Choosing the best fishing line for your situation may appear a simple task, but there are a bunch of factors that make one type of line better than another for a specific fishing situation. Before we start, let’s go over the three main types of fishing line and the uses for each.
Monofilament is one of the most popular line choices for many anglers. This is because mono is extremely cheap and easy to use.
Properties of Monofilament
- Stretch – Mono is known for its stretchy properties, which makes it very forgiving when fighting a fish. When your drag is set too tight or if you set hook too hard, mono will stretch and provide a buffer, saving you from snapping your line. Also if your rod is too stiff for the situation mono will stretch under the extra hook-setting pressure and ultimately help land the fish.
- It Floats – Mono floats underwater, which makes it ideal for fishing topwater lures, floating bait, or any other technique where the buoyancy is needed. Trout anglers often use mono leaders when fishing Powerbait or inflated nightcrawlers to help their bait reach maximum height. Another benefit of mono floating is when you’re fishing crankbaits; the mono helps your crankbait to dive shallower since it acts as resistance to diving.
- Cheap – If you are bait fishing you can use mono as your main line since you can add a fluorocarbon leader. This helps cut down costs since you don’t have to spool 100+ yards of fluorocarbon.
- Easy to Cast – Mono is very limber and not as stiff as fluorocarbon, making it extremely easy to cast. It doesn’t hold memory as badly as fluorocarbon does, meaning it doesn’t become coiled as easily. Mono is the perfect line to use when you are learning to cast a baitcasting reel, since backlashes are expected and it is cheap to replace.
When to Use Monofilament
- Topwater Lures – As stated before, the floating properties of mono make it perfect for fishing any kind of topwater lure.
- Shock Leader – When fishing in saltwater with braided line as your main line, a monofilament topshot/leader acts as a great shock absorbent when you snag. The lighter mono will snap under less pressure and save your braid from digging into itself with too much tension.
- Floating Bait – As mentioned before, the floating properties of mono make it perfect to help increase the buoyancy of your floating bait. This is most commonly used when fishing Powerbait and inflated nightcrawlers for stocked trout, as well as any floating roe for river salmon.
- Fishing with a Leader – When fishing with a leader, the main line doesn’t have to be expensive fluorocarbon. Instead, load up your spool with cheaper monofilament to save you time and money in the long run.
Monofilament Brand Suggestions
- Berkley Trilene XL – Safe to say this is a great all-around monofilament. Not only is it super stretchy and floats well but it is one of the easiest lines to cast.
- Maxima Ultragreen – One of the strongest monofilament lines out there. Yes, it is a bit thicker than its peers but the abrasion-resistant coating and stiffer properties of this mono make it perfect for just about anything. The 2lb test is perfect for trout anglers who are sick of breaking off with other brands.
- Berkley Trilene Big Game – My absolute favorite main line for saltwater fishing, but it’s perfect for freshwater situations as well. When I’m also looking for heavier leader line, Big Game outperforms other brands by a long shot. Best part about Big Game is that it is extremely cheap. For about $10 you can get close to 300 yards! Definitely a must-have monofilament.
Fluorocarbon aka “Fluoro”
Fluorocarbon, or “fluoro” is known for being virtually invisible underwater due to the way it refracts light. Fluoro also has other benefits, however, including the fact that it is stiffer (making it more sensitive than mono) and sinks, helping certain lures dive or sink faster.
Properties of Fluorocarbon
- Invisible – Fluorocarbon refracts light better than monofilament, meaning it is practically invisible underwater. This is great when the fish are finicky and also helps thicker leader line disappear better. Anglers do experience a dramatic increase in bites when using fluorocarbon simply because the fish are less likely to visibly detect the line.
- Non-Stretch – Fluorocarbon is stiffer and more dense than monofilament, meaning it does not stretch or flex as much. This makes fluoro much more sensitive than mono and also gives the angler more hook-setting power.
- Abrasion-Resistant – Since fluoro is more dense than mono, it is more abrasion-resistant when it comes to rubbing against rocks, timber, and other structure. This is useful for many anglers fishing around rough structure, giving them less re-ties and ultimately saving time out on the water.
- Sinks – Fluoro sinks rather quickly, helping lures dive or sink to their maximum depth in less time than mono would. This applies to many bass anglers fishing crankbaits, as fluoro helps their bait dive deeper within a smaller distance.
When to use Fluorocarbon
- Bass Fishing – Fluorocarbon is popular amongst bass anglers due to its low visibility and great sensitivity. Any finesse worm technique (drop shot, shakey head, etc.), jig, or reaction baits (crankbait, spinnerbait, jerkbait, etc.) all benefit from the properties of fluoro.
- Trout/Salmon Fishing – Trout and salmon both have excellent vision, making the low visibility of fluoro very useful for anglers targeting these species. When lighter 4-8lb test is used, the abrasion resistance of fluoro is very beneficial especially when fishing around a rocky shoreline.
- Crappie Fishing – Crappie are extremely sensitive to line size, often causing anglers to scale down to 2-4lb test. Fluoro is perfect for these situations as it allows the thin diameter line to completely disappear underwater. The sensitivity of fluoro also gives the angler better feel when fishing mini jigs or other tiny lures.
Fluorocarbon Brand Suggestions
- Seaguar InvisX – I use this as a main line for all of my bass fishing. Super tough, abrasion-resistant, and stretch free.
- P-Line 100% Pure Fluorocarbon – In my opinion, P-Line and Seaguar are fairly similar in terms of line properties, so the minute differences are truly up to you to experience. Both lines are high-quality, so you can’t go wrong with either.
- Sunline Super FC Sniper – Pure Japanese quality infused into this fluorocarbon. My friend snagged a 70lb sturgeon on accident with 16lb Super FC Sniper was dedicated to the immense strength of this line ever since. In my opinion this fluoro is a bit stiffer than its competitors, but a bit of line conditioner can always soften it up for easy casting.
Many innovations have been made to braided line in the past few years, and it has taken the sport by storm. Braid consists of multiple fibers wound together, creating an extremely strong yet thin line. There are a ton of uses for braid, and many anglers have learned to implement it in their daily fishing techniques.
Properties of Braided Line
- Zero Stretch – Braid does not stretch at all, meaning you get the best hookset possible as well as the greatest sensitivity that you’ll feel throughout the rod.
- Zero Memory – Since braid is composed of microfibers, it does not hold any memory (doesn’t become coiled after time), making it one of the easiest types of line to cast.
- Floats – Braid floats even better than monofilament, but the zero-stretch properties also make it the better choice to use for topwater lures. If a fish blows up at the end of a long cast, you can have confidence that your hookset will register correctly.
- Abrasion-Resistant – Braid is even more abrasion-resistant than fluorocarbon, making it a great main line when fishing around abrasive structure such as rocks, coarse sand, wood, etc.
- Extremely Thin – Pound for pound, braid is thinner than mono and fluoro. To put it into perspective, 30lb braid is equivalent to 6lb mono. This makes it great for loading more line onto your spool while keeping enough line strength. The thin diameter also contributes to a much longer, smoother cast.
When to Use Braided Line
- Topwater Fishing – As mentioned before, the zero-stretch and superb floating properties of braid make it the absolute perfect line for any topwater lures.
- Bass Fishing – Bass anglers absolutely have to use braid for certain flipping, pitching, and punching techniques due to its high abrasion resistance, zero-stretch, and extreme sensitivity.
- Saltwater Fishing – With mono or fluoro, depths of 50-100+ feet make it extremely difficult to feel a bite, let alone set the hook hard enough to land the fish. Braid is perfect for saltwater anglers as it allows them to feel a bite twice as well and set the hook immediately with its no-stretch properties. The thinner diameter of braid also allows the angler to load their reels with ample amount of line while retaining enough line strength when targeting big-game fish such as tuna, sailfish, sharks, etc.
Braided Line Brand Suggestions
- PowerPro Spectra – My favorite braided line for almost all of my fishing situations. PowerPro isn’t the smoothest braid but it’s definitely one of the toughest and longest-lasting brands that I’ve used. I’ve noticed a minute difference in the stiffness of PowerPro compared to other brands and discovered that it’s a bit stiffer than its peers. I use Spectra for all of my bass fishing needs as well as a few saltwater situations.
- Spiderwire Stealth – Super smooth, super thin. Stealth Braid is definitely one of the slickest braided lines out there, and this stuff flies off the reel better than any other braid that I’ve used. The extremely thin diameter means you can fit more Stealth on your reel as well as slice through the water effortlessly.
I hope this has helped you narrow down the endless search for the best fishing line for your personal situation. If you have any questions at all feel free to leave them in the comments or email us! We’ll gladly help you out as soon as we can. Tight lines!