Does Braided Line Really Cast Further?

Success in fishing is about putting the bait where it counts most, and sometimes that means getting a little further out.  Getting that extra distance often raises the question, does braided line really cast further than monofilament.

Does Braided Line Really Cast Further? Practical testing and anecdotal evidence all show braided line to be superior to monofilament in casting distance under similar conditions.

However, we have to make sure that we are comparing apples to apples.  There are a lot of factors to be considered in these types of comparisons.  Most of these factors are equipment related, however style of fishing and the species of fish are also considerations.  The type of fishing you prefer and your choice of fishing equipment can influence the distance advantage you get with braided line. More distance may be only a small piece of the better fishing equation.

Braided Line Really Does Cast Further!

When the factors affecting casting distance are the same, some experts have found a distance advantage for braided line that ranges from 7% to 30%.  Most of the testing done for distance has been performed by professional fishermen and guides who have an interest in covering as much area as possible.  More distance per cast means less effort to cover more water area, increasing the chances of catching fish.

Rod length, reel type, and bait selection can all affect the distance advantage that you may realize by switching to braided line.  With some combinations of equipment, you may not see a significant increase in casting distance. Some reel manufacturers even discourage the use of braided line with their equipment.  Your fishing style and your skill with your equipment can affect your casting distance just as easily.

Does Comparative Testing Translate to the Real World?

Watching some of the tests performed by professional anglers will give you a better idea of how braid performs versus monofilament in different configurations and under different conditions. There are several good videos online available here.  

However, you must remember that most of these tests are performed by professional anglers and guides who spend the majority of their time with a fishing rod in their hands.  The equipment they use is top of the line and kept in peak operating condition by professional technicians. This equipment can be a far cry from what most casual weekend fishermen are using.

Whether you experience comparable gains in casting distance can be more influenced by your equipment and your skill than the choice of the line itself.  The most expensive braided line may perform less effectively than the cheapest monofilament on some reels and rods.  

There is no doubt that switching to a braided line on your fishing reels will gain you at least a small amount of distance under most circumstances.  However, distance isn’t the only consideration when fishing. To get a better understanding of when braid may be an advantage, you need to examine the pros and cons of both braided line and monofilament.

The Upsides and the Downsides of Braided Line and Monofilament Line

Braided line may give you an advantage in distance, but there may be a trade-off in other ways.  Distance is not the only consideration when fishing, either casually or competitively. Balancing the advantages and disadvantages of the fishing line can be confusing at best.

Monofilament expresses its own personality in its memory.  Anyone who has worked with monofilament is well aware of its desire to coil itself, creating masses of loops and swirls.  Braided line has much less memory and is, in many ways, easier to work with.  

Braided line tends to float and when using light lures and can keep the lures from reaching their intended depth.  Monofilament may also float but tends to disappear in the water as opposed to a braided line that remains visible to the fish.  Visible line in the water may not be an issue, but many anglers see it as a possible problem.

Your Choices in the Equation: Reels, Tactics, and Cost

Your choice of the type and manufacturer of reels can also influence your decision to choose a braided line.  Manufacturers rate most reels based on being loaded with monofilament line. Braided line tends to be much thinner than a comparable test weight of monofilament line. 

When changing to a braided line, the differences in line diameter can be mystifying.  Reel ratings are listed as a certain number of yards of line for a given test weight, such as 180 yards of 8 lb test monofilament.  Making the conversion is not as simple as loading the same weight of braided line onto your reel as monofilament line. Many websites can help to perform these conversions, such as Pattaya Fishing’s Fishing reel line capacity estimator found here.

You may also have to change your fishing tactics and methods when you switch to a braided line.  Unlike monofilament, braided line has little or no stretch. Anglers who perform hard hook sets may find themselves pulling hooks and lures from the fish’s mouth the first few times they get a strike.  This lack of stretch makes braid much more sensitive, which can be a plus if you bottom fish or are after species with soft bites.

This lack of stretch can also be hard on your equipment if you are fishing for big, hard-hitting, and active fighting species.  Such stress on equipment is especially true when fishing for saltwater species. Monofilament, with its normal elasticity, can make a more comfortable fishing experience under these conditions and circumstances.

Monofilament is cheaper than braided line, and it is easier for casual fishermen to cut and knot.  Many brands of braided lines are coated with special materials to make them run through the rod eyelets easier.  These coatings, combined with the multi-strand nature of braided line, can require special knots that many weekend fishermen find challenging.

Consider the Trade-offs

Line TypeProsCons

Braided LineMore DistanceThinner – more reel capacityNo memoryNo stretchSensitivityDurabilityExpensiveMay not work properly on some reelsNo stretchVisible to fish

MonofilamentInvisibilityStretchLess ExpensiveMemoryDurabilitySensitive to Sunlight

Gaining the Advantage

If you value distance in your casts, then you should definitely consider loading your reels with braided line provided you have done the research and understand how to convert your reels specifications from monofilament to braided line. There is no doubt that braided line will give you at lease a few more yards of distance with each cast, but any advantage that gives you may be negated if the other considerations are not taken into account. 

Probably the best thing you can do is to try braided line and monofilament line for yourself, side by side.  Load your comparable rods and reels with properly sized line for the style of fishing you enjoy and for the species of fish that you want to catch and go to work.  Toss one for a while and then switch. Cast until you hook fish on both types of line and experience the feel and effect. Test for yourself the difference in distance you experience.  We fish for enjoyment for the most part, and finding that right mix of equipment that fits you is as much a part of the equation as anything else.

In the end, the choice of braided line or monofilament line is, like many things in life, a compromise.  It is up to the individual fisherman to make the choices between advantages and disadvantages to find the best compromise for their style of fishing.

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