Monofilament vs Fluorocarbon Fishing Line – What’s the Difference & Which is Better?


Think your choice of fishing line is unimportant? Think again.

The line you choose to fish can make the difference between catching and going home empty-handed.

But I’ve got the answers right here.

In this article, I’m going to look at mono vs fluoro fishing lines, the benefits of both, and which is better in different circumstances.

Let’s 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.

Is Fluorocarbon Better than Mono?

Want the real answer?

That’ll be a firm, no.

Fluoro can be better in certain circumstances, but it depends entirely on what you are looking to achieve. All that said, they certainly aren’t the same.

The most helpful thing to do is hold the two up side by side so that you can see the difference…

fishing equipment on wooden background

Fluorocarbon vs Monofilament Fishing Line

Stuck for Time? Here’s a super quick rundown of mono vs fluoro

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low visibility
  • Sinks quickly
  • Doesn’t tangle easily
  • Better feel and line contact
  • Abrasion-resistant

Cons

  • It can be expensive
  • Less knot strength
  • It doesn’t spool well
  • Unforgiving with big fish

Monofilament Fishing Line – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Really affordable
  • Excellent stretch and forgiveness
  • Holds a knot really well
  • Great for main line

Cons

  • It is more visible in the water
  • Prone to the occasional tangle
  • It sinks slowly

Want to know the why’s and where’s of the above? Read on…

angler with rod and reel fishing carps in lake

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line – Features at a Glance

It’s denser!

Because of the way it is constructed, fluorocarbon is a little denser than mono.

One of the key advantages of a dense line is that it sinks relatively quickly, making it great for subsurface fishing

Fluoro has a low refractive index

What does this mean?

Well, the refractive index indicates how visible something is when submerged in water. A low refractive index means it is less visible. Because fluorocarbon has a really low refractive index, it means that it is almost entirely invisible!

Is it true? Absolutely… This short video is an old one… But it allows you to see the difference clearly. Check it out!

Fluorocarbon is stiff

This might be a good thing… Or a bad thing. Fluorocarbon is far less supple than mono.

This means that it would be ideal when you definitely want the line out straight. The downside is that it doesn’t spool very easily.

It’s not very stretchy!

If you are missing bites or are struggling with mono, this could be the answer. With a fluorocarbon line, you get excellent bite detection, and it is far easier to stay in contact with your hook.

Any downside?

Well, you don’t get as much ‘suspension’ as you would with mono. If you’ve got a stiff actioned rod, this could lead to more breakages, especially if you are hooking big fish!

Abrasion resistance

Fluoro is harder and stiffer. It has excellent abrasion resistance when fishing over rough ground such as rocks, reefs, or sunken trees. Braid is notorious for tearing and coming apart if it so much as brushes underwater features.

Here’s the difference.

Fluorocarbon slides over obstructions. It’s pretty slick stuff.

More expensive

This is a major downside to fluoro. It is nowhere near as cheap as mono. If you go for a premium brand, you can end up paying a significant amount more.

Is it worth it?

For me, anything that catches more fish is worth it. Would you rather lose a fish or spend a few more dollars? Your call.

two men fishing on lake

Monofilament Fishing Line – Explained

Monofilament isn’t quite as dense as fluorocarbon

Therefore, it tends to float or, at least, sink at a slower rate.

This is great for surface applications, not so great if you are trying to fish hard on the bottom quickly.

Unlike fluorocarbon, mono doesn’t have a low refractive index

As a result, it can be visible in the water. For years it was the only line available, and people still caught fish.

How was this achieved?

A couple of reasons, actually. Due to clever manufacturing processes, line producers can add color to the line. If you fish in dark, murky waters, you’ll be able to find a dark line to match.

And the second reason?

As you get deeper into the water column, certain light waves are filtered out. You’ve undoubtedly seen a red fishing line at some point?

Once this is down in the deep, the red wavelengths of light are no longer present, so the line is actually ‘neutral’ colored when compared with its surroundings.

Mono has really great stretch

This is one thing that I really love about mono.

It’s got a lot of stretch. In certain lines, you’ll find that it stretches by up to 10%! You won’t be as ‘in touch’ with your bait.

But…

You will find that you get less fish being ‘bumped’ off the hook or breakages. Mono is particularly useful for beginners who may be a little ‘ham-fisted’ and overzealous in their efforts to ‘bully’ a fish.

Very flexible and good for knots

Mono is super soft. This means that it spools really well and works great for mainlines on big spools. It also means that you can tie really tight knots, another tick in the box to avoid losing fish!

Because it is really flexible, it can sometimes be easier to get tangles and wind knots. Wind knots are super common in braid… Funnily enough, this is the most flexible line. Go figure.

While I mention it, if you are struggling with knots and presentation, it might be time to have a look at a multi-tool? They are really useful for cutting through any line!

Generally pretty cheap to buy

Here’s the best thing about monofilament, especially if you are on a budget.

It’s really cheap to buy.

You can pick up a massive spool for only a few dollars!

As I said above, when discussing monofilament versus fluorocarbon fishing line, it’s different measures for different things. Let us put the two head-to-head in different scenarios so that you get a good idea.

Ding ding, round one!

angler fishing on the autumn river

Fluro vs Mono – Which is Best For…

Spinning Reels?

Spinning is an interesting one. On the one hand, you are trying to fool the fish into something that looks (vaguely) natural.

But…

On the other hand, you need something with a bit of suspension. Believe me, those takes on a spinner can get pretty aggressive!

But here is what tips the balance for me.

When spinning, you will be working the line, casting a lot, and manipulating your hook. For those reasons, you want something that allows you to feel the action of the lure. And for that, there is no better line than fluorocarbon.

You don’t need to worry about issues spooling. Spinners aren’t cast very far, so you don’t need half a mile of line on your reel.

Verdict: First round to fluoro!

Fluoro: 1 Mono: 0

Saltwater Fishing?

Saltwater fishing is a little different. For most species you’ll catch at sea, you hooking them will be the first time they have been caught.

Why does that matter?

Sea fish tend to be less wary even with visible lines. So that is a tick in the box for mono.

Secondly, sea fishing gear tends to be a little beefed up.

Do you know what a bigger reel means?

More line! Investing in a 200-yard spool of fluoro is going to get a little pricey. When you add into the mix that you will be casting heavy weights and long lines, it makes sense to go down the route of monofilament.

You will get good abrasion resistance with fluorocarbon, that’s true, but given the benefits of mono, I think it’s a clear winner.

Verdict: Second round to monofilament!

Fluoro: 1 Mono: 1

Trout Fishing?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ve got trout fishing.

You only have to look at a trout the wrong way for it to be scurrying off into the distance. Stealth and deception are the keys to catching them.

Do you know what that means?

The less visible the line, the better.

Trout have excellent eyesight. They can spot line shadows left by line floating on the water. If you are fishing a landlocked lake or pool, you may also be faced with the possibility that these fish have been hooked before.

As with spinning, you aren’t going to need a lot of line, and you’ll generally be casting a short distance, so for me, fluoro wins the battle when it comes to trout.

Verdict: Third round goes to fluorocarbon!

Fluoro: 2 Mono: 1

Carp Fishing?

Now you may think that because carp are easily spooked, I’m going to go right on ahead and declare fluorocarbon the winner.

But you’d be wrong. Here’s why.

Carp use sight to feed on certain occasions. But you’ll normally find them glued to the bottom with their faces in the dirt. Their favorite haunts tend to be murky areas where they are safe from predators.

As a result, you won’t need to hide your line. In fact, many of the best carp fishermen use braid! I’ve got an article on the different lines used to catch carp just here.

You can also apply these principles to catfish. I’ve got a dedicated article to the best catfish lines right here.

And there’s more…

Carp fishing often relies on casting huge baits and feeder rigs into the distance. As with sea fishing, you aren’t going to want to be buying huge quantities of fluorocarbon.

Carp also get pretty big. I mean, check this out:

Look at those beasts! Don’t you think a bit of stretch in your line might be a good idea?

For the above reasons, monofilament wins this round.

Verdict: It’s neck and neck as Mono claws back a point

Fluoro: 2 Mono: 2

Bass?

Bass are a little bit of an enigma when it comes to choosing the best fishing line. On the one hand, they are sight feeders, like trout.

However, there’s a difference…

Bass are super aggressive and hard fighters. They hunt by sight, so you need to hide your line (making fluorocarbon a good choice). But you need something that has a bit of give and stretch to put up with super-fast runs.

Want the answer?

Pay attention as it’s a top tip.

Use both! Then you can get all the benefits! Here’s how to do it. Use mono as your mainline and attach a fluorocarbon leader. That way, you’ve got all of the benefits of both.

Here’s how to tie the two together.

Verdict: Both mono and fluoro win a point (as they are both awesome)

Fluoro: 3 Mono: 3

Baitcasters?

Ok, now we are in a dilemma. We need something that spools easily but doesn’t tangle.

Because let me tell you…

A tangle in a baitcaster is an absolute nightmare.

I want a line that is easy to handle and doesn’t spring and end up where it shouldn’t. When you add in the fact that you are probably after some heavy fish, so you need a thicker line, you are setting yourself up for trouble with fluorocarbon.

The springiness of fluoro is just enough to make this the loser for me in this round. When it is working, it is a joy to use. The downside is that it can spring, loop, and overrun really easily.

Take my advice

For baitcasters, stick with monofilament.

Verdict: Mono is the better line in this round

Fluoro: 3 Mono: 4

Fly Fishing?

Now here is an interesting one.

Fly fishing doesn’t use mono or fluoro in vast quantities as fly fishing line is entirely different. However, once you get to the end of that bright green (or yellow or orange) line, you will want something that makes your fly appear as natural as possible.

For me, there is no better choice than fluorocarbon.

Let me explain.

As I said above, trout are sight hunters who can spot a line from yards away. You want to go as low profile as possible. With its low refractive index, fluorocarbon is invisible.

And as I said…

It sinks. You’ll find dedicated waxes and ‘muds’ to make fly leader sink. Why not make life easy and buy a line whose natural tendency is to sink anyways?

Because of its stiffness, it also turns over really well in the cast, preventing knots and tangles that can weaken your leader.

When fly fishing, fluoro is the stand-out choice for leaders. Want to see some other examples? Check these out!

Verdict: Fluoro wins this round

Fluoro: 4 Mono: 4

Conclusion

So the scores are in… Mono vs Fluoro fishing line, which is better? Well, as I’m sure you can see for yourself, it’s ended in a draw!

Fluoro is great for certain applications, and monofilament fits the bill nicely too! Sometimes you can even use both! Ultimately the choice is yours.

Either will catch fish! Which have you had the most success with? 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.

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