How to Choose the Best Fishing Line

Choosing the right fishing line can be a somewhat confusing and frustrating task. If you walk into any tackle shop, sporting-goods store, or even your local Wal-Mart, you are going to be confronted with a variety of different types of fishing line. This mini-guide will cover the basics of the most common types of fishing line and provide you with a few tips to help you make the best choice.

 Types of Fishing Lines

Monofilament-“Mono” lines, like Berkley Trilene XL, are relatively less expensive than other types of line, making them a very popular choice for many anglers. Mono lines stretch more than other types of line, which can be a good thing, but mono lines are also more susceptible to abrasion and memory. You can catch plenty of fish using monofilament line, but you will likely need to change your line more often.
Fluorocarbon-Fluorocarbon line is a bit more expensive than monofilament line, but it has many benefits. Fluorocarbon line sinks, so if you are fishing in deeper waters it’s a great choice. Fluorocarbon line is also clear, making it a great choice for anglers fishing in clearer waters.
Braided-Braided lines, like Berkley Original Fireline or Spiderwire, are another choice for anglers. These lines are generally much stronger than other types of line, and they are less susceptible to damage or memory. Braided lines float, which can be a good thing depending on your fishing situation.  However, braided lines are much more visible, so they are not really the best choice if you are fishing in clear water.

Which Line Should I Buy?


The type of line that you should buy really depends on your particular situation. With that said, here are a few tips to remember.

-If you are fishing for small to medium sized trout or panfish like crappie, bluegill, etc., then go with a 2-6 lb. fluorocarbon line like Berkley Vanish. You want to make sure you have a light line so you can cast small lures, but you also want to make sure your line is less visible in the water.

-If you are topwater fishing for bass or other types of fish, go with a 6-12 lb. braided line, but use a heavier fluorocarbon leader. The braided line will float and stay on the water, but the fluorocarbon line will not be as visible to the fish, and it will also provide the strength needed to withstand the strong strikes associated with topwater lures.

-If you are fishing for bass or other types of fish in heavy cover like lily pads or other vegetation, go with the setup above. Since you are fishing in heavy cover, you want to make sure you have a strong line in case you get snagged, but you don’t want to your line to be visible to the fish.

-If you are fishing for big catfish, go with a 20-30 lb. mono line, like Berkley Trilene XT, and use a 40-50 mono leader. Catfish put up quite a fight, so you want to make sure you have a strong, yet flexible line to help you bring in the fish. Catfish tend to feed primarily by scent, so visibility is not a major issue in this situation.

This does not cover all types of fishing situations, but it should give you a general idea of what type of line you need to buy. Just remember-choose a line that suits your particular needs, and make sure you choose a line that is correctly matched to the rod with which you plan to fish.