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Fishing line may not be the most glamorous aspect of your fishing set up, but as the connection between you and your lure, it’s undeniably one of the most important. When choosing your line, there are several factors to consider, including breaking strength, abrasion resistance, visibility and stretch. The options are endless, and the right choice depends completely on what kind of fishing you’re interested in. In this article, we look at some of the best lines available in different categories, ranging from traditional monofilament lines to all-purpose braid and high-tech fluorocarbon.
Our Top Picks
Best Monofilament: Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament Custom Spool
Monofilament is a classic line choice offering good abrasion resistance and high knot strength at an affordable price. Berkeley Trilene Big Game Monofilament is a popular pick from a respected brand and is available in 10- to 60-pound test strengths. Designed for use in fresh or saltwater, it comes into its own when targeting larger gamefish species, thanks to a controlled stretch design that provides added fighting power.
The line’s supple nature allows you to tie strong knots, making it unlikely that your lures or bait will pull loose under pressure. Similarly, the line boasts impressive abrasion resistance, allowing it to come into contact with rough surfaces (such as rock or coral) without snapping up. Reviewers report only one major downside, and that’s the line’s tendency to retain spool memory - a common problem with monofilament line, and one that can affect casting distance and increase tangles. Available colors include clear, coastal brown and steel blue.
Best Copolymer: Sufix Tritanium Plus Fishing Line
Similar in look and feel to standard monofilament lines, copolymer lines combine a blend of different nylon strands to give greater abrasion resistance and reduced line memory. They also provide more elasticity and usually sink better, making them a good choice for bottom fishing. Enter the Sufix Tritanium Plus Fishing Line, which uses an advanced copolymer that has been specially formulated for maximum durability.
The latter is also helped by anti-friction agents that serve to improve casting as well, making this line the perfect choice for surfcasting or flipping and pitching into dense cover. For many reviewers, the best thing about this Sufix copolymer is its lack of line memory. Unlike its monofilament cousins, this line stays straight and manageable, helping to reduce the likelihood of snarls and tangles. It also boasts enviable knot strength and is available in several pound tests and colors. Choose clear, chartreuse or dark green.
Best Fluorocarbon: Seaguar Invizx Fluorocarbon 200 Yards Fishing Line
Fluorocarbon line is valued for its ability to refract light, making it virtually invisible underwater. It also repels chemicals and ultraviolet light, thereby increasing its durability. Although fluorocarbon line is traditionally used as a leader, Seaguar’s Invizx Fluorocarbon is intended for use as the main line for freshwater anglers. It’s 40 percent softer than the leading competition, with a low line memory and a supple feel that makes it easy to cast.
Its small diameter to pound test helps ensure strong, reliable knots, while its superior sensitivity means that you can expect to feel every bite. When you do strike, the line’s hook-setting power comes into play. High abrasion resistance gives you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your line is unlikely to snap if reeled over rough surfaces. Fluorocarbon line is heavier than monofilament and sinks faster - something to consider when pairing it with your chosen lure or bait.
Best Braid: PowerPro Spectra Fiber Braided Fishing Line
Crafted from plaited microfibers, braided line is both exceptionally strong and thin - allowing you to fit more on the spool at a given pound test than the microfilament equivalent. It casts further, sinks faster and has zero line memory. The PowerPro Spectra Fiber Braided Fishing Line is a popular choice, and unlike microfilament, it doesn’t break down with exposure to sunlight and lasts forever on the spool.
PowerPro’s Enhanced Body Technology helps to improve the line’s smoothness and sensitivity. Designed to be a general purpose workhorse, it is relatively affordable compared to other brands of braid; while reviewers report few problems with knot slippage (usually a common issue with this type of line). Available in a wide range of pound tests, colors include vermilion red, moss green and hi-vis yellow.
Best Floating Fly Line: Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Ultimate Trout Fly Line
Floating fly line is considered the most versatile type of fly line and is used for fishing near the surface of streams, rivers and lakes. The Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Ultimate Trout Fly Line is specially designed for dry flies, nymphs and small streamers, and features a unique textured surface. The increased surface area allows the line to sit higher in the water, resulting in less drag, easier mending and easier pick-ups.
Microscopic balloons trap air to enhance the line’s flotation, while the brand’s patented Dry Slick AST formula helps it to shed dirt and cast farther than ever before. Additionally, three color bands (green/willow/dark willow or ivory/optic green/willow) help you to know exactly how much line you have out on the water.
Best Sinking Fly Line: Scientific Anglers WetCel Type IV Sinking Line
Used for targeting deeper-dwelling species, sinking fly lines come in an astounding variety of different sink rates and designs. The Scientific Anglers WetCel Type IV line is a general purpose weight-forward sinking line with a braided multifilament core and a quick sink rate of four to five inches per second. It’s a no-frills option meant as an affordable choice suited to several different fishing scenarios.
In particular, it’s ideal for targeting bass, trout and panfish with nymphs and streamers in deeper lakes. It is supple and easy to cast in medium to cold conditions. The line comes in charcoal only, but there are several different line weights to choose from according to the rating of your fly rod and reel.
Best Backing Line: RIO Dacron Fly Line Backing
When fly fishing, a backing line is secured directly to the arbor of the fly reel on one end, and to the back end of the fly line on the other. Because it is thinner than fly line, more of it can be packed onto the spool, giving anglers the extra room needed to play larger fish. RIO’s Dacron Fly Line Backing is low stretch and exceptionally strong. It offers the perfect compromise between thinness and the ability to make blind splice loops (a seamlessly strong method of connecting the backing and the fly line that isn’t possible if the weave of the backing is too tight). Choose orange, white or chartreuse.
Best Wire Leader: American Fishing Wire Tooth Proof Stainless Steel Leader
If you’re fishing for species with teeth sharp enough to cut through regular monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders, you may need to use a wire leader. American Fishing Wire’s Tooth Proof Stainless Steel Leader is corrosion-resistant, making it suitable for use in fresh or saltwater. The stainless steel alloy is hard, not brittle, and provides just the right combination of flexibility and strength. Best of all, the leader is torsion straightened in order to prevent it from kinking in the water. There are two color options: bright and camo brown (perfect for situations where minimal flash is a requirement).