Braid or Fluorocarbon Fishing Line? All You Need to Know (2021 Guide)


Fishing is all about choices, rods, reels… And lines! Your line, while cheap, is actually one of the most important choices you’ll need to make.

After all, it is the only thing keeping you attached to a fish!

Today I’m going to help you make the best possible choice when it comes to braid vs fluorocarbon. I’ll tell you the qualities of each and when you might want to consider using each line.

Let’s spool up and cast out!

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

What is a Braided Fishing Line?

You might be surprised to learn that braided fishing line is historically one of the oldest around.

Really?

You bet. Back in the day, it used to be made from natural fibers like cotton or hessian.

But it had an update.

Today you’ll find that braid is a really low diameter line made out of fibers such as Dyneema or Dacron. It is famed for its suppleness, low stretch, and all-around performance.

Ever heard of them? Don’t worry. It means that braid is a super strong and tough line that is great for fishing. It has several unique qualities that we are going to explore shortly.

What is Fluorocarbon Fishing Line?

Fluorocarbon line is a fishing line made from a plastic-based substance. It has quite a few ‘selling points’ that make it a really good choice. Namely, it has relatively low stretch, good abrasion resistance, and above all, is practically invisible in the water!

Fluorocarbon line isn’t everyone’s ideal, but get it right, and you should find that it can really help to increase your catch rate!

fishing from boat in lake with spinning reel

What is the Difference Between Braided and Fluoro Fishing Line?

There are plenty of differences between braided line and fluorocarbon.

Let’s take a look at some fundamental differences so you can better understand how they might affect your fishing:

Stretch

For me, this is one of the most obvious differences between braid and fluoro.

Fluorocarbon fishing line has a little bit of stretch. Perhaps not as much as mono, but you’ll still get a little elasticity when fishing using fluoro.

Braid, on the other hand, has absolutely zero stretch at all. It allows you to feel every single twitch, snag, pull, and take. It is great if you rely on ‘feel’ for fishing.

Diameter

Fluorocarbon is pretty dense stuff, so it has a fairly low diameter. However, this is nothing compared to braid.

Here’s the thing about braid.

It is the thinnest line around. For a given breaking strain, you’ll find that braid is super thin compared to any other line type.

Visibility

Think braid sounds like the perfect line? Think again! This is the major downfall to braid. It is really easy to see in the water.

Fluorocarbon has a low ‘refractive index’.

In non-scientific terms?

When submerged, it is very hard to see.

Suppleness

Because it is a plastic-based line, fluorocarbon can be pretty springy stuff. This means it tends to jump off a spool easily and can be pretty hard to work with.

Braid is really floppy, especially when wet. This makes it a little more workable.

Knots

I’m not just talking knot strength here. This area can be a major downfall when choosing a good fishing line.

Why?

If you think your standard knots will work with braid, you will have a bad time. Braid requires you to learn a series of different specialized knots.

Sounds like a hassle? Don’t worry. I’ve got you…

Fluorocarbon can also be tricky to tie knots in. However, provided you are careful, your standard fishing knots will still work.

If you want to become a master, have a quick check here. There’s plenty of knots to choose from!

Cost

Ah, now we get down to it!

The truth is that there are cheap and expensive braids, and there are cheap and expensive fluorocarbon fishing lines. However…

You’ll find that a medium-quality braid will cost you a little more than an average quality spool of fluoro.

All that said…

The best fluorocarbon lines can sometimes be ‘premium’ too!

Let me break down all of the above simply…

Braided Fishing Line Pros

  • It has the lowest diameter of any fishing line.
  • It is super strong.
  • You get excellent ‘feel’ and responsiveness.
  • You can fit more on a spool!

Braided Fishing Line Cons

  • It is really visible in the water.
  • It requires specialist knots.
  • Because it is so floppy, it tangles really easily.
  • It isn’t very abrasion resistant.
  • It can be expensive.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line Pros

  • It is relatively cheap.
  • No special knots required.
  • It is practically invisible in the water.
  • It is really abrasion resistant.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line Cons

  • It can be springy and hard to manage, leading to tangles.
  • It has a higher diameter than braid.
  • It sinks, so it is no good for surface fishing.
  • Knots can be brittle and break easily.

When to Use Braided Fishing Line

There are a few times when I consider a braided fishing line to be an excellent choice.

Here are some situations where it comes into its own:

man fishing on the lake from inflatable boat

Poor Visibility

Braid could be a wonderful choice if you fish in murky water or for species that have bad eyesight.

The ideal opportunity that springs to mind is catfishing! Those big channel cats love dirty water, so you needn’t worry about them seeing the braid! You can see some great examples of catfishing lines right here.

If Specimen Hunting

When specimen hunting, you need two things…

Pulling power and enough line to go the distance in a fight.

Because of its low diameter, you can fit a lot of braid on a spool without having to sacrifice strength either. This makes it ideal if you are expecting a huge fish to take a lot of line.

Lure Fishing

When lure fishing, you want your hook to behave as naturally as possible. Because of its low stretch, braid gives you a greater degree of control over your lure.

It is also easier to feel bites and work your hook over the bottom, as the information is transmitted directly to your rod.

In Windy Conditions

If you are looking for excellent casting distance, then braid is a fantastic choice. Because it is really thin, it can help to cut through the wind. You’ll find that your casting distance increases by at least 20% with braid.

When to Use Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluoro is a great choice when it comes to fishing lines. Here’s when you might want to give it a go…

inflatable boat on the lake at dawn and fisherman fishing

When You are Stealthy

Bright sunlight? Clear water? Wary Fish?

If the answer to any of the above is ‘yes’, fluoro should be your go-to option. Because it is really hard to see in the water, it is a great choice to avoid spooking wary fish.

Fishing Around ‘Structure’

One of the key features of fluoro is its superb abrasion resistance. If there is a good chance that your line will come into contact with anything other than water, it will pay dividends to throw on a spool of fluorocarbon.

It means less damage to the line and, therefore, less fish lost through breakages.

Bottom Fishing

Another key quality of fluoro is that it is really dense.

Do you know what that means?

It sinks like a stone. If your style of fishing means that you need to get down to the depths quickly, it should be a really fantastic choice.

Fluorocarbon vs Braided Fishing Line – The Best of Both?

Alright, look.

I love helping you guys out, so I’m going to share a little secret with you…

What if I was to tell you that there was a way to get all of the advantages of both braid and fluorocarbon?

Well, here it is.

When I want the best of both worlds, I use a braided main line with a fluorocarbon leader. You get all of the good things I discussed above with braid and most of the advantages of fluorocarbon too.

The downsides?

None! But you’ll need to learn how to join braid and fluorocarbon together. Check out this short video to see how to do it. It’s called the ‘Alberto knot’…

Match the Line to The Fishing Style!

Alright, guys, let’s cover all bases!

Below, you will find a table showing you the best line to use in a given situation. You’ll find a range of fishing styles, equipment, and techniques, along with the line I’d for with each.

Type of Fishing Recommended Line
Spinning Braid
Fly Fishing Fluorocarbon leader
Baitcasting Braid with a fluoro leader
Bass Braid
Carp Fluorocarbon
Catfishing Braid or fluorocarbon
Saltwater Braid with rubbing leader

The above table isn’t exhaustive. After all, it isn’t just about the fish. You have to be able to use the line too!

Some guys can’t get to grips with either braid or fluoro. In that case, monofilament might be a good option for you. You’ll see some great examples of the best mono line right here.

There is often more than one solution. Take, for instance, carp fishing? While fluoro is great, you might find some other lines that work just as well; here are some great suggestions.

Conclusion

Braid or Fluorocarbon? The choice is yours. They both have some great advantages and one or two downsides. My advice to you would be to give both a go and see which gives the best results!

Which do you prefer fishing with? What are your thoughts on the age-old debate of mono vs fluoro? Let me know in the comments below!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content