Which angling line when? Use all three for the proper fishing application in a given sportfishing situation.
For starters, understand that braids and monofilament float. Fluorocarbon sinks.
With fluorocarbon, you’re getting low visibility, thin diameter and good sensitivity. It has some stretch when you set the hook, but not as much as monofilament. It also tends to be abrasion resistant. For all those versatile reasons, it’s becoming increasingly popular.
A couple rules with fluorocarbon, however. First, you must wet the knot when tying it or it will fail. Also, don’t use it for top water lures or presentations because it sinks. Fluorocarbon falls much faster than mono, so use that to your advantage! I use fluorocarbon when casting crank baits, casting wacky worms, Texas rigging, or jigging for walleyes or crappies.
Braided line, or so-called superlines, float and perform well for spinning reels or on “professional grade” baitcasters. Thanks to their real thin diameter, they cut through the water column and run deeper, so you’ll find braids on my trolling and long-lining setups.
On the downside, braids have no stretch whatsoever, so they’re not always best for tying directly to jigs. I’ve seen guys lose fish after the hookset with braids because of that lack of stretch, which allows fish to shake off. Adding a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader will provide stretch so that fish don’t shake the hook.
Monofilament is probably the most manageable of the three varieties. Its larger diameter and major stretch works for our bass or panfish presentations such as wacky worms, etc., because they will fall much slower. That can be a real plus factor using plastics or Texas rigging. I’ll also use mono for jig fishing with walleyes or crappies to slow the fall of my jig setup.
So what’s the best all-around line? There’s no cut-and-dry answer. We have to weigh sensitivity and speed of the fall we desire in choosing the line.
My general rule would be monofilament for jigging for walleyes and for casting crank baits for bass and walleyes because of the stretch factor. The same with top waters, too.
Fluorocarbon makes great leader material for trolling and longlining, as well as a main line for Texas and wacky rigging. You also can use it for jigging and, frankly, almost every application. It’s pretty versatile stuff.
As for braids, avoid using it wherever you need some stretch. I use braids a lot for longlining and casting crank baits (in tandem with a 5-foot mono or fluoro leader). Any situation where I’m cutting through weeds is custom-made for braids, too.
Fishing line has come so far from my early days in the fishing business. Use all three to your advantage for better days on the water!
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