Fishing line is something that many people don’t think too hard about, just slap a bit of dodgy old mono on and she’ll be right! How many of us have old reels lying in a dusty corner of the shed, only to unearth them one day and discover some dried, frayed mono that basically snaps when looking at it. When the time comes to spool your reels, which line do you pick?
Mono is your basic, typical line. Many anglers consider mono outdated, but it is simple and does offer a few benefits. Price is the first. For bait angler not requiring complicated gear, spooling a few reels with mono costs very little. Mono also offers the benefit of good stretch, meaning when a fish dives or struggles, the line is able to absorb those vibrations and less pulled hooks are the result. In addition, mono floats, meaning anglers fishing surface lures or floating baits are able to keep their line on the surface. The main reason you’d go mono is the cost, and the simplicity of it.
Braid has really taken off over the last 20 years and is easily the most popular line amongst most serious anglers. Braid can be found in a myriad of colours, with thousands of types on the market. Braid uses a specified number of woven fibres blended into one line. The higher the number of strands typically indicates a thinner line for the strength. Four strand (four fibres) is the cheapest and most simple braid. Popular examples of a four strand braid in the Tackle Shack are Dangan X4, and Daiwa J-Braid X4. 8 strands are slightly pricier, but thinner than four strands. In the Tackle Shack eight-strands are our most popular. Black Magic Rainbow Braid, Nomad Pandora, Dangan X8, Daiwa Saltiga and Unitika Shoregame are all eight strands. On the priciest end, braids can be bought up to a 16 stand, which cost hundreds of dollars per spool. Braids are best spooled using either a “Braid Ready Spool” reel, or using a mono line as a backing. Braid is known to slip when tied straight to a spool, so make sure your braid is placed on the spool correctly. In addition, braid needs to be spooled under a reasonable tension to ensure proper line lay.
So why pick braid? The sensitivity is unmatched by any other line due to a lack of stretch- you can feel exactly what any fish, or lure, is doing underwater. The thin diameter means that more line is packed on a reel, and casting distance is greatly improved. For nearly any lure angler, and most saltwater bait anglers, braid should be the number one pick.
Flurocarbon is most popular in the lure fishing scene, particularly freshwater and estuary, as a leader line between your braid and lure. Flurocarbon, like mono, is a clear single stranded line, but is of a different material. When compared to monofilament, fluro offers far superior underwater invisibility, and increased abrasion resistance (harder to break when rubbed on wood, rocks, teeth etc.) As braid is of a solid colour and highly visible, fluro is used to offer some stealth to the lure and make the line far less visible. Fluorocarbon is also the line you want when fishing around any kind of cover, it is far tougher and more abrasion resistant than other lines (excluding wire which is highly visible). Some bream anglers do use fluorocarbon straight to the lure, known as “straight through”, especially when fishing hardbodied lures for it’s increased stretch over braid.
So what would you pick? For a simple bait angler, or beginner, monofilament will always rule. For more experienced lure or bait anglers, braid as a mainline and a fluorocarbon is hard to pass up.