Line Wars: Mono versus Braid

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By Captain C.A. Richardson, Originally posted to Pro Angler’s Journal

At every seminar, I have at least one attendee in the crowd ask me my opinion on the “mono vs. braid” debate.  I simply answer; “It really depends on the fishing scenario”… in other words it varies based on technique, species, and environment.  But, I assure you both line types are essential in your game if you want to maximize your catch ratio!

Here is my “spin” on monofilament lines… I definitely like mono lines for fishing treble hooked plugs; they merely do a better job of keeping fish connected without pulling the hooks.  Monofilament has an elastic property that does not allow the fish to leverage or throw the lure out of its mouth that typically happens to braided line users.  Mono lines also have the advantage of invisibility… critical when targeting species like bonefish, big wary speckled trout in shallow water, or pressured fish especially those over open sandy bottoms.  My “rule of thumb” generally is if the water is super clear and very shallow combined with bright skies, mono is often the better choice over the more visible braided lines.  Logically, mono line is not a great choice around heavy cover; for example… danger areas like docks, oyster bars, and intense marshy zones.  Another limitation of mono lines is that it needs to be changed out with fresh new line quite often… because I power fish that means about every other trip!

Now my “take” on braided lines is really clear-cut… they cast farther than most mono lines and are fantastic for fishing around heavy cover with lots of hazards.  I also like them for flats fishing when using spoons (they minimize line twist), in turbid water conditions, on foul weather days, using Texas rigged soft plastics, live or cut bait applications, or for targeting large fish on the flats… like sharks or tarpon. Braid’s no-stretch property does allow for more solid hook sets along with its unparalleled abrasion resistance; attributes that mono enthusiast’s envy.  While you don’t have to change braided lines out as often as mono lines, it’s a good practice to cut off at least a fifteen foot section to minimize wear on the portion of line running through the rod guides.  The only two glaring disadvantages to braided line is that it’s obviously visible and its initial high cost (often 3 to 4 times more expensive) relative to premium monofilament lines.

In summary, it’s truly not a “line war”… you really need to embrace both line technologies to handle a variety of angling scenarios.  I stress this point often on Flats Class TV if you’re going to spend oodles of money on your fishing passion, including boats, electronics, expensive rod and reel set-ups, even fishing vacations… don’t cheap out on the one component that connects you to the fish.  Buy quality fishing line whether its monofilament or braid… it’s worth the extra money for the added performance!

Until next time… keep’em bent!