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Introduction to Fishing Lines

By Kastking | 26 March 2018 | 1 Comments













Limpness – A soft flexible line is “limp” and casts easily.

Strength – Line is rated in pound test and that is the amount of pull in pounds it takes to break the line. Most lines may break at above the stated test.

Abrasion Resistance – All line will abrade when rubbed against things like rocks and wood. Some abrade more easily than others.

Stretch – Stretch can be both good and bad. Anglers need to choose the amount of stretch that is best for their fishing needs.

Diameter – The diameter of line is in fractions of an inch or millimeters. In general, thinner line is better since it is more limp. In general it is not as strong or as tough as thicker diameter line.

Memory – Some line tends to hold the shape of its spool, this is called memory. Less memory in line is better.

Knot Strength – A good knot is very important and some lines have better knot strength than others.

Color – Clear lines are less likely to spook fish but harder for the angler to see. Some lines have a blue tinge in ultraviolet light so they show up above the water in sunlight but disappear under the water to offer the best of both worlds. Some lines come in bright colors so they are more visible and are good when fishing for species that don’t shy away from line, like catfish.

 Monofilament Line(sometimes called nylon line):

Monofilament line or “Mono” has been around for many years. It is still very popular today because it is inexpensive, very “knotable”,  and can be used in a wide variety of fishing situations.  Mono is made from a single strand of nylon fiber that is very strong, abrasion resistant, but also stretchy. All mono line has stretch, some more than others.


  • Inexpensive: Of all the types of line, Mono is the least expensive.
  • Floats: Making mono a great choose for topwater lures.
  • Stretch: On moving baits (crankbaits, spinnerbaits, ect.) stretch is a good thing. The stretch allows the fish to take the bait deeper before the hook-set. Stretch can be a forgiving benefit for less experienced anglers still developing their touch.
  • Abrasion resistant: Mono has good abrasion resistance.


  • Stretch: Of all lines mono has by far the most stretch. Although in some situations stretch is good, overall stretch is a disadvantage. Stretch makes a solid hook set much more difficult, especially on longer casts.
  • Floats: Other than for topwaters, floating line has no real advantages. Diving baits will not reach their maximum running depth with floating line. More stretch makes line less sensitive, which makes it more difficult for the angler to detect lighter strikes.
  • Memory: Mono has the most memory of all lines. Memory can cause the line to become entangled in itself.
  • Larger Diameter

Monofilament Brands:

  • Berkley Trilene: Price:$8 – $12 per 300yds
  • Stern: $7 – $12 per 300yds
  • Toray: A top Japanese company. Very expensive for mono line. Price: $18 – $20 per 160yds


Mono line can really be used in most fishing situations in both fresh and saltwater. It is the best line choice for beginning anglers.


Mono can really be used for everything. For years it was the only line type available and fisherman did just fine with it.

Best Uses:

Moving baits



Copolymer Line: (Copoly)

Copolymer lines were introduced fairly recently. They were developed to be more abrasion resistant, have increased knot strength, and a thinner diameter. Unlike mono, copolymer line sinks making it a useful line for nearly every situation except topwater.


  • Abrasion resistant: Copoly line has a greater abrasion resistance than mono line.
  • Knot Strength: Copoly line has a greater know strength than mono line.
  • Thinner diameter: Copoly has a thinner diameter than mono line without a loss in strength.
  • Less memory: Copoly has less memory than mono line.
  • Versatility: Copoly line can be used in a wide variety of fishing situations.


  • Price: More expensive than mono lines.
  • Stretch: Although less stretchy than mono, copoly line still has some stretch.

 Copolymer Brands:

  • P-Line: Price:$9 – $12 per 300yds
  • Silver Thread: Price: $9 per 300yds
  • Yo-Zuri: $13 – $15 per 275yds


Copolymer line can be a great choice for any fishing situation except for topwater fishing. Since it sinks, copolymer will not work well with topwater lures. In both fresh and saltwater it is a good choice for bottom baits, trolling, and moving baits.

Fluorocarbon Line: (Fluoro)

Fluorocarbon is the newest line in fishing. Although it looks very similar to nylon line, it is very different. Fluoro is more resistant to abrasion, less stretch, and more density than other lines.


  • Invisibility: This is the most unique characteristic of fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon line has nearly the same refractive index as water, making it almost invisible under water. This makes fluoro the perfect choice for clear water situations.
  • Sinks: Because of its high density, fluoro line sinks.
  • Abrasion resistant: Quality fluorocarbon line is very abrasion resistant.
  • Less Stretch: Fluorocarbon has the perfect amount of stretch for a wide range of situations. With significantly less stretch than mono it makes solid hook-sets much easier. The slight amount of stretch does make it a good choice for moving baits as well.
  • Memory: Although some fluorocarbon has memory, good quality fluorocarbons have less memory.
  • Increased sensitivity: Since fluorocarbon has less stretch it makes the line much more sensitive. Greater sensitivity makes it easier for the angler to detect/feel bites and understand bottom composition of the area they fish.
  • UV Ray resistant: Fluoro is resistant to damaging UV rays so it will not breakdown as quickly as a nylon-based line, which extends its useful life.


  • Few Disadvantages: There really are few disadvantages to fluorocarbon lines. The early fluoro lines were somewhat stiff and brittle. Some anglers also complained that it broke easily and certain knots would cause the line to cut through itself. These problems have since been remedied and are not an issue as long as the fluorocarbon is made from high quality material and development.
  • Sinks: The fact that fluoro sinks is a good characteristic except for topwater fishing.
  • Expensive: Fluorocarbon line can be very expensive. The best brands of fluoro can cost upwards of $40 for a 100yd spool.

Fluorocarbon Brands:

  • Sunline: Japanese line company, many feel they make the best line. They have about 15-20 different fluorocarbon lines, specific for many situations. Sunline is expensive, but their customers love their line. Price: $20-$60 for a 200yd spool.
  • Seaguar: Another top Japanese Line company. They have several types of fouoro as well. Price: $20-$60 for 200yds.
  • Vicious: American line company. They make just a couple types of fluoro. Pretty low price for fluorocarbon. Price:$10-$22 per 200yds.


Freshwater: In freshwater applications it is becoming a popular choice for all situations except topwater. In clear water it is the best choice since it is nearly invisible. Works well for bottom baits, moving baits, and even trolling.

Saltwater: The most popular way to use fluorocarbon in saltwater fishing is as a leader for the main line. When using braid for bottom fishing, fluoro leader will be tied to the end of the braid in clear water. That gives the angler the power and sensitivity of braid with the invisibility of fluorocarbon.

Best Uses:

Clear water situations

Bottom lures

Moving baits-Crankbaits, Jerkbaits


Braided Lines (“Super Lines”):

Braided lines, or “super lines”, “superbraid”, like Eposeidon’s “SuperPower” are made of a braid of synthetic proprietary materials that are woven into a rope. For example, SuperPower uses Dyneema as the base fibers. The resulting lines are significantly thinner than monofiliment and flouro for the same strength (Dyneema is the material in bullet-proof vests) and also suppler, which improves casting distance. The most unique benefit, however, is that braids have almost no stretch at all. The minimal line-stretch of super line gives anglers an incredible feel, equating to increased sensitivity and the ability to detect hits. No-stretch line also means solid hook-setting power and maximum force transfer when playing a fish.


  • Zero-Stretch: Braid is the only line that has no stretch. This makes braid extremely sensitive for the angler. The slightest of bites can be felt when using braid. No stretch also makes it for very good hook penetration and solid hook-sets. The power of braid makes it ideal for fishing thick heavy cover with ease.
  • Float: Braid floats, which makes it the new favorite for topwater fishing, bass fishing in particular. When using artificial frogs, braid is widely accepted as the only line to use for its flotation, power, and cutting ability while fishing thick and matted vegetation.
  • Abrasion resistant: Braid is by far the most abrasion resistant of all fishing lines. It can take a lot of abuse while fishing any type of cover. Many times angler keeps the same spool of braid on a reel for a year or two without replacing it because it lasts so long.
  • Versatility: Braid can be used for a wide variety of fish species, and techniques.
  • Smaller Diameter: Braid has a much smaller diameter than all other line types. This allows more line to be loaded on a spool.


  • Price: Braid can be very expensive.
  • Visibility: Braid can be highly visible under water, which can be a hindrance in clear water situations. One technique that is growing in popularity to remedy this is to use braided main line with a fluorocarbon leader. This gives the angler the best of both worlds.
  • Reel Slippage: Braid had the tendency to “slip” on the reel spool. This problem is often fixed by anglers using monofilament as a filler line, or “backing”, under the braid.
  • No stretch: The only time that zero stretch is bad is when fishing moving baits like crankbaits. The zero stretch can often times work against the angler by not allowing the bait to be sucked deep enough into the fishes mouth, causing the angler to pull the bait out of its mouth during hook-set.

Braid Brands:

  • PowerPro: One of the top brands made in American. They offer a few types of braid. Price: $25 – $45 per 300yds.
  • SpiderWire: Another top brand made in America. Spiderwire is part of Berkley or Pure Fishing. Price:$20 – $50 per 300yds.
  • Japanese Brands: The Japanese companies are considered to make the best braid also but it is very expensive as well. Price:$25 – $75 per 20yds

Uses: In both fresh and saltwater braid is a great choice for everything situation but trolling and faster moving baits. The power and sensitive make it great of bottom fishing and fishing in heavy cover.

Best Uses:

Anytime line visibility is not an issue

Bottom fishing

Topwater baits

If anglers are concerned that braid floats and does not sink, a fluorocarbon leader would be a great technique to try. Most of the time braid would not be used in moving baits like crankbaits or jerkbaits, so the floating braid won’t affect diving lures. If they are using braid with those types of lures the action and running depth of the bait will not be hindered much, because of the small diameter of braid. On sinking baits, braid would have very little to no effect on the bait’s fall or action. So that should not be of concern. On slow moving bottom baits a “bow” in the line can sometimes occur, due to the floating braid. That is when a long fluorocarbon leader can really be useful.


In reality there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to line selection. It is up to the individual fisherman. What works for some, might not work as well for someone else. Personal preference is the biggest factor when determining line selection. Certain lines are just better for certain situations, but not the only option.

The Fishing Line Comparison Table

  Nylon Monofilament Fluorocarbon Braid Line
Cost Cheapest Most Expensive  
Density Least Dense (Floats) Most Dense (Sinks)  
Diameter (lb for lb) Thickest   Thinnest
Elasticity Most Elastic   Least Elastic
Flexibility   Least Flexible Most Flexible
Memory   Most Memory Least Memory
Porosity Most Porous Least Porous  
Resistance to abrasion   Most Abrasion Resistant Least Abrasion Resistant
Resistance to uv degradation Least Resistant to UV Resistant to UV Resistant to UV
Visibility   Least Visible Most Visible
Perceived Strengths Its elasticity allows it to act as a shock absorber and will help to prevent a fish from tearing itself free of the hook.It’s the most inexpensive of all fishing line types.It’s transparent, and less visible in the water than all lines other than fluorocarbons.Knots and crimped connections hold well in nylon line.Nylon is a low memory material, so it will soon forget about the coils it was restrained in on the spool.Moderately abrasion resistant It’s virtually invisible under water.It’s a low stretch material, a property that provides excellent bite detection at the rod tip.It’s denser than water and sinks readily as a result, allowing trolling and spinning lures to run deeper.It doesn’t absorb water like mono does, and keeps its strength longer as a result.It’s slightly stiffer than mono, and less likely to tangle.Good abrasion resistance.Relatively high resistance to ultra-violet light It has near zero stretch, which is great for bite detection.Its near zero stretch enables the angler to control lure action when jigging and spinning.It has an amazing strength/diameter ratio which means you can get an awful lot of it on the reel.Its small diameter enables it to fly through the air with ease, for prodigious distance casting.Its small diameter enables it to cut through the water better than mono, allowing deeper trolling and faster deep-drop jigging.Spectra line has no reel memory whatsoever.
Perceived Weaknesses Its elasticity works against it when you’re trying to make the longest possible cast, where it absorbs energy that is better transferred to the rod. Shock leaders for casting should always be made from low-stretch varieties specifically produced for this application, or fluorocarbon.It’s prone to ultra-violet degradation from direct sunlight.It’s absorbent in saltwater to a small degree, which weakens it over time. It’s expensive, more than double the price of standard mono.It has a relatively high line memory, which means that casting distances can be affected. It’s so thin and hard it can cut fingers to the bone. Be careful!It can be similarly hard on rod guides. Use it only on rods with roller guides or rings intended for use with braid lines.Its near-zero stretch means that it has no shock absorbing properties what so ever. It’s hard on the angler’s arms and shoulders, and on the fish’s mouth too.All braid line can be very visible in the water, particularly when seen from below and silhouetted against the sky.Only a few knots will work in braid lines – have a look at these braided fishing line knots to learn how to tie the ones that will.It doesn’t cast well from baitcast reels. Its small diameter lets it squeeze between the underlying coils, resulting a short cast if you’re lucky and a birdsnest and a crack-off if you’re not!A fixed spool reel is a much better tool for casting super-braid lines, but because of its ultra-softness, wind blown tangles can arise and care must be taken to ensure that no loops are wound onto the spool.And yes, you’ve guessed it – it’s expensive!
Primary Uses As a good general purpose main reel line.As a shock absorber leader when using non-stretch braid lines.For tying hook traces and terminal rigs. For tying hook traces and terminal rigs in clear water.For low-visibility leaders when trolling and spinning.For non-stretch shock leaders when long casting is necessary, as when surfcasting. For long-casting applications, and up-tide ledgering.



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