What Fishing Line to use?
As a fisherman, there is a good chance that you have choices to make regarding your fishing line? Perhaps you have difficulties, your lines breaking while you were reeling a catch or casting your favorite lure. Having a faulty fishing line may not be the whole reason.
These events may reinforce the fact that you need to change your fishing line or use the wrong type. The question now is – What fishing line to use?
Like the lure and rod and reel, fishing lines are one of the components necessary for any angler’s success. It doesn’t matter if you’re catching bluegill from the bank, flipping bass out of thick grass, or trolling offshore for sailfish. You need the excellent quality and right type of line to land fish and have a hassle-free time.
With hundreds of different fishing lines on the market, what types, what sizes, what diameters should you use? It’s about the most difficult choice for most anglers.
So we were going to break down all the different fishing lines reasonably according to their uses, faults, and certain types of fishing best suited for each style.
It’s in the little details
Identifying the target species, fishing style, habitat, lures, and baits, and the angler’s skill all have a bearing in choosing the best line for the job.
From trolling spoons for oversized pike and steelhead; to deep jigging lead heads for walleyes and smallmouths; to working topwater frogs or spinner-baits for bass; there’s a specific kind of line to help anglers get the best results.
There are four significant types of fishing lines on the market today that matter for all practical purposes. Each has its pros (strengths) and cons (weaknesses), and anglers love each type.
99.9% of the anglers, when starting, only understand the difference in the packaging and color of the line. Braid, fluorocarbon, and monofilament mean nothing to them. We want to share what the pros already know about the fishing line and how they choose the different types. Share the cons no one wants to talk about and the pros of why you should be using it. You will know the perfect fishing line to use when selecting your favorite lure. Additionally, plan on fighting your favorite fish species by article end.
All Fishing Lines have Personalities
Before we start suggesting different products on the market, there are a few personalities of each line to go over. Later in the article, this will help you understand why one line might be not as good as another in your current situation.
- Abrasion Proof: Ever have a fish cut the line with his teeth? Maybe your favorite fishing spot has lots of rocks, and you get cut off all the time? Having a line that is more abrasion-resistant will help. Or, more importantly, make sure you are not using a fishing line that is not abrasion-resistant.
- Buoyancy: This is how your line floats in the water or how quickly it may sink. Different situations are going to call for a specific fishing line. The more buoyant the line is, the better it will work for topwater lures. Lik that sinking provides a better feel of the fishing lure or bite of a fish. It also helps with the hooking of fish in some cases.
- Memory: This happens to some types of lines when it gets old or is stored in the sunlight. When you cast, and your line lies in the water, is it straight or curled up? That’s memory. A fishing line with lots of memory will also get kinks or knots as you reel cast and retrieve. The biggest problem that occurs from the fishing line with lots of memory is losing all your casting distance.
- Strength: It comes in all types and forms of fishing line. Strength should not be only the breaking point. The most critical factor to consider regarding power is the diameter of the fishing line. Not all fishing lines are equally treated when looking just at diameter vs. strength. There is a time when stability is more important than the diameter, and the diameter is more important than power.
- Stretch: Is the distance the line with giving before breaking. The stretchy line is vital for certain fish and lures. In some cases, it helps with fighting a fish; other times, like with crankbaits, it gives the fish time to inhale the bait before you can react. Typically, the stretchy line also provides less sensitivity to the lure and bite of a fish.
- Visibility: This should be a given; fish can see line color. The fishing line’s specific colors work better in different color water, other fishing techniques, and various fish species. Spooking of fish because of line color is one of the number of mistakes beginners make in choosing a line.
Okay, now that we understand the fishing line’s personalities, let’s deep dive into the types of lines on the market today!
Monofilament: The Old Reliable
Since I can remember, monofilament has been the standard line for catching bluegill or Blue Marlin worldwide. Even today, the retail stores are full of inexpensive fishing lines, which is monofilament. It’s an excellent value for anglers; it works, catches fish, and casts well initially. It can be used on any style fishing reel, is easy to work with, and has good knot strength.
Pros of Monofilament
Monofilament is known for its reliability. It stretches under pressure; it’s durable and forgiving in the same breathe. The bulk of the fish landed in the world happen on monofilament. Some Monos are a bit stretchy; they still provide a right hook to drive hooks deep in to fish. Unlike its sister line fluorocarbon, monofilament is more forgiving and softer. It is helping with abrasions from rocks, fish teeth, and others. Think of mono as the old reliable; when you need a line you can rely on for almost all fishing forms, she won’t let you down.
Because it’s softer and more flexible than fluorocarbon, knots tie easier with mono, and cutting the line with almost anything, including your teeth, works for a Mono connection. Monofilament is exceptional for line sizes smaller than 12 pounds. It’s easy to cast lighter lures and adaptable for any terminal tackle, such as snaps, hooks, sinkers, bobbers, and swivels.
Cons of Monofilament
Monofilament is the line with the most stretch. It can be a fault or an asset for anglers. It provides less sensitivity than the fluorocarbon line, which can lead to anglers’ loss of fish as some anglers have difficulty detecting light strikes. Stretch also requires anglers to set the hook harder to drive deeply into the fish’s mouth.
The monofilament fishing line’s main fault is the memory, which creates loops, knocks, and twists, causing multiple casting issues. Monofilament can be especially tricky with lures that spin the line, like that happens when trolling. Twisting is caused by not adequately using leaders and swivels to decrease line twists.
How And Why Anglers Use Mono
There are many monofilament applications, and since it’s been around for decades, many top anglers are committed to it, like a veteran fishing guide, Capt John Leech, of Kissimmee, Florida.
“I use Trilene XL monofilament line the most it’s what I feel like I get the most bites on,” he says. “Yes, still use braid and fluorocarbon with no-fault, braid has many advantages in thick covers, such as no stretch, incredible strength, solid hooksets, lots more sensitivity, longer life spam on the reel. And use monofilament because it works on sunny days, cloudy days, and all days in between. I have just always had confidence in it, so if it’s not broken, why change.”
Capt John also commented that monofilament is much cheap when your fishing every day as he does. It’s smooth, and it makes it easier to tie knots quickly.
Florida fishing guide Capt Al out of new Smyrna Beach uses limp monofilament leaders when he uses live bait, especially when bobber fishing with a slip-float rig.
For Saltwater fishing trout and redfish, it mostly uses monofilament.
“Being able to see my line is important so a hi-vis Mono is a majority what I use. And so fish won’t see or shy from it, I always employ a fluorocarbon leader.” My preferred monofilament is Berkley Trilene Big Game for trout and redfish; both are smooth casting.
Copolymer: A Basic Improvement
Attempt to make improvements to monofilament; the industry created a copolymer fishing line. It’s a newer version of the version of monofilament, with slite changes. They embedded a different cord of nylon, making it two or stains of material instead of one. This process strengths the line reduces stretch and, more importantly, provides manufacturers access to create a unique recipe and customize the line’s characteristics to specific types of fishing.
Pros of Copolymer
You wonder when you go to the store and see so many different fishing lines and ask, why? The copolymer is responsible, as the manufacturing process allows quickly unique signatures of a new line into the market. The manufacturers can mimic existing lines and make slight changes so they can say it’s better and different”? In general, its a lower stretch than monofilament but carries less memory. All while maintaining shock strength, improved casting, and knot strengths. It’s also more abrasion-proof, all while adding increased stability to the line.
Cons of Copolymer
A unique difference between monofilament and copolymer is it doesn’t float very well. While it is still nylon-based, the core to monofilament can still heat up and get sunlight damage from the UV rays. The big loser is the angler; with all the technology changes to monofilament to create copolymer, it has made the price considerably more expensive. You have to decide if the difference is of value to you.
How And Why Anglers Use Copolymer
There are many specific applications for copolymer that lead Captain Troy Wells of FortLauderdaleFishing.com uses in his day-to-day operation.
“I use copolymer line on most all reel types, and I love it for deep-water tactics like jigging and suspension rigs. It’s what we get the most fish on,” he says.” I don’t mind paying a little more; there’s no reason not to. We land more fish; you can’t convince me otherwise.”
The Ever So Popular Braided Line
Braided line has boomed in popularity in recent years due to comparatively new improvements that have resulted in high abrasion resistance, excellent diameter per test, superb casting characteristics, and extended life use. Perhaps braid’s biggest asset is that it has virtually no stretch; thus, it’s exceptional sensitivity. It makes it a top choice for deep water and heavy cover fishing and “feeling” the slightest bite from fish. However, no stretch can be detrimental if anglers overplay fish, pulling out or straightening hooks, resulting in a loss.
Pros of Braided Line
Its strength, clearly the #1 feature of the braid. Secondly, it would be the diameter, especially in the big sizes like 15, 30, 50, and 80 pounds. In very light tests, let’s say, under 10 pounds, it is extremely sensitive and still super strong. Most people use it for its casting distance, which outperforms all of its counterparts. The addition of adding a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader provides an exceptional advantage over the fish.
Cons of Braided Line
It’s the most expensive, more than monofilament, copolymer, fluorocarbon, and it can be tricky; even wind knots can tie in a ball of waste. It can be much harder to tie knots; if the proper knot is not connected, the braid tends to slip. Many stand monofilament knots that work great, such as the Clinch Knot and Blood Knot, do not hold well with braided lines. Not necessarily a negative, unless you don’t have them. With braid, it requires a pair of clippers or scissors to retie.
How And Why Anglers Use Braid
Well, respected multi-species angler and Lake Erie fishing guide Capt Mark Rose out of Erie, PA uses braid for finesse applications deep jigging for big smallmouth. “I use Berkley X9 braid attached to a fluorocarbon leader for most deep and clear water fishing applications I do.” Capt Mark says explicitly, “for drop shot fishing in the clear waters of the Northeast, I use 6- or 8-pound braid with an 8 to 10pound fluorocarbon leader.”
Mark adds that one of the primary reasons he uses braided lines is that it increases his customer’s sense of “feel” when fishing deep water. He says the benefits of supper thin diameter and lack of stretch are unbeatable.
Capt Tom Goodrick, Lake Erie Walleye expert, says, “braided line is his first choice when running moving baits to set hooks in fish like pike and walleye. Crankbait trolling for walleyes and other species is perfect for braid because I can ‘clear’ a lure of debris without reeling the bait back to the boat. Deep jigging with hyper-sensitive, no-stretch braided line makes for controlled solid hook-sets by customers.”
The fluorocarbon fishing line is a relatively new product compared to its counterparts that have been around forever and improved dramatically over the years. Its price had also come down considerably from when it was introduced into the marketplace.
Pros of Fluorocarbon
Visibly almost identical in design to monofilament in that it’s round and feels very similar. It’s virtually invisible, ultra-clear underwater because light passes through it. For this reason, anglers can use fluorocarbon in heavier pound tests than monofilament and copolymer lines that are more visible.
While fluorocarbon does stretch, it has much less bonce than monofilament, although it feels more elastic than braided line. It’s built with a hard casing, so it’s more rigid and more resistant to abrasion. Fluorocarbon is known as a stiffer line than all its counterparts, and it is. But technology and development have made many improvements in recent years. Cleary excepted by new era of anglers, fluorocarbon is quickly gaining lots of endorsements from top anglers.
Cons of Fluorocarbon
Fluorocarbon, because of its density, sinks faster than monofilament. So for topwater lures, it’s not the best choice of line. The bigger continued to complain from the weekend angler is the difficulty of tieing knots due to additional stiffness. It is most critical to wet your line when tying with fluorocarbon to help the line slip and tighten the knot.
How And Why Anglers Use Fluorocarbon Line
“Berkley FLUOROSHIELD Fluorocarbon has become my number one all-purpose line,” says Capt Mark Shepard. “It’s durable and castable on bait-casters while still maintaining lots of abrasion resistance. I mainly use it because it’s the most transparent line of all that is manufactured. That means it’s the closest to transparent of anything other than water.
Shepard says he uses it almost exclusively for throwing his WOW Factor Crankbaits. “It’s stronger than monofilament and abrasion-resistant, and fluorocarbon helps a bunch.” everything else.
Most anglers know that they have to change their fishing line regularly. However, most only do so when something happens to remind them of this. Choosing the correct one based on conditions and species will change how you fish and the results!