Two commonly used fishing lines are monofilament line and braided fishing line. The braided line, also called superline, serves an angler well who requires certain qualities in the line, but it does have drawbacks. Monofilament has its own pluses and minuses.
Monofilament dates to the DuPont Co.'s invention of nylon. The first monofilament line hit the market in 1939. This nylon line eventually replaced the traditional braided Dacron type that anglers used for years. Braided line came into being in the early part of the 20th century when manufacturers developed machines that could first braid silk into fishing line and then synthetic fibers such as rayon and Dacron. However, in the early 1990s, braided lines re-emerged thinner and stronger as companies wove together synthetic fibers such as Kevlar and Spectras into a slender diameter line of great durability and strength.
Monofilament is subject to stretching as factors such as ultraviolet light and water absorption weaken it. This makes it less desirable than braided line in some fishing circles. Monofilament will stretch, which makes setting the hook a bit more difficult and can mean the difference between a fish in the boat and a fish story about the one that escaped. Braided line does not stretch nearly as much as monofilament as it gets more use, making it extremely sensitive to even the most subtle nibble of a fish.
Braided line is not as likely to suffer from abrasions and minute nicks that occur in monofilament line. This translates into a sturdier line that an angler can have confidence in as he fights a heavy fish. The braided line allows an angler to pull fish through all sorts of aquatic plants and weeds that would tangle up monofilament and eventually break it as the person applied pressure to the line. This same toughness causes many anglers to suffer cuts on their hands as they attempt to pull a snag free from the water and the braided line slices through their skin.
People tying knots in monofilament find that the process is less difficult than in braided lines, with certain knots in braided line prone to slipping. It is much easier to cut monofilament line without the use of a pair of line clippers than braided line. Monofilament line casts smoothly and is well-suited for spinning rods. Braided line works best on bait casting rods and reels. It allows an angler to flip bait a short distance, let it sink and then literally winch the fish out of the water. Monofilament will retain spool memory much more than braided line. This means that changing it periodically is necessary or it will begin to coil and kink as the individual casts it out.
The cost of these two types of fishing line comes out in favor of monofilament. Braided line's manufacturing process is more expensive, a fact that means companies must pass the added expense onto their consumers. It is common for braided line of the same pound test and spool length to cost an angler two to three times more than comparable monofilament.
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