It’s now been twenty years since I first spooled a reel up with braid and tried it out for the first time. Casting pilchard baits from a local rock ledge for tailor and salmon was order of the day and it was almost stunning to feel bites transmitted up the line, to the rod. Even small picker bites felt solid compared to using old school nylon mono. Of course, hooking into hard fighting sambos was even more exaggerated with this new braid stuff!
Only a few years ago I tried fluorocarbon as a mainline for the first time and it too was a completely new experience. Both forms of line are so different to each other and there are advantages and disadvantages to take into consideration when deciding which one to fill your new reel with.
Overall, the biggest advantages with braid are its lack of stretch, which translates to directly to increased sensitivity, as well as its finer diameter for the breaking strain so more line can fit onto the spool. Casting distance is also increased due largely to it being so thin compared to a mono line of similar breaking strain.
Deep water applications like offshore bottom bouncing and jigging are where a good quality, fine diameter braid has a distinct advantage. Similarly, working vibes or soft plastics in deeper parts of an estuary or impoundment is more efficient because bottom structure and bites are easily detected. Hook ups are solid as well, as no stretch means hooks are firmly set.
On the other hand, the main thing fluorocarbon has over braid is that it’s much less visible to fish and anyone who’s done a lot of lure casting for bream will know how wary they can be. Even when used as a leader, fluoro often outperforms nylon mono when targeting bream or a number of other species for that matter.
In particularly clear water bream can be extra difficult customers to fool and this is when using fluorocarbon as a mainline is highly advantageous. Most species can be wary to some extent and some others that quickly come to mind are luderick, trout and even speedsters like striped tuna. So even if you’re not chasing bream, there are certainly instances where fluorocarbon as a mainline is well worth considering.
Like most things to do with fishing or tackle, there are no clear cut rules which must be adhered to (unless fishing under specific tournament regulations or trying to score an IGFA record), so it’s always worth experimenting to see what works best for you.
- Braid is advantageous in deep water situations, offshore, estuary or in the fresh.
- More braid can be packed onto a spool compared to the equivalent breaking strain in mono or fluorocarbon.
- Braid is much more sensitive than mono or fluorocarbon so bites are easily felt and hook ups are firm.
- Fluorocarbon is much less visible underwater and highly advantageous when targeting wary fish like bream in very clear water.
- Fluorocarbon can also make rigging up faster and simpler, as in many cases there is no need to tie on a separate leader.
- When using fluorocarbon, be sure that all hooks are needle sharp and aim to keep as little slack line between the lure and rod tip as possible, so it’s easier to respond to bites and hook the fish.