This guide will help you to select the best fishing line required for specific condition. We have tried to provide in-depth information for you. Right decision in choosing the right line can help you in catching more fishes.
One single type of line cannot be perfect for all fishing conditions. So, read carefully to select your fishing line made of right material.
Two important issues are
(a) the type of fish you are going to catch.
(b) the environment where you are going for fishing. We will soon show you which material is suitable for which condition.
Monofilament lines were invented first. Braided lines were invented later. Fluorocarbon lines are the latest generation invention in the industry. Though new lines are invented for fishing benefits, each line has its own pros and cons.
Before we dive deeper into the details, please note carefully that you always need to check these quality issues when you buy a fishing line – right breaking strength, diameter, visibility, abrasion resistance, flexibility, stretch, knot strength and durability
- These products are single-component products as you can see from the name.
- It is very popular and usually used in general fishing activities.
- It is clear and smooth. You will find it in special color so that it becomes invisible to fish but visible above the water.
- This kind of line is slippery. Many types of knots may slip and become loose.
- There are several brands. If you buy cheap products, you may face one or more problems in tensile strength, limpness, abrasion resistance and knot strength.
- Since quality vary brand to brand, you should use or test several brands and select the best one suitable for your needs.
- Though it stretches, absorbs water and sunlight, it has good quality abrasion resistance.
- This kind of line floats well.
- It has moderate amount of stretch.
- It is comparatively cheaper.
Usage of Monofilament
Good for freshwater, inshore and pier fishing. You can also use monofilament in short casts to specific shallow casts to specific shallow targets such as in muddy water. These targets can be docs and brush. These can also be underneath tree limbs and branches. These are usually good in boat, reef and surf type bait fishing, trolling or deep water jigging. Since it has slower sink rate, it is also good for top-water conditions. You can use this line in river fishing. You can also use this to catch small fishes like panfish.
- Since its diameter is smaller, it is less visible to fish than monofilament.
- This line has minimum stretch and floats too. It also sinks well.
- This line can transmit feel on a tight line. But bite detection can be harder when you are using with weightless stick bait.
- Though this line is expensive, you will get value since it is expected to last longer.
- This line can transmit the feel on both tight and slack line.
Usage of Braided lines
Braided lines are mainly used by saltwater anglers. These are commonly used for fishing larger species. Use palomar knot for best results. Braided lines are not recommended for beginners or kids learning how to fish. Braided lines are also not normally accepted on party boats because of the fact that braided lines are very difficult to untangle from other fishing lines.
- It is nearly invisible in water. Light reflects through it in such a way that it becomes hard to see it. It is actually a type of polymer.
- Since it is hard to detect in water, it is better to use in clear water.
- It does not absorb water or absorbs little water. Since it does not usually absorb water, it has longer lasting quality.
- It sinks easily.
- Its stretch level is low and it is more abrasion resistant.
- It is not deteriorated by sunlight, battery acid or gasoline.
- It is often more expensive than other types of lines.
- Fluorocarbon is much stiffer than monofilament and thus it is harder to make knots. Fluorocarbon is normally rigged with aluminum or steel sleves. Especially on 30 + pound strength lines.
Usage of Fluorocarbon lines
It is suitable for fishing in saltwater and fly fishing mainly because it is almost invisible. It can also help you in clear-water fishing. If you are using Fluorocarbon line, use the Trilene knot to get the best results and always test your knot before you use it.
Pound testing is important
Pound testing refers to the breaking strength of the line. If your line passes 10 pounds (lb), it should not break when you catch a 10 pound fish. It should easily handle 10 pound pressure. But note carefully that some knots are stronger than other knots. It means some knots can reduce the line strength.
It is interesting to note that a 10 pound line can often handle much more pressure than 10 pounds. The pound test is done to make sure that there is no weak point in the line that can break the line when this much pressure is faced.
Braided lines are stronger than monofilament lines if you compare based on diameter.
Use low tension enduring lines to catch smaller fishes and use high pressure enduring lines when you target big fishes such as in sea fishing. For example, 60 pound lines are used in sea fishing.
In reality, the endurance of tension or pressure of a line such as 10 pounds line can vary from one manufacturer to another.
Your fishing line selection can vary depending on multiple factors
If you are fishing by casting or spinning in freshwater and your target is from 2 to 4 pound fishes such as trout or other small native fishes, we suggest monofilament lines for you.
If you are fishing by casting or spinning in inshore (or pier) and your target is from 6 to 10 pound fishes such as salmon, bream, flathead or other large native fishes, we suggest monofilament lines for you.
If you are fishing by casting, bottom-fishing or trolling in near shores and your target is from 12 to 20 pound fishes such as salmon, small tuna, snapper or kingfish, we suggest monofilament or braided lines for you.
If you are fishing by trolling in offshore and your target is from 30 to 130 pound fishes such as large tuna, large kingfish, sharks or marlin, braided line is suggested for you. I never troll with braid. Trolling is done with monofilament with a 10 to 15 foot of 80 to 130 lbs test fluorocarbon leader.
Your line diameter can impact your line quality
Fishing lines with smaller diameters are better lines. It is better for two reasons – (a) you can spool more line onto the reel and (b) fishes cannot easily detect thin lines. Smaller fishing line diameters will also give you better casting and lure action facilities.
- Braided superlines are much thinner than monofilament lines.
- Fluorocarbon lines can be thinner than braided superlines.
- Diameter helps to determine a line’s test strength. The thinner line you use, the more strength and stability you can expect.
- Line diameter can vary from one company’s products to another company’s same line products.
Impact of abrasion resistance of a line
Braided lines can be very strong. But it has the least amount of abrasion resistance because of its diameter and construction. You need to be cautious about your line’s abrasion resistance capability when you are fishing in rough conditions.
- Braid lines will brake on rocks faster than mono lines.
- Mono or fluorocarbon lines are better than braided lines when you consider abrasion resistance. Braided lines are actually made up of many tiny lines.
- The most abrasion resistant line is fluorocarbon and it is followed closely by mono line.
- You may want to choose fluorocarbon lines when abrasion resistance is very important to you such as when you go for fishing to a rocky zone, tree stumps and extreme weather environments.
Your line color can impact fish bites
There are some fishes that are shy of lines. They will avoid biting your lures when they can detect your line.
- Though clear line is helpful in almost all situations, it can be hard for the angler to see the line. When you are fishing in clear water, you should use a line that helps you to detect it from above the water.
- Color is not important if you are fishing in dark murky water or for bass on heavy cover.
- Bright color lines may make it difficult to catch line shy fishes.
- If your line has out-of-water line visibility, you will be able to easily track your lures and baits.
Your line stiffness or limpness can impact your fishing
If you are targeting small or big fishes, stiffness and limpness are important for you in selecting your fishing line.
- Stiff lines: These lines are powerful and usually used in catching bigger fishes. Use bait casting reel for better results.
- Limp lines: These lines are useful in catching smaller fishes and you should use spin casting reels for better results.
Tips for fly fishing line
The main three performance characteristics of this kind of line are castability, shootability and durability. Now we will show you what features you should consider when you select a line for fly fishing.
Line weight: Most fly fishing anglers will unfortunately use only one fishing line for all types of fly fishing. You may need different fishing lines for different fly fishing situations and you should consider fish species and fly sizes. Your fly fishing rod will be damaged if you use a line that is heavier or lighter than recommended. Fly line weights can range from 1 to 8 and more. Lighter lines such as 1 to 3 lines are used for fishing tiny fishes. Fly line weight 8 or more are used for fishing heavy, larger and stronger fishes.
Line taper: The manufacturer may add a small adjustment to the fly line and it is called fly line taper. There are several types of fly fishing line tapers and we will show you the characteristics of each taper.
Weight-forward taper (WF): Additional weight and thickness is added in first 10 yards of fly line. It is the best choice for the beginners. The front line will help you not only in longer casting better but also in windy weather. It is very popular and standard taper for trout fishing.
Bass bug/saltwater taper (BBT): Though it is similar to weight-forward taper, the front part is not like the WF taper. It is most suitable for catching big saltwater fishes and big basses.
Double taper (DT): This line is heavier and thicker in the middle of the line but it loses weight and thickness at the both ends of the fly line. This taper line is recommended when you are fishing in small or medium rivers, the weather is not windy and you do not need to use longer casting. It is mainly used by experienced fishermen. It is most suitable for trout fishing.
Shooting taper (ST): This line is mostly used in tournaments when you need to use distant casting. It is heavily weighted in the first 20 meters. It is most suitable for fast running rivers and extreme weather wind conditions.
Level taper (L): It actually has no taper and has exact same weight and thickness (uniform diameter) throughout its length. This is usually used by experienced anglers. The beginners are recommended not to use this fishing taper line at all. Others are recommended to use only if they really need to use it.
Density: It refers to whether the fly line floats or sinks. There are five types of fly line densities.
Floating fly line (F): The entire line floats as the name suggests and it is the most popular fishing line. It is the easiest to cast using a floating line. It is used for many wet flies, nymphs, streamers and all dry fly fishing.
Sink-tip fly line: The name is sink-tip because only the first 10-30 feet sinks and the rest floats. Most of such lines sink quickly and it is a popular line too. Fishermen commonly use it for nymph and streamer fishing.
Intermediate sinking fly line (I): This entire line sinks but it sinks slowly. It is good for lake fishing if the lake has a lot of weeds and vegetation.
Sinking fly line (S): This line sinks quickly at a uniform rate and the sinking rate is from 2 to 10 inches per second. This line is good if you are fishing in deep pools or fast moving water.
Fast-sinking fly line (F/S): This fly line sinks very quickly and it is good for fishing in saltwater or deep lakes.
Backing: Fly lines are usually attached to a secondary line at the butt section and it is called backing. It is used to fill up the reel pool and ensure an adequate reserve in case of a run by a powerful fish. You may keep at least 100 yards backing line. But according to the experts, you should keep 200 yards backing line if you are targeting powerful and big running fishes.
Leaders: A leader is a length of line tied to the thinnest part of your main fishing line that is called tippet. It ensures that there will be no big splash during your casting. Splash can scare away big fish. You can connect two lines by using one or more knots. You can also connect by tying each line to the separate ends of a swivel.
Standard Monofilament Leader: It is usually a cheaper option but if you care quality, you can always find a better quality product. This type of leader will absorb water, stretch, has better abrasion resistance, and absorbs sunlight.
Fluorocarbon Monofilament Leader: Though it is more expensive and has more abrasion resistance, it has lower stretch. As you already know, fishes cannot easily see the line because it is invisible or nearly invisible.
Important factors you need to consider when you for fly fishing:
- Strength: Oftentimes lines are stronger than the weight of the targets. When a saltwater line is expected to handle even 60 pounds, a 2 or 3 weight line will break at about 20 pounds.
- Stretch: Too much or too less stretch can be problems. When your line has over-stretch, it is hard to control. When your line has under-stretch, you will face memory problem.
- Stiffness: If your line fails to maintain right amount of stiffness, it can develop memory problem. Memory problem develops from lack of stiffness in freezing weather.
- Line coating: Your line coating should be according to the industry standard and the coating should not make a problem in maintaining other standard criteria such as strength, stretch or stiffness.
- Fish specific: You should also consider what kind of fish you are going to target. Tarpon, Tunas, Atlantic salmon or trout with small flies all need different types of lines.
- If you are using a sinking line, it is better to use a line that is not visible to the fishes. Otherwise the beginners should use a colorful line.
Tips for Ice Fishing Line
Ice fishing can be fun and adventure in extreme weather conditions. But you need to carefully select your line. Though there are some similarities between open water fishing and ice fishing, there are differences too. When you fish in open water, the lure often moves faster. So, it becomes hard for the fish to detect the lure. The fish gets little time to check the lure. But a fish gets more time to detect the lure in ice fishing condition because the lure often does not move or moves very slowly.
Fishes are less active and do not strike or strike lightly in freezing water conditions. You need a line that can detect these light strikes. You will get better results if you use fast sinking and abrasion resistant braided lines.
- The jagged or sharp edges of an ice hole can damage your fishing line. So, make sure to take care of your line when you put your line near such edges.
- Though you will find colorful lines and clear lines, the clear lines can be a bit more helpful. The clear lines will be nearly invisible under water. So, it will be hard for the fishes to detect your line.
- The strength and endurance of some fishing lines can be damaged in freezing water temperatures. Make sure you consider these two factors when you buy your fishing line.
- You need to use lighter line for smaller fishes and heavier line for bigger fishes.
- Abrasions, freezing temperatures, sunlight and sharp ice edges can damage your fishing line. Make sure that you have checked for all these problems before going for fishing.
Some important factors to consider in selecting fishing line:
- You should measure the strength of your fishing line. If you are planning to catch a 20 pound fish, the line should be strong enough to handle this much weight.
- Do not miss these two important issues while you choose your fishing line – (a) type of water being fished and (b) type of tackle being used.
- The less memory you fishing line have, the better it is.
- If you are going to cast frequently, it is suggested you use a light and smooth line. You can more accurately cast over long distances using this kind of line. It will also easily come off the spool.
- The more expensive lines go through better quality control. So, their products have consistent high quality and they provide good value for money.
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