Monofilament fishing line has been a staple of the angler's equipment since 1958 when the DuPont Company that invented this nylon line introduced a type of it called Stren. The major advantage of a Monofilament line over the other lines on the fishing scene are that it casts extremely well, coming out of the rod guides and off the reel smoothly and uniformly to send a lure long distances.
Monofilament has excellent knot strength, and it is easy to tie fishing knots in this type of line. It also is the least expensive type of fishing line, and it is easy to cut, making it a good choice for people just learning to fish. The stumbling blocks associated with monofilament are that the line tends to be prone to abrasion and lacks the strength of the other two types. It stretches more than other lines, making hooksets problematic in some cases. It absorbs the sun's ultraviolet rays, which can weaken it. Monofilament retains memory, making it prone to kinking.
Superlines, also commonly referred to as microfilaments or braided lines, acquired their nickname from their great strength when compared to monofilament. This results from the manufacturing process in which interwoven synthetic fibers like Dyneema and Kevlar form a thin but potent line that resists the abrasion that plaques monofilament line. This strength is just what anglers look for who fish in places where they have to pull fish out of thick lily pads, brush and grasses. The superline will cut right through these water plants with the fish in tow, and the minimal stretch superlines have make setting hooks much easier. These same properties, however, make superlines more dangerous to the angler's hands, as they can carve through a person's fingers and palm as they try to pull a snag free if they become careless.
Superlines do not cast as smoothly as monofilaments, and anglers need to use specific knots such as the Palomar knot in them to avoid the knot from slipping. Superlines are two to three times more expensive than monofilaments, a major hitch for those anglers on a tight budget.
Fluorocarbon fishing line consists of polymers that render the line indiscernible when immersed in the water. This gives it its greatest advantage over superlines and monofilaments, as fish cannot detect its presence, allowing the angler to make a more natural presentation of his bait or lure. Fluorocarbon defies deterioration from such forces as sunlight, chemicals and gasoline. It is very strong, will not absorb water, sinks rapidly in the water due to its makeup, and stretching is not a problem with it. With all these advantages, an angler would look at fluorocarbon line and wonder what the fuss is about the other two types. However, fluorocarbon requires great attention when tying knots in it, or the knots will fail, with a trilene knot typically recommended. It does not cast as well as other lines, and the angler needs to precisely match his rod and reel to the correct kind of fluorocarbon line to get the best results. This line is also expensive, which is one reason many anglers will employ it as a leader on the end of other lines for its invisibility rather than equip an entire reel with it.