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How to Choose a Fishing Line [Detailed Guide]

How to Choose a Fishing Line  [Detailed Guide]
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A fishing line makes a great difference in the quality of your presentation and success in catching fish. It creates a link between you and the catch. Once that link is broken, you lose the fish.

All fishing lines are not the same. Your choice of fishing line will depend on where you want to go fishing, (the fishing environment) and the type of fishing you intend to do. There is a variety of fishing line types designed to work effectively in specific fishing conditions, and choosing the most suitable one will make catching fun and easier for you.

With you in mind, we have created an article to guide you in choosing the best fishing line for your unique fishing experience, even if you never knew much about how to start fishing. That is, one less thing to worry about!

How to Choose a Fishing Line
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Types of Fishing Lines

There are three main types of fishing line: monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon. Each of these has a benefit over the other in specific situations. Understanding what makes one different from the other will guide your decision on which one to use when next you go fishing.

Monofilament Fishing Lines

Made by extrusion from a single (mono) fiber of nylon plastic, monofilament lines are the most popular lines for most users. This is because they are smooth and strong, and generally less expensive when compared to other lines.

Most monofilament fishing lines are clear, even though some manufacturers make fluorescent and colored varieties. You can get some that have a very narrow diameter, which guarantees less intrusion in the water while maintaining its pound test strength.

(Pound test strength means the line’s breaking strength).

Monofilament lines are the better choices for beginners because it is easier to tie fishing knots with them than it is to tie with other line types. Sometimes, even experienced anglers use them because of their ability to stretch and absorb shock when a big fish strikes a fast-moving lure during high-speed trolling.

But because these lines stretch easily, sometimes it is difficult to feel when a fish strikes your bait.

When exposed to sunlight, these lines break easily over time; so, it is advisable to replace them every six months or once in a year.

Check out this Monofilament Fishing Line on Amazon

Braided Fishing Lines

These are thinner than monofilament lines. They are made from woven fibers, and they come in different colors with high-abrasion resistance. Braided lines are high-sensitivity, low-stretch lines that are hard to break and last longer if properly spooled and maintained.

Because they have no stretch, you can feel what’s going on with your line more easily, (like when a fish strikes your bait) when compared to other higher stretch lines. Low stretch lines like these can drive your hook better into a fish’s mouth when the hook is set on a strike.

With a smaller diameter, braided fishing lines are great for fishing near the bottom in the wind and current. This is simply because the thinner the lines, the less drag gets created, and the easier it is to keep your bait in the strike zone.

They are also an excellent option for fishing in thick, aquatic beds. It is not unusual for fish like Bass to retreat into thick weeds, making it hard for your cast to reach. In such cases, braided lines serve best as they hardly get caught up among the weeds.

Braided lines, however, aren’t great for beginner anglers. They tangle easily and are a bit more difficult to untangle than other line types. Tying knots with braided lines is also a bit harder than it is with other types of line. But notwithstanding, you can learn how to tie braided fishing line yourself.

When compared to other line types, another downside to consider is the high visibility of braided lines to fish in clear water. When fishing in clear water, many anglers who use braided lines prefer to tie a clear length of line (often known as a leader) to conceal their bait and improve their presentation. Some anglers would even avoid them altogether.

Braided fishing lines are more expensive than monofilament lines, one of the reasons many people don’t go for them.

Click to buy this low visibility Braided Fishing Line on Amazon

Fluorocarbon Fishing Lines

Just like monofilament lines, fluorocarbon lines are made by extrusion in single strands, but they are thicker than even braided lines of the same pound test strength.

Light can pass through them with less distortion, making them less visible to the fish underwater. The fact that they are the least visible lines to fish makes them the choice of many anglers. Fluorocarbon fishing lines sink easily, making them ideal for fishing light baits near the bottom where moving currents won’t create a drag on your line.

In the order of stretching, fluorocarbon lines stretch less than monofilament, meaning that you can detect bites easily while fishing. You also don’t have to worry about degradation, as they don’t absorb water, are not prone to abrasion, and are rarely affected by exposure to sunlight.

Fluorocarbon lines can be an excellent choice if you’re fishing in clear water.

But fluorocarbon lines have their cons too. Even though they stretch less than monofilament, they do more than braided lines, making them less sensitive to strikes than braid. Because they sink too, they may not be the best option when you want to use floating baits.

If you try to spool too much on your reel, these lines may tangle easily because they are stiffer.

Buy this Fluorocarbon Fishing Line & Leader Material on Amazon

How to Use Fishing Leaders with Fishing Lines

A fishing leader is a short length of low visibility line attached to the end of a fishing line before tying the hook or lure. Because it is low visibility, fishes are very unlikely to see it, which could mean more catches.

It is made usually with monofilament or fluorocarbon, which are less visible underwater. A fluorocarbon leader is very effective due to its abrasion resistance, making it ideal for fishing in heavy structure subsurface. If you plan to use floating lures, you can use a monofilament leader which on its own, floats.

When using braided lines, it’s advisable to use a clear leader. It’s more difficult for fish to see a clear leader than it is to see braided lines. Leader material stretches better than braid, helping you to detect when a fish strikes. Some anglers also use wire.

How to Choose a Fishing Line for Your Fishing Environment

You already have an idea of how each type of fishing line is; next is how to apply the uniqueness of each one to different fishing environments. Freshwater, for example, is less dense than saltwater. This is one of the factors to put into consideration when choosing a fishing line.

Below, you’ll find some fishing situations and useful recommendations that will help.

Fishing in Saltwater

Saltwater is dense. A good saltwater line should be strong and subtle, capable of catching big fish and casting long distances, and abrasion-resistant.

Try using a lighter line that can sink faster and cast farther. Generally, it’s better to opt for a clear or camouflaged line that will be almost invisible to the wary fish in saltwater. Monofilament has good knot strength and stretches easily. Braided line can cut faster through the water and cast further than monofilament. Fluorocarbon is dense, meaning it can sink fast. When you want a saltwater fishing line with abrasion resistance, stiffness and low light refraction, go for fluorocarbon.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Fishing in Freshwater

Freshwater is less dense than saltwater. You’ll have to choose a fishing line with a lower line density to improve floatation. With all that’s been said, it’s clear that each fishing line is good in its unique way, and you should go for what works best for you.

Using a high visibility monofilament line with a fluorocarbon leader might just be it for you.

Fishing Offshore With Multiple Lines

To be able to keep track of your lines when fishing offshore, it’s advisable to use different colors. High visibility lines are ideal, so you can have the added benefit of seeing the different lines, while fishes cannot.

You might want to ask around in your area to see what colours work best for other anglers.

Still not sure what fishing line to go for? Watch this comparison video to learn more.


You can’t fish without line. You also won’t fish well with the wrong fishing line. It is important to know how to choose a fishing line so you won’t have to waste time in trial and error.

Fishing lines come in three types: monofilament, braided and fluorocarbon. Each of them is great for specific fishing conditions, which you can easily determine if you know the best time to go fishing. Factors like visibility levels, abrasion resistance, colour, and the type of fish you intend to catch are worth putting into consideration too, as they can influence your choice of line and determine your success on the water. All these are contained in this article.

After you’ve made a suitable choice, you can keep learning by seeing how barometric pressure affects fishing to understand the tricks of nature in fishing.

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