When To Use Braided Fishing Line And Not To Use It

Braided line is nothing new for anglers, but it’s come a long way since the dacron braid of the 50s and 60s. Today’s braid is much thinner, more advanced, and more sensitive than ever before, and it makes an excellent choice for almost all types of fishing. 

Today, we’re going to cover some general rules for when to use braid and when to avoid it and share some helpful advice so you can get your gear in top shape for the upcoming season. 

Why Most Anglers Rely on Braided Line 

While monofilament is a tried-and-true option for all kinds of fishing, its properties present a few headaches on the water.

Modern braided line improves upon many of these issues, which is why it’s such a popular choice for most fishing styles.

Often, going with braid will be the right call for the vast majority of fishing styles. 

Anglers enjoy several benefits when using braided lines, including: 

  • No line stretch
  • Impressive strength
  • No line memory
  • UV resistant and more durable

No Line Stretch

Braided line offers virtually no stretch, which comes in handy for various techniques. 

Since the line doesn’t stretch, this makes braid significantly more sensitive than mono or fluoro. Fishing with braid makes it easier to detect strikes, which becomes especially important when fishing in deep water, where identifying the bite becomes more difficult. 

In addition to making it easier to detect a bite, it’s also much easier to set the hook when you have a fish on the line. Since the line doesn’t stretch, the force of your hook set transfers through the line more directly, which makes for a cleaner hook set. 

Impressive Strength 

Another significant benefit that braid provides is how much stronger it is than monofilament of the same diameter.

Braided line is significantly thinner than monofilament of the same pound test. This allows anglers to load their reels up with considerably more line or use a heavier line than what their reel is rated for. 

Using a heavier line comes in handy when anglers need to rip through cover and around lots of structure.

When there’s a fish on the line camping out in heavy vegetation, a heavy braid allows you to muscle them out of cover and into open water so you can land the fish.

No Line Memory 

Another area where braid outshines other fishing lines is that braid doesn’t have much line memory, unlike mono and fluoro.

Memory is the tendency a fishing line has to conform to the shape of the spool as its cast. As mono or fluoro comes off the spool during a cast, the line tends to try to return to its coiled form. 

Line memory reduces your casting distance, and it also invites wind knots and tangles, which are always a nightmare to have to untangle. 

UV Resistant and Long Lasting 

While monofilament is king from a cost perspective, it’s far from the most durable fishing line. Mono degrades over time with exposure to the sun, and it also absorbs water, which weakens the line over time.

Braid doesn’t absorb water, and it’s UV resistant, so it experiences much less damage from the sun and water. These characteristics translate to braid lasting about 3-4 times as long as monofilament does. 

Drawbacks of Braid 

While braid offers significant advantages in most situations, braided lines have a few drawbacks.

Most of these issues are small and easy to work around, but they’re worth noting so you can work around them in your own style. 

Knot Strength

One knock that I have with braid that I’ve yet to see remedied for is its knot-worthiness.

Braid has a slippery feel to it, making it difficult for knots to cinch down tight. When tying knots with braid, you need to take care to ensure your knot is correctly secured. You’ll also add several more wraps to each knot compared to what you would use for mono or fluoro. 

If you take care when tying your knots and use braid-friendly knots that tend to perform better, you won’t run into any issues with the knot strength of braid compared to other lines. 


Braid is also highly visible in the water, which is an issue any time the fish you’re targeting are line shy.

Thankfully, this is easily remedied by fishing with a mono or fluoro leader so that the line a fish would see when you present your bait is much more challenging to spot. 

Abrasion Resistance 

While braid is much stronger than monofilament pound for pound, it’s easier to abrade.

When bottom fishing around heavy structure, bridge or dock pilings, or around rocks, wood, and other objects, a tiny nick on braid can weaken your line dramatically.

Anglers add a 12-24″ leader to help provide abrasion resistance to combat this. The exact length of your leader will depend on the type of fishing you are doing. 

Some fishing styles, such as trolling, call for a longer leader, which provides shock absorption during battles with larger fish. 

Cutting Line 

Braid might be prone to abrasions, but it’s tough to cut cleanly with most tools.

Nail clippers, nippers, or scissors with flat blades do a poor job cutting braid, leaving behind a frayed mess. 

This issue is easily remedied by investing in a tool for cutting braid. Most tools are inexpensive, and cost as little as a few dollars. These nippers or scissors have serrated edges which cut the braid and leave behind a clean edge.

When to Use Braid 

Braided fishing line offers many benefits making it the most popular choice for many fishing styles.

Braid is usually the superior option when:

  • Jigging
  • Casting
  • Bottom Fishing
  • Fishing around structures

Its versatility makes it ideal for power techniques as well as finesse fishing. The superior feel that braid offers makes it the perfect choice whenever you’re using artificial or fresh bait. 

When Not to Use Braid

While braid’s properties make it a superior choice for most scenarios, there are still a few instances where fluorocarbon or mono are a better fit. 

When trolling, the stretchiness of monofilament becomes an advantage. The line can stretch to absorb the shock of the fighting fish, making it easier for the angler to land the fish while reducing the likelihood of the fish snapping your line or damaging your rod. 

Mono and fluoro are also better choices when casting into a strong wind. Lighter braid is so thin and lightweight that it can easily tangle up and create wind knots on the cast. 

Using a Leader 

When fishing with braid, the most important thing you can do is use a leader at the end of your braided line. A leader serves several purposes that mitigates one of the issues common to braid. 

A fluorocarbon leader eliminates the visibility issue, and it’s virtually invisible underwater. Fluoro also provides greater abrasion resistance to help you deal with structure or toothy fish while providing a bit of shock absorption at the point of impact when you’re fighting a big fish. 

A mono leader also makes a fine choice, although it’s easier to see in the water and isn’t quite as abrasion-resistant as fluorocarbon. 

Recent Posts