Can You Use Braided Line on a Spinning Reel?

Braided line is the go-to line for many anglers. Yet, how you use a braided line is a big question, especially when wondering if you can use a braided line on a spinning reel. The answer to that question is yes, BUT there are some things you should know about before jumping in with a braided line on your spinning rod.

Is Braided Line, Monofilament, or Fluorocarbon Line Better for Spinning Reels?

We have established that you can use a braided line on a spinning reel. The question now is, should you? Along the same line of reasoning is which type of line is better for spinning reels.

The answer to both questions is complex. You can use a braided line on your spinning reel, but the most significant drawback when it comes to braided lines is that fish can see it. Here’sHere’s some food for thought:

  • Not all fish are fearful of line. If you have a shy fish, you can still use a braided line, but you should use a monofilament or polycarbon leader. More info on this tip is below.

  • If your fishing target is small, the braided line is overkill. You don’t need a braided line if you are fishing for small trout, such as cutthroats. The fish are small enough that the monofilament or fluorocarbon line is fine. If you are fishing in Alaska for salmon, you would want to use a braided line either as your primary or backing line.

  • If the presentation of the fly, lure, or bait is critically important, you don’t want to use a braided line. Bass and trout have excellent vision. That is why in more demanding fishing situations, you fish without a braided line.

The lesson here is to set up your reel specifically for the fish you target. Not only does that include line choice, but line test too.

When Choosing Which Type of Line to Use, What Are Key Considerations?

The strength of the braided line is that it tends to lay flat on the reel. Monofilament and fluorocarbon have tendencies to twist and loop back on themselves as you reel in the line.

Those issues can lead to backlashes and other “knotty” situations. Looping and twisting can also cause weaknesses in the line. Braided line is much more robust, and because of its design, it generally remains flat and threads off the reel evenly.

When you have a choice, a braided line is an excellent choice.

If you target fish that are shy or spook easily, you can still use a braided line, but you will need to add a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader. That little trick does not always entice fish to strike the lure, but it can help.

Also, along these lines, many fish understand the seasonality of their food. It’s why a trout can snatch a leech and avoid going for the dead leaf. Finally, when you cast the line into a lake, it leaves a visible trail that fish can see. With a braided line, that trail is more extensive, and many fish, such as bass, can see the line.

That has been the magic of the monofilament fishing line for ages. Now with fluorocarbon line available, there are choices.

Are Braided Lines All the Same?

As it turns out, braided lines are not all the same. They are made differently. The short of it is that braided line is made from fibers which become carriers.

You will see a braided line listed by the number of carriers. Carriers are the number of strands in the braid. The higher the number of carriers, the smoother the line. The lower the number of carriers, the rougher the line.

While that description may make it seem that rough braided line is poorer in quality, it is not so. Each type of braided line is a tool, and a 4-carrier braided line is helpful in weedy water.

The roughness of the line helps cut through the weeds — literally. If you use an 8-carrier braided line, you will find it is smoother than the 4-carrier line, and that smoothness helps it zing through the eyes easier.

In addition, a 4-carrier line has a slight resistance. Thus, 8-carrier braided line will travel farther during casting.

So, these examples of differences in braided lines show us that as a tool, different qualities of braid can have different applications.

What Should You Look For In Braided Fishing Line?

Can You Use Braided Line on a Spinning Reel

The characteristics of a quality fishing line, be it braided, mono, or fluorocarbon, are often decided by the fish you target. Those characteristics include:

Buoyancy — Do you need the line to float? If you are targeting top feeders, you want the line to float. If you target fish at different levels of the water column, you want the line to sink. Some lines will float, and others will sink.

Abrasion — Fishing line takes a beating. If you are fishing a fast ripple, the water will carry the line along the bottom, where it will rub against rocks. How the line holds up to contact with foreign objects in the water is essential. A scratch in the line becomes a weakness that shows itself when you battle a big fish and the line snaps.

Think about how you fish and where you fish when you begin choosing the best line for fishing. It is hard to bead braided line in terms of abrasion resistance.

Strength — At certain times, shock strength plays a role in fighting a fish or losing it. If you’ve ever fished for Silver Salmon, you will understand the feel and intensity of a bullet strike. Silver Salmon strike hard and with a lot of power.

The Strength of the fishing line will determine at that point what happens next. That is true for many species of fish, from Tuna to Northern Pike. Those intense strikes are powerful. They have caused anglers who are not paying attention to lose fishing rods. The line you choose must match the intensity of heavy hitter strikes.

Stretch — The stretch of a line is about managing tension when you fight fish. A fishing line that has less stretch can snap when you battle an aggressive fish. A fishing line with an excellent stretch rating can also snap if the tension between the reel and the fish is too great.

You want a fishing line that is good for the fish you target. There are also some downsides to line with too much stretch. First, you will feel less of the action, making hook-setting a little more unpredictable.

Memory — One of the advantages of braided line over other types of fishing line is that it has little memory. During the manufacturing or when the line sits on a spool for too long, it can remember the arcs, and when you unspool it, curling can occur.

Curling of the fishing line can lead to knots and backlashes, but more importantly, it will impact the quality of “Presentation.” When choosing a fishing line, you want less memory. Sadly, memory is not something that you find listed on the label. It is something you experience as you try different brands. Memory is more of an issue with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.

Again, you must choose the fishing line to match the fish you target. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines with Northern Pike are not going to last long without a stainless steel leader. Pike have around 700 teeth in their mouth. For all the attributes of the fishing line discussed above, it is challenging to beat the braided line.

You will find braided lines from 3 to 16 strands, which translates from rough and rugged to supper smooth. Of most, if not all, of the line choices, braided will bring the most strength (test), the least memory, the least stretch, and the least shock strength, but adds more precision when casting.

Rougher braided line is ideal for targeting fish, such as Northern Pike. You find the big trophy Northern Pike is the shallows under heavy cover or thick weedbeds. The rough braid helps deal with the weeds. Northern Pike feed at all levels of the water column, but a floating fly or lure across the top of the weeded can be spectacular.

Smoother braided lines, those with more carriers, are ideal for situations where casting needs more precision.

How to add Braided Line to a Spinning Reel

The process of adding braided line to a spinning reel is much the same as adding any other type of line to a spinning reel. When you add braided line to a spinning reel, you backfill the reel with monofilament line. You want about 100-150 feet of monofilament line on the reel. Add the monofilament line as follows:

  1. Thread the line through the eyes of the fishing rod from the tip to the reel.

  2. Loop the line around the barrel of the reel a few times and secure it with an arbor knot.

  3. You are not ready to add line to the reel, and you do that by holding tension to the line just below the bottom eye. The goal is to keep the line straight from the reel to where you are holding tension. Specifically, you do not want the line to flop around and twist as it you add it to the reel.

  4. Slowly reel in the line from the spool until you have 100-150 feet of line on the reel.

Now You are ready to add the braided line to the spool. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Attach the braided line to the monofilament line using a double uni knot. There are other options for tying line to line, the uni knot is the simplest way to do that.

  2. Reel in the braided line – using the same method you did for adding the monofilament line, reel in the braided line by keeping tension from the reel to the spot where you hold the line.

    TIP: To keep the line from burning your fingers as it slides onto the reel, wrap a piece of cloth around the line and then use that to hold the line to the pole. As you reel the friction will heat up the cloth and not your fingers.

  3. The reel is full when there is a space of about 1/16 of an inch from the top of the reel.

In Closing: Go for the Braided Line.

Braided line is a perfect application for spinning reels. You choose the line based on the fish you target, but the braided line will hold up to most fishing adventures.

Monofilament is a good choice as it is cheaper and generally does a good job. The polylines, such as fluorocarbon lines, are a little pricier than monofilament but work similarly.

If you want a strong line that lies flat on the reel, rarely knots, and will handle fish of all sizes, then the braided line is probably the best choice. There are many brands of braided lines available, most of them have very similar qualities.

It is also perfectly acceptable to use braided fishing lines with monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders. If you target shy fish or fish with sharp vision, the monofilament or fluorocarbon leader is a big plus.