versus stiffer lines. If you set the hook with a mono line, the stretch will reduce the chances of breaking off.
A use case for mono derives from its buoyancy. This would be a good line to use if you are using a top water lure or if you want to control the depth of your lure to keep it just below the surface or off the bottom.
This doesn’t mean mono is restricted to the aforementioned strategy but is another example that one line may not be better than the other but more as a situational preference.
But with mono, a few characteristics of this line can be a drawback, especially when we’re talking about strategies to catch trout.
Out of braid, fluoro and mono, mono has the largest diameter. As we know, trout are far from careless and have their site as a defense mechanism, so the smaller the diameter, the better. Again, this does not mean that you won’t land a trout with mono.
Another characteristic of mono is that is has more line memory than braid, but is the best selection in this category out of the three. Line memory meaning it likes to retain the shape of the spool it’s wrapped around. You will especially notice this if you haven’t gone out fishing in a while and have had the line spooled up without use.
Mono-filament fishing line isn’t cheaper than braid or fluorocarbon because it’s less effective, it’s cheaper because of the material being Nylon, which is less expensive than the others are constructed of.
Many people have been successful while fishing with mono, and still are. If you prefer to save a few bucks and don’t mind line memory then perhaps mono is going to be your best option.
- Sufix Elite Monofilament – 6LB/330YD
- Berkley Trilene XT Extra Tough Monofilament – 6LB/110YD
- Stren MagnaThin Monofilament Line – 4LB/330YD
Introduced to the angler community in the 1970’s, Fluorocarbon’s popularity didn’t rise until much after Seaguar’s first production of the line.
As fluorocarbon was introduced, mono-filament production companies began the competitive approach and started to improve their lines with color variety, stretch ability and abrasion resistance.
Today, Fluorocarbon is a very popular choice among anglers. Some still prefer mono, while others swear by fluoro. Both sides suggest that their line of choice is better than the other.
But as we’ve covered in the aforementioned sections, each line has it’s benefits – we know for example mono to contain more buoyancy characteristics and great for top water baits aside from general fishing.
As for fluorocarbon, the lines characteristic doesn’t have as much stretch as mono and is more expensive but it lowers in the water at a faster rate.
Fluoro’s ability to sink quicker and get to the bottom makes it the correct line for deeper diving lures. This option also has a smaller diameter and is considered crystal clear – perfect for trying to catch shy trout. These are reasons why some consider fluoro the better choice and creates a strong argument overall.
In the stretch category, fluoro has less stretch and is a stiffer line than mono. As for fluoro being crystal clear, this is what attracts anglers the most – more natural light passing through the line the less chances the trout is alerted. Mono refracts light, which can alert the trout.
- P-Line Floroclear Fluorocarbon Line – 4LB/300YD
- Stren Fluorocast Fluorocarbon Line – 4LB/200YD
- Stren Fluorocast Fluorocarbon Line – 6LB/200YD
- Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon Line – 5.2LB/150YD
The Bottom Line
Given the make-up of the different lines available on the market, an angler’s line of choice is merely subjective. This might include a difference of opinion backed by past success, but if you think about it if there was one single fishing line type that was clearly better than the rest then the less popular lines wouldn’t sell and wouldn’t exist.
Maybe you fish with braid for bass and want to fish for trout one day, then tying a fluoro or mono leader is the perfect solution versus unspooling your braid.
Or if your using top-water baits or have had success over the years with mono, keep at it.
If you don’t mind a line that has a high level of memory but want the crystal clear option, then fluoro is for you.
Either one of these will catch you a trout, try them all and find your bread and butter.