Fishing line is probably the most boring piece of fishing gear, but it’s one of the most important. Unfortunately when you walk into the store to buy fishing line you’re faced with so many options, often packaged in marketing lingo that requires a sales guy to interpret. We’ve outlined some key points to remember to make your purchase a little easier. Anglers can choose from four basic types of fishing line: standard monofilament, fluorocarbon, superline, or trolling line.
- Applications: Great for beginner anglers because it’s good for casting and knot-tying. Use it for bass, walleye and other hard-hitting gamefish that can be caught in relatively open water, without a lot of structure that might result in line-abrasion.
- Brand Options: Bass Pro Shops Excel, Ande Premium, Trilene XL, Trilene XT, Cabela’s ProLine
- Pros: Easy to cut, available in many colors.
- Cons: High spool memory, stretches more than other types of fishing line and doesn’t resist abrasion as well.
- Applications: Good for trolling or casting. Allows for a more delicate presentation than monofilament, which makes it a little more accurate for casting. Perfect for trout or any fish with good vision and a subtle bite.
- Brand Options: Berkley Vanish, Gamma Edge, Seaguar CarbonPro, P-Line
- Pros: Practically invisible, doesn’t stretch much so it’s sensitive, resistant to abrasion, sinks fast and has minimal spool memory.
- Cons: More expensive than monofilament.
- Applications: Superlines are pretty high-tech because they’re made by braiding or fusing multiple strands of microfilament together to form a strong but supple line. Use this line when you need to set the hook quick; the sensitivity with instantly relay the fish’s strike to your hands and there’s virtually no stretch. It’s great for fishing heavy cover where you’re likely to get snagged or experience a lot of line abrasion.
- Brand Options: Berkley Fireline, P-Line Spectrex, Stren Super Braid, SpiderWire Braid, PowerPro Micro Filament
- Pros: Great knot strength, lasts multiple seasons, minimal spool memory.
- Cons: You must use specific knots required for braided line. It’s also among the most expensive type of fishing line.
- Applications: Before the advent of the superlines, most braided fishing line was created specifically for trolling, and it’s still the choice for most anglers who prefer that method. This line is often spooled using colors that change every ten yards so you can estimate how much line you’ve let out without having to use a line counter. Some varieties even come with a lead core for getting your presentation down deep, as when targeting walleye, salmon, or deep saltwater species.
- Brand Options: Magibraid, PowerPro Braided Spectra, Spiderwire Stealth Braided Fishing Line, Bass Pro Shops Premium Excel.
- Pros: With the right knot, you should never loose a well-hooked fish. Lets you target fish at specific depths.
- Cons: Doesn’t cast very well, so save this line for your trolling setup.
When you buy a new spool of fishing line, a good idea is to write the date on the spool or, if empty, write the date somewhere else so you can keep track of how long you’ve been using it. Line, especially good old-fashioned monofilament, can be severely degraded over time by things like exposure to UV light, or even gasoline fumes. You don’t want to be reminded by a ten-pound bass (the hard way) that you’ve been using the same line for five years. No one wants to spend their time on the lake re-spooling line, but you’d better always carry a fresh spool in your tackle box, just in case you have to.