There are three basic kinds of fishing lines available to the angling public, each with different benefits and shortcomings. Fishermen select these fishing lines according to their needs and the type of fish they go after most often. Fishing lines are rated by their knot strength, stretching ability, resistance to abrasion and visibility in the water.
Monofilament line has been available since DuPont invented it in 1939. Made of synthetic fibers such as nylon, monofilament line accounts for two out of every three purchases of fishing line. Although it tends to stretch more than other lines, which causes it to absorb water, it is very easy to cut. Monofilament breaks more easily than other lines and is typically thicker in diameter, but it casts very well and is more affordable than the other types, fluorocarbon and superlines. Available in a wide array of colors, monofilaments are the best line for people just learning to fish. The knot strength is excellent, and it is the easiest line to tie knots with.
Fluorocarbon fishing line has two great assets: It is incredibly hard to see in the water due to its water-like refractive qualities, and it will not stretch much. Fluorocarbon also sinks in the water quickly and is a hardy line, resistant to the abrasion caused by rocks and other obstacles it may encounter. One of fluorocarbon's most admirable features is its ability to stand up to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, which can cause other lines to deteriorate over time. Many fishermen have gotten into the habit of using the hard-to-see fluorocarbon line as a leader, attaching a small length of it to their regular line and then tying the hook to it to catch easily spooked fish.
Braided lines are so strong they have come to be called "superlines." They consist of many strands of fibers, such as Kevlar. These lines can also be formed when layers of microfilaments are meticulously fused together to create one line. The strength of braided line makes it a fine selection for people who fish in heavy weeds, as the line will hold up as it drags a fish through the vegetation. The stretch in these lines is almost negligible, which is important when an angler sets the hook. Extremely resistant to any abrasion, superlines can actually slice through a person's hand if he is not careful. If a line becomes snagged, never try to pull it free with your bare hands. Superlines can also break your fishing rod if you try to pull a snag with it. Braided lines do not come in a wide range of colors, and certain knots are prone to slippage. Most come with product instructions that include information about the types of knots that work best, but a Palomar Knot will normally hold well.