Merwin: The Great Braid Debate

There hasn't been much discussion of braided lines--so-called superlines--around here yet, so here are a few comments for openers.

Superlines have some major advantages over nylon monofilament, mostly because they are much smaller in diameter for any given pound-test and because they have much less stretch. Smaller diameter lines allow longer casts with spinning reels. Less stretch means stronger hooksets with any kind of tackle and also much better sensitivity; with superlines your "feel" for the movement of an underwater lure or the light tap-tap of a biting fish is substantially increased.

On the downside, these lines are generally much more expensive than mono. And If a backlash or other tangle occurs, the lines' small diameters can make freeing such tangles more difficult. Also, and because superlines are made from various forms of slippery polyethylene, knots can be more difficult to tie well.

I've used various superlines since they first came out. I mostly use FireLine on spinning reels, in pound-tests ranging from 4 (for trout and panfish) to 10 (medium-weight spinning) to 14 and up (surf-spinning). For baitcasting reels, I think a superline with a more round profile tangles and digs into the spool less often. So for those reels I've most recently been using a Stren braid in 30-pound-test, which is about the same diameter as 10- or 12-pound mono. Line diameter determines line choice here, by the way. Smaller diameters are difficult to use on baitcasters.

So have you made the switch from nylon monofilament? And what superlines do you like? Curious minds want to know....