The term “braided fishing line” (or simply “braided line”) refers to a modern product made from woven synthetic material that has great strength with a small diameter. They were first called “superlines” because they were made from incredibly strong but thin gel-spun polyethylene fibers. A century or more ago there were braided fishing lines made from woven cotton or linen; They were bulky, difficult to use, easily deteriorated, and instantly became virtual relics when the nylon fishing line was introduced. The latter were referred to as monofilament (single strand), in contrast to the multi-filament construction of braided fishing lines.
The main features
These lines are far thinner than other monofilament lines of comparable strength.
In contrast to monofilament lines, braided fishing lines have little to no elongation, which can differ considerably in the elongation that occurs under strong pressure.
These fishing lines are pliable, not wiry, and have no memory like nylon products.
The main advantages
- Good casting performance due to slackness, thinness and less risk of twisting
- Ability to cast a greater distance with a thin but strong line
- Ability to bring certain baits (e.g. jigs and trolled plugs) deeper
- Ability to reel longer lengths on a fishing reel
- Ability to take a significant amount of line on a smaller spool than other lines
- Ability to cut through some types of underwater aquatic plants when playing a strong fish
- Improved hit detection through excellent sensitivity
- Improved ability to sense dirt on a line, hook, or bait
- Improved ability to feel the effects of certain types of bait (especially those with vibratory properties)
- Greater connection potential due to lack of expansion
- Improved ability to turn strong fish away from obstacles / cover / objects
Other potential benefits
- Depending on the fishing conditions and the way you maintain your tackle, braided fishing lines may be more durable and long-lasting than other lines.
- Depending on how well you tie knots and whether you are using the right ones, the braided line may hold knots as well, or better than other fishing lines. The palomar knot is possibly the most popular braided fishing line knot, followed by the varsity. With braided lines, I only use a single Uni-Knot for terminal connections and the Line-to-Line Uni-Knot for connecting two lines or creating a leader-to-line connection.
- Manufacturers and many anglers tout the abrasion resistance of braided lines, but I don’t know of any test that proves this under actual fishing conditions. While I wouldn’t say it’s worse than monofilament, in my experience it’s not necessarily better.
As a one-time user of monofilament lines, I now fish approximately 70 percent of my catch with braided lines due to the advantages mentioned. There are a few minor cons (they are more expensive, harder to cut, can create wind knots, and prone to rod fouling) and types of fishing where other lines are better suited. Even so, braided fishing lines help anglers be more productive.
Ken Schultz was a longtime contributor to Field & Stream magazine and is the former fishing editor of ESPNoutdoors.com. He has written and photographed nineteen books on sport fishing subjects and an annual fishing tips calendar. His writing has appeared on various websites for nearly two decades. His author website is kenschultz.com.