The most commonly used fishing line is monofilament. It has been around since 1939 and is made out of nylon strands. While great improvements have been made to fishing lines, monofilament is the preferred fishing line for most anglers. Monofilament is also the least expensive line on the market. This is the easiest line for fishermen to cut, and it casts the best, coming the reel smoothly and allowing for long casts. New anglers have no problems tying knots in monofilament.
Available in more colors than other lines, monofilament is not as sturdy as the newer types. It is susceptible to abrasion and stretching after it eventually absorbs water. A stretched line makes it more difficult to detect biting fish.
Most fluorocarbon fishing line is made out of polyvinylidene fluoride, which gives the line a huge benefit that other lines do not possess. It has almost exactly the same refractive qualities as water, which makes it unable to be seen in water. This makes this fishing line popular for leaders, with anglers attaching a short length of fluorocarbon to their other lines so fish won't see it and won't become frightened as they approach the bait. Fluorocarbon resists stretching, will sink as soon as it hits the water and can withstand the ultraviolet rays from sunshine that cause other lines to weaken.
The drawbacks of fluorocarbon are that it does not cast as well as other lines, and it is more expensive. The line tends to be stiff, and when spooled onto a spinning reel, it will often come off in bunches when you open the bail and cast. Tying knots in fluorocarbon also requires a degree of knowledge, with the Palomar knot being one of the best for this kind of fishing line.
Braided fishing line is unparalleled for strength. This is because braided lines are made by fusing and braiding materials, such as Spectra, that are extremely strong synthetic fibers. This method contributes to its high price, but anglers who go to areas where fish are often in thick undergrowth favor it. A braided line floats on the top of the water after being cast, which makes it a poor choice for lures that need to be fished on the surface because it often gets tangled in the lure itself as it floats alongside it. Tying knots in this line must be done with great care to keep them from slipping, with the Palomar knot again being one that serves the angler best. Braided lines will cut a person's hands if she is not wary, and they also will have a cutting effect on inferior fishing reels and rods.