The mono vs. braid topic, and which one is better is almost as old as fishing itself. Or at least ever since we had more than one type of fishing line to choose from. This is one of the most common questions among anglers.
If you are new to this, you may be feeling very frustrated since this is one of the topics where if you ask five people, you will get six opinions, and they will all be different.
So is braid or mono better for surf fishing? Both braided and mono are suitable for surf fishing. However, the braided fishing line provides better overall performance. But it also has some disadvantages. Mono, on the other hand, is also preferred by other anglers. Additionally, the combination of a braided mainline with a mono leader is also a good setup for surf fishing.
When I first started surf fishing, I had that very same question. I had to do a lot of research and experimentation to see what works best. If you want to find out more, check out the rest of the article as I share everything I have learned throughout the years.
Braided Fishing Line vs. Mono Fishing Line
Mono and braided lines are almost like the two opposites.
What one lacks the other shines at and vice versa, so it isn’t such a surprise that this is such a frequent question.
To be able to take a good look at the whole picture, I will review both lines into greater detail with their pros and cons by comparing how well they perform in the different categories.
Does Mono or Braided Line Stretch More?
Mono has a lot of stretch to it. If you have only used mono, you can get used to it, and you may not necessarily notice until you have tried fishing with braid. It puts things into perspective.
But is the extra stretch bad?
Imagine you feel the fish biting on the other end of the line, you pull up your fishing rod, but as you do that, the line stretches, and that snappy movement you did is not going to be as strongly felt on the other end, so it doesn’t set the hook easily.
And let’s not forget that you may not be able to feel every bite from the fish.
The feel on the braided line is going to be so much better compared to mono. You will be able to feel even the most subtle bites.
But it is not correct to say that braided line doesn’t stretch. It does. The difference is that it stretches significantly less.
The better sensitivity and feel are something that you want while surf fishing since you will frequently be fishing at long distances and in deep water.
When surf fishing, you will be fishing in areas where there will be a lot of current and surf. All that will create a natural bow in the line, the braided line here will perform much better as it will not be affected by the current as much as the mono will be.
What this means for you are better sensitivity and higher hook-up ratios. If you compare that with mono, you will find out that the less responsiveness and the higher stretch will result in more fish that gets away.
The extra stretch of monolines is going to be suitable for fish that likes to jump, especially if you do high speed trolling. If you are using a braided line for high speed trolling, the chances are once a fish shows and bite the hook; the line will snap.
The Diameter of Braided Lines and Mono Lines
Although in this section, I will talk about the diameter, you will also see that this will affect a lot of other things as well.
Braided line is a lot more compact, and it can pack the same strength in a smaller diameter. Usually, braided lines are about 1/3 to 1/4 of the width of other lines in a similar pound test class.
Here is a braided line vs. mono line diameter comparison:
|Braid lbs test||Diameter||Mono lbs test|
One of the first things that come to my mind is that you will get a lot more line on the spool.
Here’s the thing. This does several things for you.
First, this means you can fit more lines in a smaller fishing reel – Anyone who’s had to stay in the water. And hold their rod for a while knows how heavy the whole rod starts to feel even if it is very lightweight.
Hold something long enough, and you will get tired, eventually, regardless of how much it weighs.
And a smaller fishing reel means less weight that you need to hold while at the same time you are not making any compromises with the line capacity.
Braided lines do shine here as they give you the ability to fish with a smaller reel while at the same time having more lines and a higher breaking strength line too. Talk about getting two birds with one stone.
This is going to be a huge advantage if you are looking to do surf fishing.
The fact that braided lines are always thinner is also going to allow you to cast both easier and further. This is one of the main reasons why ever since I moved on to using a braided line, I never found a reason to look back.
Does Braid or Mono Cast Farther?
The prevailing opinion is that braid allows for longer casting.
Regardless if this is going to be offshore, inshore, freshwater or saltwater fishing.
This is mainly as a result of the smaller profile of the braided line. And since it is smaller in diameter, this creates a lot less friction between the line and the guides as you cast.
When you are surf fishing frequently, there will be some wind. Whether it is a gentle breeze or a strong wind braided line cuts through it more compared to mono. Overall, casting in very strong winds with braid will be a lot easier, and your accuracy won’t suffer as much compared to mono.
For a very neat real-life example of how the two different fishing lines can affect your casting distance, make sure to give a quick look at the video below.
As you can see from the video, on average, the braided line casts further.
Of course, we cannot expect any miracles, but on average, the mono was reaching between 150 to 160 feet while the braid was casting, on average, at least 10 feet more.
It may not seem like much, but when you are surf fishing, you will be trying to cast further into the water and past the breakers. Frequently you may want to cover distances of at least 100, 150 up to 200 feet, and more. So every little does count here.
Is Mono or Braided Line More Abrasion Resistant?
It may seem a lot counter-intuitive and against what is being preached, but mono hands-down win the abrasion resistance challenge.
When it comes to abrasion resistance, mono performs better compared to a braided line in the same test pound class.
For an excellent visual example of how well the same class of braid and mono compare take a quick look at the video below:
In the video above, the two lines compared were with the same breaking strength, which means that they are with different diameters (the braided being much smaller).
And if you are like me wondering how braided line compares to mono of the same diameter. Below is an interesting video comparing two lines with the same width.
If you are fishing in areas where there’s a lot of underwater structure, rocks, docks, piers, jetties, you will be well off with a mono fishing line.
If there is a higher chance, the fish will take your line near anything that can damage your line; this is the way to go.
Is Mono or Braid Better for Deepwater Fishing?
Braided line performs well when it comes to fishing in deep water. One of the reasons is that you will have more direct contact with the fish down in the water.
This may not seem like a tremendous thing, but it is.
Usually, you may not feel too much of a difference between braided line and monoline if you are fishing in no more than 50 to 100 feet of water. The difference is usually a lot bigger once you go beyond 100 feet mark.
The braided line tends to cut through the water a lot better, and you can fish in deeper water while using less weight.
In comparison, the mono fishing line doesn’t cut through the water as good; it has more resistance to the water as it is affected a lot more by the currents. As a result, it tends to create a more pronounced bow.
Does the Braided or Mono Line Have More Memory?
Line memory is a well-known problem that we have with mono fishing lines.
What this means is that as the line sits on the spool, it starts to break-in with time developing curls corresponding to the spool. As you cast, the line doesn’t stay straight but rather curly throughout its whole length. This reduces casting distance and also can lead to more tangles.
It is safe to say that the more memory your fishing line has, the less fun while fishing you will have.
Braided line, on the other hand, has very low to no memory. This is making it overall a much better line for casting and fishing.
Is Braided Line of Mono Better for Tying Knots?
That is one of the areas where braided lines can be a headache to deal with.
Braided line is notorious for not being easy to tie into knots. Many knots may not work well with braided lines, and there is a high chance that they will slip.
Anglers usually use Palomar knot, but other types of knots like the Improved Clinch and the Uni knot can be used as well.
So Is Braid or Mono Better for Surf Fishing?
If you take all the different aspects, I covered above, and you will see that braid is better for surf fishing because of the overall more effortless casting.
But the braided line is not perfect either. It does have its disadvantages. So both lines can be used for surf fishing.
Although I personally never experienced that a few anglers have been warning me about the dangers of the braided line and how sharp it is. It can cut you to the bone, so extra care is advised, especially when getting your lure off a snag.
Saying all that one would think the choice will be obvious, but let me remind you of one of the biggest problems with braided lines, namely – the low abrasion resistance.
You can see that on the videos above, that braided line sometimes will snap in the blink of an eye. This makes a choice somewhat tricky. But there is something else we can do instead.
Beginners may want to start with a monoline because it is easier to deal with. And trust me if you think the wind knots that you can have with mono are bad wait until you see what happens with the braided line.
Braided line is an excellent choice for the more experienced anglers out there.
Taking the Best of Both Worlds
Who said that we need to go with one or the other? And why not use them in a way that we can take advantage of their pros and reduce the impact of their cons.
What I am alluding to is that we can use them both.
Since braid is more visible and has less stretch, we can use it as our mainline and add a mono leader.
The mono is going to be less visible, it will add a little shock absorption, and we will not lose so much on the sensitivity and castability since the mainline is still braid.
We can take advantage of the abrasion resistance of the mono while at the same time still using a smaller fishing reel thanks to the smaller profile of the braid.
Is the Price of a Braided Line Worth It?
One of the most significant downsides of the braided fishing line is, well, the price. Frequently braided line is going to be two, three even more times more expensive compared to a monoline of the same class. And this is one of the things that is a deal-breaker for many.
In the price category, mono is the clear winner.
So is the price of the braided line worth it? This is going to be an important question here. But the higher price doesn’t tell everything.
So what we may end up with here is a more expensive line which lasts longer and a cheaper line that lasts less time. Does the price to lifetime ratio of the two lines level out in the long term is hard to say.
With all that being said, just because the price is higher doesn’t mean the braided line is better. And of course, not all braided lines are created equal. The manufacturing process, the materials used all matter.
The saying that you get what you pay for still holds even when it comes to braided fishing lines.
Different Ways to Spool Your Fishing Reel (And How to Save Some Money on Braided Line)
Since the braided line is more expensive, what the majority of anglers do is always start filling up the spool with mono.
It is a good practice to fill the whole spool up to the edge. That way, you can achieve better casting distances because the line will have less friction.
If you have a big spool of braided line, this may not apply to you as you can use the braided line.
But if you have a smaller 100 or 150 braided spool which you know will not fill up the whole fishing reel spool, you can always fill it up with mono first and top it off with the braided line.
Alternatively, you can do the opposite thing. If you want to fish with the braid, you can fill the spool with mono backing and finish it with braid.
That way you will save a lot of money as you will not have to put on as much braided line.
Another great way to save on the fishing line is to use some super cheap braided or monoline, then add the good braided line and from there have a mono or fluoro leader.
Rarely you would need that much line, and filling the whole spool with good braided line can be seen as impractical since you will probably never get to it.
Final Words on Mono vs. Braid
The question of which fishing line is better is always going to pop up no matter what we do. Generally speaking, neither one is better as both have their advantages and disadvantages and have their place.
But when it comes to surf fishing, a combination of both is going to perform best.
Use just one, and you will be stuck with its pros and cons, but use them both, and they end up synergizing surprisingly well.