Often it is not the rod, reel or swivel that gives up first, but the fishing line. After all, the line is what connects us anglers with the fish and is probably the most important thing in fishing besides hooks. Meanwhile there are many different types of lines and many more brands on the market. In this article I will compare the different types of lines and present my favourite lines. Because buying a line is a matter of trust: if you’ve had problems with a brand you probably won’t buy another line that has already lost a big fish.
Braided fishing line
Braided fishing lines currently consist of 4, 8 or 16 individual threads, which again consist of further fine threads. Compared to monofilaments, they have a much higher load capacity with the same diameter.
Characteristics and quality features
The big advantage of braided line is that there is hardly any elongation. The big disadvantage is the poor abrasion resistance. When fishing on sharp-edged mussel beds or rock, it is better to use a fluorocarbon. Monofilament is of course also an alternative.
The main quality feature is how tightly the braided fibres are woven, because this has some effects on the properties:
- Glide better through the rings and provide for higher casting distances
- Make hardly any noise in the rod rings
- Defibrillate less quickly and last longer
The newer multi braided lines are clearly in front, because they are rounder and fly even further. Braided lines, are also very soft. So braided lines are unbeaten when it comes to great depths or casting distances and to have direct contact with the fish. This makes it the most popular line for spinning fishermen and for long-distance carp fishing. They are also an excellent leader for carp or pike-perch fishing, as the softness of the material means that the fish does not notice much.
Braided line is not suitable for every reel
It is important that the braided clean lies on the spool, otherwise you will quickly get wigs and a lot of trouble. Braided line is best wound up wet and as tight as possible. Unfortunately not all spinning reels have a good line lay, which is suitable for braided ones. Especially older ones can only be fished with monofilament. A list of recommended spinning reels that have a clean line laying can be found here >>
A little tip: You can save a lot of money by buying the 1000 m spool and sharing it with your colleagues.
The production of braided line
Braided line is made of polyethylene(PE). In the past, Dacron (PET) material was still in use, but it had worse properties. The brand name of the modern PE fibre is Dyneema, which is also used as a fibre for all kinds of outdoor equipment. The manufacturer is the chemical giant DSM, which is behind some things in daily use.
Monofilament fishing line
Monofilament fishing line is made of polyamide, also known as nylon. It is by far the cheapest type of line on the market and therefore the most popular among budget foxes. The most important property of Monofilament is the stretchability of up to 30%, but there are also very low stretch Monofilaments.
When fishing at short distances, monofilaments are almost always better suited than braided ones, because here the long-throw characteristics of a braided one are not so important.
Monofilaments are still top
- Carp at short distance
- Everything else strong at short distance
- In clear water and when fishing for trout
Durability of monofilament
Monofilament should be replaced regularly because it ages due to UV radiation in sunlight. So it is recommended to replace the line after 1-3 seasons or, in case of a large spool, simply turn it over. It depends on the load and number of fishing trips, how often the line should be changed.
If you want to know the maximum load a monofilament line can carry, you can take a look at the load capacity table on the Stroft website here >> a 0.20′ line will not carry more than 4.2 kg. Everything else is not correct according to experience.
10 Tips to prevent tangles
Fluorocarbon Cord the Invisible
Fluorocarbon is not made of polyamide but of carbon and looks like monofilaments. Only in water the most important property is revealed. This is because the line has a similar refraction factor to water and is therefore harder to see under water. This makes it difficult for fish to see the line and even cautious and shy fish are much easier to outwit.
Fluorocarbon is still relatively heavy and therefore sinks well in the water and does not float. It is much less stretchy and more abrasion resistant than monofilaments. All these characteristics make Fluorocarbon line the optimal leader line. The disadvantage is the rather high price compared to monofilaments.
How to distinguish monofilament from Fluorocarbon
Here is a very simple trick! Because you can use a lighter to find out which string you have in front of you. If you light the string, monofilament will continue to burn on its own, while Fluorocarbon will not continue to burn on its own and will only carbonize.
Attention: Be careful with cheap fluorocarbon lines, the small print often says that it is a fluorocarbon coated line. Often you only notice this afterwards, so keep your eyes open when buying fluorocarbon.
The best Fluorocarbon fishing lines
Choosing the right weight-bearing capacity
The most important question first: Which line for which fish. To make it short, there is a table below with approximate values. But I can’t give you exact values, because you always have to pay attention to the fishing situation and especially to the conditions on the water.
Important factors to choose the right line size
If I have a lot of sharp-edged stones in the water I hit at least 0.05 mm on them even if there are mussel beds in the water I recommend using stronger lines. If you fish from the boat in open water and there are no obstacles far and wide, you can fish much finer. Even in clear waters you should fish a little finer, if the conditions mentioned above allow it.
You must also remember that when you fish for perch, a pike as a by-catch or another predator can always bite. Carp or large bream are also possible when feeding with maggot on roach. You should inform yourself about the stocking and the usual sizes of the fish. This helps to estimate the danger.
In addition to the factors mentioned, the weight of the bait or cast is always important. For example, if you cast heavy lead when fishing for carp over long distances, the line must be able to handle it!
The cheating of the manufacturers
The load capacity of a fishing line is a thing of its own. Hardly any line keeps its promises under actual conditions. The manufacturer’s specifications are a rather theoretical value, especially for braided lines. Also the thickness of the line, normally given in millimetres (mm), is difficult to determine, at least with braided lines, and a calculated value is printed on the packaging.
On English and American line packages the wet knot load capacity is usually always given, whereas in Germany the linear load capacity is given on the package.
Carrying capacity Standard values for our freshwater fish
In the table below you can see the line diameters and line strengths for our most important freshwater fish species (guideline values) for spin fishing you can always go down a little or take the first number, while for bottom fishing it is better to use the stronger line. For pose fishing you can move in between.
Monofilament, braided and fluorocarbon in comparison
In this table you can clearly compare the most important characteristics of these lines. The table also shows that braided lines have a higher load capacity with the same diameter. This also means less water resistance when catching and air resistance when casting, because I can use a thinner braided line instead of a thicker monofilament one.
Good fishing lines in the overview
Some recommendations of top lines of all types, which have proven themselves not only with me. I have taken care to choose my favourite lines from different price ranges, so that there is something for everyone.
My top monofilament lines
All monos are relatively cheap except for the stft. Therefore there is no distinction in the price class.
1: The Stroft GTM is a good monofilament line from Waku and is made in Germany. Unfortunately the quality is also reflected in the price. With me the line comes on trout rods or when spinning in clear waters. Then even ~100 meters on a reel are enough. For bottom fishing I usually use the other lines.
- View GTM here on Amazon >>
2: The Shimano Technium is also a very cheap line and I have at
- To test the Invisitec>> (for spin fishing)
- To test the Tribal>> (for bottom fishing)
3: The Quantum Salsa – very robust and soft. This ensures good casting characteristics and trouble-free casting. My first choice on the allround rod for natural bait fishing for everything with fins. But please note that the line is only available in red.
- View Quantum Salsa here on Amazon >>
5: The Broxxline is a line that has become very popular with carp professionals. That’s why I use it on a free spool reel and it does its job when doing bottom fishing for carp, pike and eel.
- View Broxxline here on Amazon >>
5: Dam Tectan is another monofilament that you can buy without hesitation. It is similarly cheap as Broxxline and offers just as good quality for the smaller purse.
- View Dam Tectan here on Amazon >>
My top braided lines
On Angeltests.de there is a big test about fishing lines >>
Note about braided lines: there is also a category closely related to braided lines. These are the fused lines like the Nanofil from Berkley or the Raptor lines. Either you love them or you hate them. I personally was less fond of them and I don’t really like them. For the sake of completeness they should be mentioned.
My Top Flurorocarbon lines
Recently I did a comparison test with various fluorocarbon lines. You can find it here >>
Important questions about fishing lines
Here I would like to answer the most important questions about fishing lines and give some tips.
How much line has to be on the reel
For maximum casting distance the spool of the fishing reel should always be as full as possible, but also not too full, because then line wigging occurs more quickly. The rule of thumb is to fill the line up to 2 mm below the edge of the spool. 100 m main line is usually enough line on the reel at lakes. 150 m should then be enough for every long. Only catfish and carp anglers or, of course, sea anglers at great depths should put more line on the spool. The only problem is that with 100 m 10`er braided, I can’t even begin to fill the 3000 size reel to the edge of the spool. The line capacity of the reels is simply too big. Therefore it is recommended to use cheap monofilament.
Store fishing lines correctly
It is best to store your fishing line in a cool and dry place without sunlight. This is especially true for monofilament line, but it won’t harm the braided line either.
The line colour
In my opinion the color of the cord is a matter of pure faith. Fluorocarbon is always transparent, everything else would not make any sense, because otherwise the camouflage effect under water would disappear. The colouring of fishing line can serve two purposes. Either for camouflage, e.g. a brown line when fishing for carp, or you choose extra showy lines so that you can see them better as an angler. Coloured lines in pink, orange or bright green are particularly popular for rubber fishing.
For spin fishing with wobblers, spinners or spoons I generally prefer white lines, as they are less conspicuous, at least in clearer water. Carp professionals often swear by brown or greenish lines depending on the type of turbidity in the water.
Which line is the right one for me?
If you fish at short distance, monofilament lines are clearly better. The buffering effect is not only bad, but also buffers during the fight. This is a good effect especially at short distances with strong fighting fish. But at distances over 20 m braided lines provide better bait contact. Especially for spin fishing braided ones have a clear advantage here. For rubber fishing only braided ones are used.
One thing is certain for me: wherever possible I fish braided. When I started fishing braided ones were still a luxury and when I bought and fished one after a drop in price the “aha effect” was great. Suddenly you could feel everything that happens on the other end of the line. As leader I only use fluorocarbon or monofilament coated with fluorocarbon.
- On the spinning reel it is usually better to wind braided line onto the spinning reel
- When ice fishing or fishing in winter monofilaments have a clear advantage they hardly absorb any water and also ice up the rings less
- For allround fishing monofilament
- But at a distance braided lines are unbeatable
- For particularly tricky fish, Fluorocarbon is worthwhile as the main line
- For fly-fishers, Fluorocarbon is usually the better choice as a leader
For shore anglers
For shore fishing, club lines are often the best option. They thicken in the first 20 meters from a 0.30 to a 0.60 monofilament line. This ensures that the line does not break when casting with the enormously high weights. Often the lines change colour every 20 or 25 metres, which makes it possible to cast again and again and to know exactly how far out you are fishing.
As leader line
Amnesia line is another special form of monofilament. The memory effect is almost eliminated due to the manufacturing process. Especially sea anglers benefit from this line as leader material or for side arms.