How to Choose the Best Fishing Line

Category Lines

img_0222We all want the best chances for success on the water. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to finding the best fishing line! We are fellow fishermen who have created a comprehensive resource to help you determine what is the best fishing line for your situation. We’ve based this on both our personal experience and on research we’ve done over the years.

Fishing line is arguably the most important piece of equipment when it comes to success on the water. It’s what’s connecting you to the fish. That’s why it’s important to take some time and research what line you need before you go out and buy something. As with most things in fishing, the right equipment depends on the circumstances: What are you fishing for? Where are you fishing? How will you be fishing? These are just some of the questions that will determine what is the best fishing line for you.

Here is some general information about the different types of fishing line and which lines we would recommend.

Types of Fishing Line

These are only general categories, and there are a number of exceptions, including hybrid lines. But these categories provide a helpful guideline for trying to determine the best fishing line for a particular situation.

Monofilament Fishing Line

Berkley TrileneThis is the most popular fishing line available today. Its biggest advantage is its price as it is relatively inexpensive. It is also more buoyant than other types of lines. However, depending on how often you change the line, it can also be weaker and more vulnerable to breaking. Our choice for a good monofilament fishing line is the Berkley Trilene.

Monofilament is probably the most common fishing line. It is generally cheaper than the other types so it provides good value. It is easy to use and comes in a number of different colours. However, it is also thicker than other types of lines. It also stretches more which can weaken hook sets. Because of the stretch, sensitivity and bite detection are not as good as a braided line. It can also deteriorate more quickly than other types of line. That being said, it remains the most popular type of fishing line used today.

Monofilament fishing line (also know as “mono”) is one of the most common types of fishing line. It is still the best selling type of fishing line available on the market. It consists of a single strain of plastic, as opposed to other types of line that have multiple strands. It is the type of line that you will find on most pre-spooled reels. It usually comes in a clear colour but other colours are available.

Tips

Generally speaking, you should keep your monofilament line fresh by changing it throughout the season. If you’ve spent a weekend on the lake, you may want to cut off a portion of the line (roughly 30 feet) and discard it. You can then use the rest of the line next time you go out on the lake. Obviously, this requires you to change the line more often, but it can be worth it to avoid losing a fish.

Monofilament is also more buoyant than other types of fishing line, so this means that it floats. This can be both good and bad, depending on how you’re fishing. If you’re using surface lures, this can obviously be an advantage. But if you’re using deeper lures, you may want to avoid monofilament. You will just get better results if you use another type of line.

Monofilament can also be more visible in the water than other types of lines, especially when compared to fluorocarbon lines. However, this can be compensated for by the wide variety of colours that are available for monofilament lines. This allows for less visibility in some situations.

Different fishermen are very passionate about their favourite type of line. That being said, many types can be appropriate in the same situations, so it is important to understand their strengths and weaknesses. After trying the different types, you should start to develop a preference for one over the other.

Strengths

Monofilament fishing line is relatively inexpensive when compared to braided or fluorocarbon lines. Even the high-end monofilament lines can be relatively inexpensive. For this reason, it has been used for years and will likely continue to be the most popular all-purpose fishing line available.

Weaknesses

Monofilament line will absorb light and water. This weakens the line and gives it a shorter lifespan than other types of line. For this reasons, it can become brittle more quickly. It is also less resistant to damage than other types of line. If you’re fishing in the weeds or other hazards, you will run into problems more quickly with monofilament line.

This type of line will also stretch more than other varieties of line like braided or fluorocarbon line. This can be good in certain situations as it will be less reactive to your movements. In addition, if you get a hard strike on the lure, the elasticity is actually an advantage because it can absorb shock better than other types of line with less stretch. But it also makes the line less sensitive than other types. For example, if you’re fishing in deeper water, you need to really set the hook if you’re using monofilament fishing line. The lack of sensitivity can certainly lead to missed opportunities.

Which one to get

We’re fans of Berkley Trilene.  It’s a good monofilament line and we’d recommend it for a variety of uses.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Berkley Vanish FluorocarbonThe biggest advantage of fluorocarbon fishing line is that, because it has a similar refractive index to water, it is nearly invisible when in the water. The biggest disadvantage is that it is a higher end product so it is generally more expensive. We’re fans of another Berkley product when it comes to Fluorocarbon lines – Berkley’s vanish line.

Fluorocarbon fishing line is a higher end product and this is reflected in its price. The main selling feature of these types of fishing line is that they are nearly invisible to fish. Fluorocarbon fishing line is strong and has a little stretch. As with braided line, this has its advantages and disadvantages.

Overall, fluorocarbon line has seen much greater success as a leader material than as a primary fishing line. However, this is a very useful type of fishing line. It’s main drawback being its higher price.

Tips

Fluorocarbon should be used any time a subtle approach is needed when presenting the lure to the fish. The near-invisibility can be a considerable advantage. Fluorocarbon is also a stronger line than monofilament. If you’re in a situation where the fish has run into a hazardous area, you will be thankful that you have the higher abrasion-resistance of fluorocarbon.

Fluorocarbon is also denser which means it sinks and runs deeper than monofilament line. Since it does not float, it less successful with floating lures. For these purposes, a monofilament line may be more appropriate. But if you need your line to run closer to bottom but do not want to use sinkers, fluorocarbon will perform well.

Strengths

The biggest advantage of fluorocarbon fishing line is that it has the same refractive index as water and is thus invisible to fish in the water. This is the main selling point for this type of line. However, it is generally more expensive than other types of line. This is one reason why many fishermen use it only as a leader in order to conserve the fluorocarbon line. That way you can use a relatively small amount of the expensive line but get the benefits of its low visibility.

Fluorocarbon fishing line does not absorb water, which means it retains its strength better than monofilament line. This means it lasts longer than monofilament line. Generally speaking, it has a higher strength with a lower diameter than monofilament. Since it doesn’t absorb water, it retains its strength rating even when wet.

Another important feature of fluorocarbon is its lack of stretch. Unlike monofilament lines, fluorocarbon is far more sensitive. This means better hook sets and better reaction. But it can be quite stiff which can make it less manageable.

Weaknesses

The early fluorocarbon lines were stiff and difficult to use. However, recent developments have drastically increased their quality.

Which one to get

We’re fans of Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon line. However, it depends on exactly what you’re looking for in a line.

Braided Fishing Line

Sufix Performance BraidThis is arguably the strongest fishing line available. It can provide much more strength for the same diameter when compared to monofilament line. We’d recommend Sufix braid if you’re looking for a braided fishing line.

Braided fishing line is very common and most major fishing line companies produce several braided products. In fact, there are a number of different products to choose from.

The braided fishing line consists of intertwined strands of nylon put together to form a single fishing line. For this reason, it is considerably stronger than monofilament line. This is the general idea when it comes to braided lines: more strength, less diameter.

This means that you can get a higher strength rating out of the same thickness (for example, 2-3 pound test mono is roughly the same diameter as 10-pound test braided line). It also does not stretch the same way monofilament line does, which can make it more sensitive. Some say that they are actually considerably stronger than their pound test rating.

In terms of price, it obviously on depends on what brand you buy. However, as a general rule, braided fishing line is more expensive than monofilament line of similar strength. But, as mentioned above, it does come with some advantages for the increased cost.

Overall, braided fishing line is better in situations where you need more line strength with less stretch on the line. But the price and visibility are the two disadvantages.

Tips

Braided fishing line is also very popular. It is made by merging various types of fibres, rather than just a single strand of line as is the case with monofilament. Braided fishing line is more expensive than monofilament but is still reasonably priced. Its biggest advantage is its strength and that this when it should be used – when you need a strong line that is resistant to hazards. When compared to monofilament line, you can get a higher strength rating out of the same diameter of braided line. But you also have very little stretch. This can be good and bad. On the one hand, you get more sensitivity. But you also get less shock absorption if a fish hits the lure hard.

When compared to monofilament line, you can get a higher strength rating out of the same diameter of braided line. But you also have very little stretch. This can be good and bad. On the one hand, you get more sensitivity. But you also get less shock absorption if a fish hits the lure hard.

Strengths

As braided line is stronger than monofilament line, you will generally want to use it in situations where you will be coming up against rocks and trees, etc. It withstands some of the elements better than other monofilament lines.

Weaknesses

Because of its strength, braided fishing line can be difficult to break when you get snagged. You may need to use scissors to cut the line in that situation.

Depending on the particular brand, a major drawback is that braided lines are more visible to fish than other monofilament or fluorocarbon lines. For this reasons, it may be a good idea to attach either a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader onto a braided fishing line.

Which one to get

We’re fans of the Sufix braided products and that’s generally what we recommend, but it obviously depends on exactly what you’re looking for.

What is the best fishing line for your situation:

The short answer is that it depends. It always depends on what you are looking for out of your fishing line. There are now so many choices that it can be difficult to decide. Some people are very loyal to the particular type of line they use. Some argue that braided line is the only way to go, while others argue that monofilament line is the best. They are obviously both good for specific situations. They can even be combined – a braided line with a monofilament leader!

Monofilament is good for fishing with bait and normal every day trolling. But sometimes when you’re fishing in deep water, the stretch of the monofilament can be problematic and lead to a poor hook set in the fish. Whereas with a braided line, you can get a good hook set because of the firmness of the line.

Monofilament line is also more buoyant than braided and fluorocarbon line. This can be an advantage when using top-water lures. But obviously, this is less helpful when you want your line to sink.

Braided line has a lot of advantages in that it is very strong yet has a low diameter. This makes it excellent for lure fishing, deepwater jigging, etc. It is the strongest fishing line you are going to get, relative to its diameter. This is its biggest advantage: strength. If you’re going into a situation where you need strength, go with a braided fishing line. However, the biggest disadvantage is its visibility. Compared to monofilament and fluorocarbon, braided fishing line is highly visible in the water.

The key with fluorocarbon line is that it has a refractive index similar to water so it is nearly invisible to fish. This makes it a great line to use as a leader. Fluorocarbon and braided lines are more slippery and are more difficult to tie knots in when compared to the monofilament line. This requires stronger knots and it’s important to be careful when attaching this line.

Generally speaking, a braided line with a fluorocarbon leader is a good choice for a lot of situations. However, monofilament is least expensive and this obviously makes it a popular choice. The biggest disadvantage of the fluorocarbon lines is its price. You will pay more for this type of line.

Just to complicate things even further, a number of newer hybrid lines have come onto the market in recent years. They combine some of the advantages of the different types of lines while avoiding some of the problems discussed above.

Best Fishing Line for Particular Types of Fish

Bass

bassAs discussed above, fluorocarbon fishing lines are a great place to start when trying to find the best fishing line. They have low visibility and are abrasion resistant, which is good for bass fishing. They don’t work as well when you’re fishing the top of the water, because they sink much more quickly than monofilament lines. This is where monofilament lines are useful. Braided lines can be used in limited situations but aren’t as common with bass fishing.

What is the best fishing line for bass? Well, it depends. Below you will find some information that will help you answer this question, depending on your situation. But at the end of the day, no single type of fishing line is perfect for all situations when trying to catch bass, so it depends on where/how you’re fishing and what type of bait you’re using. In addition, things like how deep you’re fishing and how clear the water is can matter as well. Here are a few things to think about when making your decision.

Monofilament:

Generally speaking, the buoyancy of monofilament line can be an advantage when trying to fish for bass at the top of the water. Its stretch can also be useful when the fish are being difficult and not taking the bait very quickly.

Fluorocarbon:

That being said,  fluorocarbon lines are generally more effective for bass fishing. They work especially better when you want your line to sink. They are also superior in light of their lower visibility and increased sensitivity. In a clear water environment, having a high quality fluorocarbon line will make a difference. In an ideal world, fluorocarbon should be your starting point for bass fishing. However, this is generally a more expensive product, so you have to decide when monofilament can do the job just fine.

If you want to keep your lure at or near the surface, monofilament line may be the best choice for that situation. This applies to things like floating swimbaits. In that case, it’s very difficult to manipulate a line that is underwater (as fluorocarbon would be). That being said, fluorocarbon’s increased sensitivity and lower visibility are big advantages.  Either type will do the job, as long as you’re aware of their relative strengths. I would recommend 15-25 pound test of either.
As mentioned elsewhere on the site, we’re generally fans of the Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon line. But it depends on exactly what you’re going for.

Braided:

Braided fishing line can be appropriate for bass fishing in situations where you’re not worried about spooking the fish. This usually applies when you’re pulling bass out of thick weeds and you need a strong line.  But on the whole, braided fishing line is not very common for bass fishing.

Conclusion: Best Fishing Line for Bass

So in summary, the best fishing line for bass depends on the situation. Fluorocarbon lines are a great starting place, but monofilament lines can also be appropriate when you need some buoyancy or stretch in your line. You’ll likely want to use a 10 – 25 pound test line.

Trout

Rainbow_Trout_in_Hand_at_Gechiak_Creek_(8426057273)Trout have excellent vision when compared to other fish, so you have to use a line that will not near invisible in the water. Fluorocarbon lines can accomplish this well. I’ve also had some success with clear monofilament lines. Braided lines aren’t generally used for trout fishing, in my experience. When it comes to determining what strength you should get, lighter is generally better. Try and go somewhere between 2 – 8 pounds.

The best fishing line for trout depends on a few things. But a few general rules should be followed. The most important consideration in trout fishing line is the visibility of the line.

Trout are shy and have good vision. You’ll also usually find them in clearer water. This means they can see the line better than other fish so you want to be careful about what line you use. The last thing you want is for the fish to get spooked by seeing your line. For this reason, try to stay away from an excessively thick diameter if you don’t need it.

When it comes to strength of the line in trout fishing, the lighter the better. This is pretty important in my opinion. It will obviously depend on your skill level, but try to keep the line lighter if you can. With monofilament line, I would not recommend going above 8 pound test when fishing for trout. Most people recommend 4 pound test and I tend to think that will be adequate for most situations. But depending on your skill level, try to use as low as possible. So the best fishing line for trout should be between 2 – 8 pound test.

Fluorocarbon lines are a popular choice for trout fishing. Many people think that they are the best fishing line for trout. Their low visibility is a huge advantage in trout fishing. They allow you to get a higher strength line while keeping visibility low. The major drawback with fluorocarbon lines is the price. But fluorocarbon can also be used as a leader, which makes a lot of sense with trout fishing.

We generally recommend Berkley Vanish if you’re looking for a good fluorocarbon line.

Braided lines are generally more visible than monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. As trout have good vision and can be shy, braided lines are uncommon in trout fishing. As such, braided lines are probably not the best fishing line for trout.

In terms of the colour of the fishing line, this depends on the clarity of the water. If you’ve got crystal clear water, you’ll want to go with on of the more clear coloured lines. I’ve had success with green coloured line when the water is a bit darker.

Walleye

walleyeDetermining the best fishing line for walleye depends on some of the conditions. If you’re fishing in clear water, you’re going to want something with low visibility. Fluorocarbon will work well. You can use monofilament line as well. Try to go somewhere between 6 – 8  pound test line.

Walleye can be fished for in a number of different ways. Determining the best fishing line for walleye will depend on exactly how you’re fishing for them. But there are a few general concepts that will be helpful to follow.

As a general rule, the best fishing line for walleye will be an abrasion resistant but relatively sensitive line. A big concern is that walleye have good low light visibility so line detection can be an issue (they can generally see better than their predators and prey, which can be an advantage for them). You will want to focus on line types that are less visible in the water. This is especially important if you are fishing in relatively clear water. Fluorocarbon fishing lines will be good in those situations.

As mentioned elsewhere on the site, we recommend Berkley Vanish as a good fluorocarbon line, but it will depend on exactly what the conditions are.

If you’re trolling or casting in darker water, a braided fishing line can work. But braided line can be more visible so may not work well depending on how clear the water is. If you’re in water that is pretty clear, go with a fluorocarbon line (price permitting). If you’re in an area with a lot of hazards or other large fish around, you may want to use braided fishing line in that particular situation. Braided lines should be able to withstand some abuse.

Depending on how you’re fishing for walleye and what rod you’re using, you can use line anywhere from 6  – 15 pound test rating. I would try to use a 6 pound test line, unless there are bigger fish in the area or some heavy weeds, etc.  If you use a braided line, you can probably go up to 15 pound test line.

Other general tips for fishing lines

I tend to think you should try and buy premium line. It’s a pretty important part of your gear, so I think it’s worth spending some money on. You can get good deals on the premium line if you wait towards the end of the season. You can also get better deals if you buy larger quantities. But success in fishing is about increasing your odds. Fishing line is a pretty important part of the equation so it’s worth the additional cost, in my opinion.

You should also try to maintain your line on a regular basis. Keep it away from unnecessary sunlight or heat. When your line breaks, it’s often because of poor care for the line that weakened it. No one wants to lose a fish (and an expensive lure) if they can help it. So it’s important to take the time to change your line and protect it from the elements. Run your fingers along your line and see if you feel any nicks or bumps in the line. If you feel any type of damage like this, consider discarding this portion of the line.

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