Fishing or angling is a great activity for both people of all ages. Whether you’re fishing for recreation or sport, there’s a great sense of satisfaction and pride when you catch that beautiful, big fish.
Much of the success of a fishing trip rests on the kind of fishing line you’re using. The right line is sturdy, discreet, reliable, and casts accurately. On the other hand, the wrong choice or a poor-quality fishing line can leave you with no catch at all.
Certain conditions may sever the line or hinder you from successfully catching a fish. You may have the right fishing bait, location, and gear, but you’ll also need the right line to reel in a catch.
There are many types of fishing styles and environments. There are also many types of fish to catch. Thus, there are also various types of fishing lines available for anglers. All these lines are created to help you hook the best fish.
Which type of fishing line is best for you? Read on to learn about 5 main types of fishing line and when to use them.
What Are the Different Types of Fishing Lines?
There are five main types of fishing line on the market. Most anglers bring a variety of fishing lines with them depending on the environment. Here are some of the most commonly used fishing lines, each with different properties for different purposes.
1. Monofilament Fishing Line
Let’s start with one of the most popular fishing lines – monofilament lines. A monofilament line, also called a mono or nylon line, is made of a single plastic fibre. This is in contrast to the braided fishing line (see below). It comes in a variety of diameters, tensile strengths, and colours.
Our pick: Platypus Super 100 Mono Line
Pros of Monofilament Fishing Line
- Cheap to produce and purchase
- Resistant to abrasion
- High tensile strength
- Stretches and absorbs shocks
- Uniformly round which makes it easy to spool neatly
- Easy to tie knots in
Cons of Monofilament Fishing Line
- Weaker than braided lines
- Breaks down over time due to exposure from elements
- Tend to conform to the shape of the knot or spool
- Absorbs water
- Decreases sensitivity when saturated with water
- Has a tendency to come off in loops or coils out of the spool
- Environmental hazard when disposed of improperly
When to Use Monofilament Fishing Line
Monofilament lines are ideal for most fishing applications, whether freshwater or saltwater fishing. Because it’s abrasion-resistant, you can use it in rough environments like rocky shores or granite gorge areas. However, monofilament is not recommended for deepwater fishing.
2. Braided Fishing Line
As its name implies, a braided fishing line is made up of woven fibres. In the past, the fibres were made of natural materials such as cotton, linen, and even silk. Today, they are replaced by modern, synthetic fishing line materials such as Dyneema, Dacron, or Spectra.
Our Pick: Nomad Panderra 8X Braid
Pros of Braided Fishing Line
- Double the strength of monofilament
- Thinner than monofilament so you can easily fit long lines into a spool
- Doesn’t loop or coil, making it ideal for spinning reels
- Has less stretch than mono, so the line feels more sensitive to fish bites
- Flexible and easy to cast over long distances
- Comes in several colours
Cons of Braided Fishing Line
- Doesn’t have stretch, which means an absence of “give” when the fish takes the bait
- Without stretch, a bite or struggle from hard-hitting fish can break the line
- Low resistance to abrasion
- Slippery, which may cause knots to come loose
- Difficult to cut
- Difficult to knot properly
- Fish can easily see the braid in water the water, requiring the use of a leader in our fish-and-tackle gear
When to Use Braided Fishing Line
Because you can pack a lot of line in a spool, braided fishing line is ideal for deep water fishing. They are also popular lines used in trolling. This fishing method involves one or more fishing lines with bait. The lines are then drawn through the water by a moving boat or a sweeping motion in a static position.
3. Copolymer Fishing Line
A copolymer fishing line is made of two different types of nylon. Compare that to monofilament, which constitutes only a single type. The characteristics of the two different fishing line materials bring out the best attributes that anglers want. In the fishing scene, copolymer lines are generally referred to as an “advanced” type of monofilament.
Pros of Copolymer Fishing Line
- Stronger and more abrasion resistant than mono or fluorocarbon fishing lines
- Low “memory” and doesn’t coil
- Reasonably stretchy
- Low refractive index and less visible in the water, which allows you to catch fish more easily
- Sinks faster than monofilament
Cons of Copolymer Fishing Line
- Weaker than braided fishing lines
- Doesn’t last long due to its somewhat lack of stretch
- More expensive than monofilament or fluorocarbon
When to Use Copolymer Fishing Line
Copolymer lines are perfect if you want to cast long distances where big fish usually congregate. It’s ideal for top-water fishing and for catching trout.
4. Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
As its name implies, a fluorocarbon fishing line is made out of fluoropolymer PVDF. Anglers who prefer not to use heavy sinkers but still want to place their baits near the bottom prefer using fluorocarbon fishing lines. It’s considered a new age fishing line material.
Our Pick: Sunline FC Rock Fluorocarbon Leader Line
Pros of Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
- Very low refractive index, which makes it almost invisible to fish
- Sinks naturally
- Abrasion resistant
- Resistant to UV-light deterioration
Cons of Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
- Prone to knot slippage
- Stiffer than monofilament lines
- Problems if you’re a top-water angler
- More expensive than mono
When to Use Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
Fluorocarbon fishing lines are ideal for clear-water fishing on weed beds and sand flats due to its durability and flexibility. It’s an ideal line if you need a lot of stretch and low visibility.
5. Wire Fishing Line
Wire fishing lines are made of strands of stainless steel, titanium, or alloys and coated with plastic film. Some heavy-duty wire lines are copper, monel, or lead core, and they are used as trolling lines, with fluorocarbon lines near the fishing bait or lure.
Our Pick: Kato 49 Strand Nylon Coated Wire Silver
Pros of Wire Fishing Line
- Very strong and durable
- Highly resistant to abrasion
- Titanium leader lines are very flexible
- Easy to knot
Cons of Pros of Wire Fishing Line
- Single-strand wire lines are not flexible, unlike other fishing lines
- Multi-strand wire lines are flexible but prone to abrasion
- Heavier than most lines
When to Use Pros of Wire Fishing Line
Wire fishing lines are generally used as leader lines. This prevents the fishing line from getting severed by fish with strong, sharp, jagged teeth. Titanium wires, in particular, are perfect for catching big, strong, toothy fish such as mackerel and tuna.
6. Fly Fishing Line
Anglers use fly fishing lines to cast artificial flies as fish lures. During the 1700s, fly lines were made out of horsehair cut out from the tail. Later, they evolved into silk, braided synthetics, and plastic-coated lines.
Our Pick: Airflo Fly Lines
Pros of Fly Fishing Line
- Choice between being positively or negatively buoyant
- Speed of sinking depends on the specified sink rate of the line
- Low visibility
Cons of Fly Fishing Line
- Requires knowledge on weight and sink rates
- Tricky to use for novice fly fishers
When to Use Fly Fishing Line
As the name implies, this line is designed for fly fishing. It can be used either from a stationary position (e.g. fishing from a rock cropping or shoreline) or a moving position (e.g. fishing on a boat).
How Do I Choose the Right Kind of Fishing Line?
With different brands and types of fishing lines available in the market, it can be challenging to arrive at the right kind of fishing line for you. Here’s a list of factors that should be able to help you out.
Fishing lines are often rated by their line strength and are measured in pounds. The line strength should match the weight of the fish species you’re trying to catch. For example, if you’re trying to catch 30-pound tunas, you should use a line with a 30-pound test. For fishing trout, a line with a 4-pound test would be ideal.
We recommend using a braided line with a 30-pound test if you’re competing and going after large, strong, and heavy game fish. Note that competitors must use light lines in competition and tournaments to land heavy fish, which, obviously, requires experience.
Having a good, smooth, and maximum cast allows you to reach where the fish are congregating. For active styles of fishing that require frequent casting, you would need light lines such as monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. They come off your spool easily, allowing longer and more accurate casts.
Fishing lines have various degrees of stretch. If you prefer more sensitivity to feel the fish’s bite on your choice of bait, a less stretchy line is ideal. However, there are times when you want a degree of stretch, such as when you’re trolling. The stretch absorbs shock as the fish struggles to get free off the hook. This is important in catching soft-mouthed fish like salmon; without a degree of stretch, the hook may be ripped out as the fish struggles.
Like memory foam in cushions, lines tend to retain their shape after straightening out. A line with a heavy degree of memory retains the loops that develop along its length when it is wound up around the spool.
On the other hand, lines with lesser or virtually no memory can stay straight without loops. Straighter lines allow you to cast longer and smoother as there’s less friction on the rod’s guides and reels.
Line diameter refers to the length of a straight line through a circle’s centre. Smaller diameter lines allow you to put more length into your spool, allowing longer casting and deeper fishing. For example, braided lines are thinner, longer, and lighter than monofilament or fluorocarbon lines of the same test.
Refraction is a material’s tendency to bend light. Lines with low refraction, such as fluorocarbon, allow light to pass through, making them less visible to fish. This low-visibility property can lead to more bites and catches.
Fishing lines are subjected to a lot of abuse from fish bites, UV rays, sea salt, and other elements. They can also get damaged as they make contact or rub against sharp rocks, corals, docks, the underside of the boat, and other complex structures. If you’re an active angler, choose a line that has good abrasion resistance.
Understanding Fishing Line Strength and Weight
Fishing lines are rated by strength and weight, which is measured by the “pound test” or simply “test.” This refers to the degree of weight that can be applied to the fishing line without the line breaking. For instance, an 8-pound line can be used to haul in an 8-pound fish.
It’s important to note that your reel’s drag system prevents the total weight of the fish from pulling on the line. Thus, you can still use lesser-test lines to catch heavier fish. For example, you don’t need a 30-pound test line to haul in a 30-pound fish. The key is to set your rod’s drag properly.
Line tests are more or less guidelines. The right line for you depends on your fishing style, what fish you’re trying to catch, the environmental factors of your fishing venue, and more.
Check out the table below for line weight references and examples of fish ideal for that test rating.
|Line Test (in pounds)||Examples of fish|
|2 to 4||Trout, Bluegill, Panfish, Smallmouth Bass|
|6 to 12||Smaller Salmon, Walleye, Catfish, Largemouth Bass|
|14 to 20||Pike, Musky, Stripers, Carp, Catfish|
|8 to 14||Flounder, Sea Trout, Sea Bass|
|16 to 25||Salmon, Redfish, Stripers|
|30 and above||Marlin, Tuna, Shark, and other big and powerful game fish|
Fishing Line FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about fishing lines.
What Is the Most Common Type of Fishing Line?
Monofilament fishing lines are the most popular, basic, and common fishing lines in the market. It’s a nice all-around line, ideal for novices and professional anglers alike.
What’s the Strongest Fishing Line?
Made of modern, synthetic fibre-based fishing line materials, the braided line is considered the strongest line on the market. It’s more than ten times stronger than steel of the same weight. Surprisingly, for all its strength, it’s thinner than monofilament. That means you can fit more line in your spool, allowing for longer casting and deeper fishing.
What Colour Line Is Best for Fishing?
The general rule is to make your line less visible so it won’t distract the fish. Your initial thought would be using a transparent line. However, that transparent line could reflect light on a bright day, distracting the fish.
Experts recommend a flat green line as the colour blends into the surroundings. However, that green can be visible in exceptionally clear water; in this case, it’s better to use a transparent line.
What Fishing Line Do Pro Anglers Use?
Anglers use different fishing lines, depending on their style and preference. Pro anglers often choose lines based on the tactic they’re using. In general, they use braided lines for strength and fluorocarbon lines for low visibility and resistance to abrasion.
What Is the Best Fishing Line for Spinning Reels?
Most anglers prefer braided fishing lines over others. Braided lines are small, thin, lightweight, strong, and durable. It doesn’t have line memory, so it’s not prone to coiling. Thus, you can cast longer and more accurately because it stays straight, making it a boon for spinning gear.
What Is the Best Fishing Line for Surf Fishing?
Of all fishing lines, anglers consider the braided fishing line to be the best for surf fishing. That’s because of its minimal strength, low visibility, no memory, and superb strength-to-thickness ratio.
Once you have your gear prepared, try some of the best beach fishing spots in Western Australia.
Aside from your skills, experience, and equipment, your fishing line is a vital link between you and a successful catch. Hopefully, this article will give you an insight into the suitable types of fishing lines for you to reel in a good one without fail!