A fishing line is one of the most important types of gear an angler must acquire. In general, fishing lines are overlooked because they do not seem as important as lures, rods, reels and hooks. However, different choices of line can play a significant role on an angler’s fishing success.

There are four main fishing line types, but each kind includes numerous other options to choose from. The most common types include the monofilament, the fluorocarbon and the braided fishing line. Moreover, a fly fishing line is considered the fourth major type, but it is unique to fly fishing. To learn how to choose the correct color, material, weight and type of line, read the sections below.

What is the purpose of fishing line?

The main purpose of fishing line is to connect your lure, bait and hook to your rod and reel. A fishing line is wound around or inside of the reel and is held in place along the rod with the help of eyelets. After casting out your lure, the line allows you to reel it back in. While fishing lines seem straightforward, there are various factors to consider in order to select an appropriate one. For example, picking out the best fishing line requires you to examine the following features:

  • Strength
  • Stretch
  • Color
  • Weight
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Price
  • Intended purpose

In any case, the best braided fishing line will work well for general purposes and is considered a strong line. For that reason, a standard saltwater fishing line is often braided. However, having the strongest fishing line is not always a requirement. For instance, clear lines such as the fluorocarbon type may be more important than lines made from strong materials.

What is tensile strength?

Many anglers wonder “What is tensile strength?” when they first begin looking at different line options. Thus, it is important to understand how tensile strength relates to a line in order to choose the correct product. It is common to see the following terms used when discussing tensile:

  • Tensile yield strength – This refers to the amount of force a material can undergo before it becomes deformed enough to not return to its original shape.
  • Ultimate tensile strength – This term relates to the amount of pulling force a material can withstand before it finally breaks.
  • Breaking strength – This is the specific term used for the amount of force fishing lines can withstand before they snap.

The tensile strength unit used for measurement is pounds per square inch, or psi. Tensile strengths vary based on the type and weight of each material. For example, the tensile strength of steel is 60,900 psi and the yield strength of this material is 50,800 psi. As a fisherman, you are probably wondering how a tensile strength test relates to the type of line you choose for your fishing trip. As with any material, different types of lines have varying strengths. A tensile strength procedure assigns values, known as breaking strengths, to each type of line. For instance, a 12-pound test line will generally break after more than 12 pounds of force is applied.

What is fishing line stretch?

A fishing line stretch is a term that describes how much give there is in your line. Moreover, the amount of stretch you want in your line varies according to the type of fishing you are doing. For example, using a stretch fishing line is helpful if you are trolling or intend on catching large fish. In these instances, having elasticity in the line will help absorb any shock of suddenly hooking a large fish. Conversely, a low stretch fishing line is best-suited for targeting small fish and wanting to feel them on the line. A line that has little or no stretch allows you to feel a bite as soon as it happens.

In general, each type of fish line offers a different degree of stretch. For instance, a testing stretch on a monofilament fishing line typically shows that it is less stretchy than a fluorocarbon line.

What is fishing line abrasion resistance?

A fishing line abrasion resistance determines how durable a line is when rubbed against rough surfaces. The best abrasion resistant fishing line should be used in habitats with rocky bottoms or a lot of weeds. In general, these environments can quickly wear on a line. Moreover, a line’s abrasion resistance varies according to different brands and weights. However, this measure can be generally determined by the type of line you use, such as:

  • Fluorocarbon lines are typically the most abrasion resistant.
  • Monofilament lines fall in the middle when it comes to resistance.
  • Braided lines are regarded as the least abrasion resistant.

Although braided fishing lines offer the least abrasion resistance overall, some types are better than others. The most abrasion resistant braided fishing line products include Spectra Moss Green, Power Pro Spectra Fiber, Bravefishermen Super Strong PE and Kast King Superpower. An abrasion resistant fishing line is typically a coveted product, but it can be hard to tell which lines are the best based solely on package labels. For that reason, conducting an abrasion test at home is a great way to determine which line is best for you. In addition, finding the best abrasion resistant fishing line may require some trial and error.

What are the different sizes/weights of fishing lines?

There are many different sizes of fishing lines on the market to choose from. Different weights of fishing lines can also be found within each type of line, such as monofilament, fluorocarbon or braided lines. When it comes to a fishing line weight, different styles of line are known for having different diameters, even if they are within the same weight class. For instance, braided lines are among the thinnest types. Moreover, fluorocarbon lines are in the middle. Conversely, monofilament lines are generally the heaviest ones. A fishing line diameter plays an important role because it determines how much line you can spool onto your reel. Thicker lines limit how many feet of line you can have on the reel at one time. In order to determine how to choose the right fishing line weight, you should consider the following:

  • The target fish species – Fishing line sizes of two to four-pound test are great for trout and panfish. On the other hand, a 30-pound test is required for tuna and marlin.
  • The fishing location – If you fish in a weedy or rocky area, choosing heavier gauge line can increase the abrasion resistance.
  • The fishing gear – Different fishing line weights should only be used in combination with rods and reels that are capable of handling each particular weight and size.

Which fishing lines have the best visibility in water?

The fishing lines with best visibility in water are determined not only by their type, but also by their color. For example, there are benefits to using a red fishing line in freshwater environments instead of a clear line. In general, the best color for a fishing line in saltwater is blue, allowing the line to blend with water. Conversely, the best color for a fishing line in freshwater is typically green or yellow.

Thus, comparing green fishing line vs clear is important if you are catching fish in an extremely clean freshwater environment. Generally, red and green lines become darker at greater depths, while blue and clear lines become more visible. For instance, the best color braided fishing line for bass is typically a fluorescent yellow.

How much does fishing line cost?

A fishing line cost is just as important as its color and material. If you are wondering “How much does fishing line cost?” you must be mindful that there are several factors that affect its price. Most of all, a fishing line price is based on its type. In general, monofilament lines are the most affordable ones. Conversely, braided and fluorocarbon lines are typically more expensive. However, even monofilament lines can become expensive when they are manufactured by certain brands. The average cost of fishing line types are as follows:

  • Monofilament lines can cost between $4 and $15 for 330 yards*
  • Fluorocarbon lines cost, on average, from $15 to $40 for 200 yards*
  • Braided lines have prices that range between $20 and $40 for 300 yards*

*Different brands and types of lines are sold in varying lengths, which affect each product’s price.

Where can you buy fishing line?

Finding out where to buy fishing line can seem challenging at first, but there are many different stores and online marketplaces that sell high-quality line. If you are asking “Where can you buy fishing line?” start by looking at retailers such as:

  • Cabela’s
  • Walmart
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse
  • Sports Authority
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • REI
  • Eastern Mountain Sports

A standard fishing line shop typically sells all of the other gear that you may need in order to fish. In addition, you can buy your fishing line online from places such as TackleDirect.com, Amazon.com, FishUSA.com, TackleWarehouse.com and others.

How much fishing line should you have?

To determine how much fishing line you should have, you must identify which types of fish you want to catch. For example, catching sharks requires you to have as much line as possible. Most fishermen aim for a few hundred yards, when possible. In those instances, figuring out how much line to put on a spinning reel can be a challenge as well. In general, it is a good idea to simply follow the instructions with your reel. This typically means filling the reel to its full capacity.

The amount of fishing line needed does not relate to just how much line you should have on your reel. When deciding how much fishing line to have, you may want to buy additional lengths to have on hand in case of unexpected shortages.

How should I choose my line?

Several fishing line tips can help you decide which type of line is best for any situation. However, tips for choosing your fishing line can be confusing before you learn the properties of each type of line. In general, choosing the right fishing line requires you to take the following factors into account:

  • The species you want to catch
  • The color of the water
  • The weather or time of day
  • Whether you want the line to be visible or invisible
  • Whether you are fishing in freshwater or saltwater
  • Your budget

Additional tips for choosing a fishing line are provided in regulation guidebooks that you receive after obtaining a fishing license.

What fishing line is the strongest?

An important question many fishermen often ask is, “What fishing line is the strongest?” The strongest fishing line will have qualities such as:

  • Abrasion resistance
  • UV light resistance
  • Low porosity
  • Some stretch

In general, the strongest fishing line available on the market is a fluorocarbon line. Because fluorocarbon lines are not porous, they do not absorb water, which can weaken a line over time. Thus, these lines are also known for having lasting strength over time. In certain cases, monofilament and braided lines may offer similar strength.

What are the best cheap fishing lines?

The best cheap fishing lines can provide strength, stretch, abrasion resistance and other features for an affordable cost. A cheap fishing line often provides better quality than you would expect based on the price alone. All lines, including monofilament, braided, fly fishing and fluorocarbon types, have cheap and affordable options. For instance, a good cheap fishing line is available from brands such as:

  • Silver Thread
  • Stren
  • Ande

Looking at cheap fishing line vs expensive options can give you a better sense regarding which features you need. In general, a low price fishing line can provide everything you need without breaking your budget. Moreover, choosing the best cheap fishing line can save you money on a long-term basis, as the costs related to lines can add up over time.

What are the best high-end fishing lines?

The best high end fishing lines are often expensive. However, they are worth the cost if you want to take your gear to the professional level. Generally, high end fishing lines are available in all types. Well-known brands for high-end lines include:

  • Seaguar
  • Yo-Zuri
  • Berkley Trilene
  • PowerPro
  • P-Line
  • Spiderwire

Seaguar lines are commonly regarded as the best high end fishing lines available on the market. Conversely, Berkley Trilene lines are low price high end fishing lines, as these premium offerings are relatively affordable. In addition, Spiderwire lines offer an all-around good high end fishing line. Ultimately, choosing the best high end fishing line can make a difference on your next fishing trip if you have a larger budget.

What are the best fishing lines for beginners?

Choosing a fishing line for beginners is a relatively easy task. In general, the best fishing line for beginners is a monofilament line. This is the most commonly used line available on the market for a reason. When choosing the best fishing line for beginners, monofilament lines are also great because they are cheap and easy to use. Moreover, setting up a fishing line for beginners is also easy when it comes to a monofilament line. This line does not twist easily and can hold knots firmly.

What are the different types of fishing lines?

There are many fishing line types available for virtually any type of fishing. In general, different types of fishing lines have varying weights, strengths and materials that makes them unique. For example, there are specific types of fishing lines for saltwater environments. Conversely, there are types of fishing lines for freshwater fishing that are optimal for species in lakes and rivers. In general, there are four main types of lines: braided, monofilament, fluorocarbon and fly fishing lines. These four main categories are further described in the sections below.

What are braided lines?

Braided lines are generally expensive than other types of fishing line. However, they are also typically stronger and more durable. Thus, they are optimal if you wish to catch large species such as tuna or marlin. In addition, braided fishing lines are known for lasting longer than other types of line on the market. Depending on the braided fishing lines sizes you use, you can use this line to catch fish while trolling, casting or spinning. Furthermore, braided line products can be used when ice fishing with tip-ups.

What are fluorocarbon lines?

Fluorocarbon lines have grown in popularity in recent times. However, they are generally more expensive than monofilament lines. For that reason, fluorocarbon line are more commonly used as leaders rather than mainlines. Leaders are short line extensions between a mainline and a hook, lure or bait. In general, fluorocarbon fishing lines are nearly invisible to fish, making them an excellent option for clear water environments. Other pros and cons of fluorocarbon fishing lines include the line’s fast sinking rate, limited elasticity and great sensitivity. Conversely, a fluorocarbon line is typically stiffer and less manageable than other lines. Thus, secure knots such as the Trilene or Palomar are important if you are tying fluorocarbon fishing line knots.

What are monofilament lines?

Monofilament lines are some of the most popular types of fishing lines used today. In general, these products are very easy to use. Also known as mono lines, this type can be used in freshwater and saltwater habitats for spinning or casting purposes. Moreover, monofilament fishing lines have greater shock strength and stretching capabilities than most other types of line. On the other hand, a monofilament line is typically larger in diameter than other lines. A larger diameter can negatively impact the depth of your fishing. However, the larger monofilament fishing line diameter can also benefit you to slow down the sinking of your bait.

What are fly fishing lines?

Fly fishing lines are specifically designed for fly fishing purposes. For instance, these lines give anglers the opportunity to cast smaller lures at greater distances. However, choosing the right fly line weight varies depending on the specific type of fish you are targeting. In general, a fly fishing line weight varies from one to more than 13. Furthermore, popular fly fishing line types include the weight forward, double taper, level, floating, sink tip and intermediate lines. Other types of fly fishing lines include running and shooting lines or spey, Skagit and switch lines.