I figured I would jump in on this one, and provide my feedback in regards to the various types of line, and my personal observations; specifically from a saltwater and/or large freshwater species point of view. FLUOROCARBON:
Fluoro is probably one of the greatest inventions in fishing, over the last long while. It is very clear in the water, as it refracts light at nearly the same rate as water. (which is why it is so clear in the water) It's non porus unlike mono, thus it sinks a little faster, has less stretch, and maintains a better abrasion resistance. The down side to fluoro is, the memory is terrible, which is why it's not designed to spool a reel up with, like you would regular fishing line. I've seen the self advertised "fluorocarbon fishing line," and they claim it is 100% fluorocarbon, but, don't believe all the hype. True fluorocarbon, like Seagar for instance, is to be used as leader material only. Don't fool yourself. the price tag usually dictates rather or not it's true fluorocarbon or not. A spool of 50 pound Ande Fluorocarbon, in a 50 yard spool, is about 45 bucks or so. If you run accross a fishing line claiming to be Fluorocarbon, in a 300 yard spool for 15 bucks, rest assure, regardless what it says, it's not the real deal. None the less, regardless of if i'm deep dropping on grouper, or fishing for crappie with live minnows, a strip of fluoro leader is part of the rig.
MONO: Don't fool yourself and think that mono doesn't still maintain a place in angling. The stretch of mono is a key characteristing in the world of trolling and big game, because it acts as a shock absorber when a large fish, say like a mackerel, smacks a bait at 30 MPH. The use of braid as a main trolling line, will do nothing but result in the loss of many fish. Setting the drag isn't good enough, mono line and soft action rods are key. I still use mono on all of my trolling gear, and all of my panfishing gear. I've switched to braid only on the gear that I use to target stationary fish. (bottom fishing and such)
BRAID: Braid has many advantages, and the most notable ones are the lack of stretch, and of course it's tiny diameter. The lack of stretch can also be a disadvantage, as I noted above, if you are targeting fish that strike at high speeds, or are particularly acrobatic and/or have soft mouths. However, for the angler fishing in deep water for snapper or grouper, or targeting trophy flathead catfish in Santee Cooper, the advantage of braid truely shines. This is a perfect example. I regularly fish in 100' of water for bottom fish off of our coast. Using 60-80 lb mono, it would take around 6-8 oz of weight to get my rig to the bottom, because of the depth and water drag. Well, using 65-80 lb braid, because it's so small, it slices through the water with 1/3 less drag. Thus, I can now accomplish the same thing, with 1/3 less weight. Also, at that depth, the stretch of mono is a big disadvantage when setting the hook. With the braid, the hook sets are firm, and you loose less fish. I have not noticed any difference in the braid fraying versus mono. When you're fishing structure, it doesn't matter what you're using, it's going to frey up on you eventually. Nature of the beast. One disadvantage of braid, that is commonly over looked, is knot tying. I don't know how many people switch to braid, and try tieing the same old knots they always did, the same way they always did. They think the line is breaking, when in reality, thier knots suck. A good rule of thumb is, just double the wraps. I use an albright to connect my fluoro to my main line, and I use an improved clinch knot, to attach terminal tackle. Those knots are older than I am, but of all the knots I know how to tie and have used, those are the most reliable. Learn to onsistently tie those knots, and you've got it wooped. BRAND NAMES: Fluorocarbon:
The best on the market is Seagar, but I regularly get Ande and Triple Fish brands. They are as good, and usually a fraction of the cost. I would stay away from any other kind, no matter how attractive the cost. If you want the real deal, you've got to be willing to pay for it. Mono:
The best mono on the market, and has been for many, many years, is Ande Tournament. Berkely Big Game is good as well, but the Ande tournament grade is top notch and I wouldn't have any other type of mono on my reel. Now, for the small stuff, I use Stren. (under 10 lb applications) When I panfish, I either have a reel spooled with Stren, or use the stren as a leader on reels spooled with light braid. Braid:
There are only two types of braid that will EVER be on any of my reels: Power Pro and Suffix. They are equal in quality, strength, and castability. You will hear a lot of opinions, but I promise you, there isn't finer line on the market. People talk a big game, but i've actually tested them. Need proof? here you go...... I posted this up earlier today with a fishing report, but the picture below is me with an Amberjack I caught Saturday. Shimano Trevalla rod, Penn Sargus 5000 reel, 65 pound Power Pro with a 50 pound Ande Fluorocarbon Leader. When I set the hook on the fish, he was in 90' of water. The drag was locked down on the reel, and I dragged his ass up. AJ's are some of the toughest fish on the eastern seaboard. This one weighed over 50 pounds.
Bryan D. DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA MESSAGE BOARD! Your Saltwater and South Carolina Moderator http://www.peedeecatmasters.com http://WWW.BUBBASHOTRODS.COM