Choosing a fishing line these days is a mind bender. Should you spool up with an all-purpose monofilament or one designed for limpness, abrasion resistance, or low stretch? Or, would you be ahead with a nearly invisible, highly sensitive fluorocarbon line? And, what about no-stretch, incredibly thin superlines? Add to this the option of using a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader with a superline.
The bottom line is that your line should match whatever fishing method you’re using.
Most nylon monos today are copolymers, which mean that two types of nylons are blended to make a line with the desired properties. The formula for a limp line, for example, isn’t the same as for a low-stretch line.
You can’t get the best of all worlds in one monofilament line. A line designed to be especially limp and castable, such as Trilene XL, doesn’t hold up well in abrasive cover. A tough line, like Stren Dura Tuf, is generally thicker than a limp line, and stands up to thick cover, but it’s more inclined to coil. Low-stretch lines are more sensitive, but they are more likely to break on a hard hookset.
However, today’s specialty lines deliver a better all-around performance than in the past. So, for example, extremely sensitive SpiderWire Super Mono XXX, which may have the lowest stretch of any monofilament, casts well and withstands abrasive cover.
A compromise, all-purpose monofilament is still a good choice for many fishing applications. It’s castable, holds up well to abrasion, and has about 28 percent stretch so you don’t snap the line on the hookset. Bass Pro Shop’s Excel, Original Stren, Super Silver Thread and Maxima fall into the all-purpose category.
I rely on Super Silver Thread when I’m fishing spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, topwaters, floating jerkbaits, crankbaits and jigging spoons because I’m casting rapid-fire and I don’t want to be hindered by line problems. A castable, all-purpose mono allows me to be a smooth operator.
Since an all-purpose monofilament has more stretch than fluorocarbon or superline, it gives fish a fraction of a second longer to engulf the bait. If you’re fishing a spinnerbait, topwater plug or crankbait, you’ll probably miss fewer strikes with monofilament.
Fluorocarbon lines are made from polyvinylidene fluoride, a polymer that is heavier and clearer than nylon, and when formed into a fishing line, practically disappears underwater, a considerable advantage when you’re fishing for temperamental fish in clear water.
The line’s high density makes it more sensitive than most nylon monofilaments, so you feel strikes better. Its lower stretch also improves hooksetting power.
Consider using fluorocarbon anytime you’re fishing a sinking bait, like a jig, or a Texas-, split-shot or drop-shot rig. Same goes for an unweighted, slow-sinking lure like a soft jerkbait.
Because fluorocarbon sinks, it has less bow beneath the surface. This gives you more solid contact with the lure and often makes for a better presentation. For example, when you fish a suspending jerkbait on fluorocarbon line, the lure is less inclined to rise during a pause in the retrieve.
Fluorocarbon’s low visibility also lets you use a heavier line in clear water.
I don’t go beyond 8-pound fluorocarbon when I’m fishing a light bait, such as a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jig, on spinning tackle because it’s stiffer than nylon mono and anything heavier tends to jump off the spool of a spinning reel.
Braided And Fused Superline
Nothing equals a no-stretch superline for sensitivity, hooksetting power and small diameter. And while they cost more than a nylon monofilament and most fluorocarbon lines, they performs flawlessly so much longer that it’s really cheaper in the long run. And, when you finally do wear out one end of the line, simply reverse it on the reel and fish the unused end. It will be just as limp as the day you spooled it up.
There are braided superline, and those such as FireLine that feature fibers that are fused together lengthwise. Berkley claims this makes for a rounder line that has more body. Some anglers prefer the way a fused line casts; others favor the limpness of a braid.
Use a superline for any fishing situation that requires maximum hooksetting power on big fish like trophy-class catfish, stripers or muskies. Or, anytime you want minimum line stretch for ultimate sensitivity when you need to feel the bottom, or light bites in deep water.
It’s also a good choice when throwing topwaters or other lures to which you impart action with the rod. Because the line stretches very little, it doesn’t absorb the energy from your rodtip.
When it comes to choosing a fishing line, think of them as tools, each with a specific purpose. Then, learn to capitalize on their strengths.
New Fishing Lines
Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon
Lucky Craft Iron Athlete NL
SpiderWire Ultracast Invisi-Braid
These manageable monos cast well, and they have low memory and moderate to high stretch. They’re ideal for throwing spinnerbaits, topwaters and crankbaits in open water.
Silver Thread AN40
Triple Fish X-Rated
Berkley Trilene XL
Stren Super Knot
These lines offer high abrasion resistance and outstanding shock strength, and they’re designed for flipping and pitching into heavy cover.
Cajun Red Advantage
Silver Thread Excalibur
Stren Dura Tuf
Berkley Trilene Maxx
Berkley Trilene XT
Fluoro sinks, stretches little, doesn’t absorb moisture and virtually disappears underwater. Fish it in clear water, or use it as leader material when fishing superlines.
Silver Thread Fluorocarbon
Berkley Vanish Transition
These space-age lines have no stretch, long life, high strength, low diameter, high sensitivity, little memory and awesome hooksetting power. Use them for topwaters, Carolina rigging, trolling cranks, and when targeting big, hard-jawed predators like muskies.
Rapala Titanium Stretch Braid
Sufix Performance Braid
Shakespeare Ugly Braid