Last updated: August 24, 2021

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Fishing enjoys great popularity. Each species of fish, each body of water and each fishing method places different demands on the fishing line. Therefore, it is essential to get an overview of the many types of products. This way you can be sure that you make the right choice for your area of use. Whether it's shore fishing, bottom fishing or float fishing - with the right fishing line you increase your chances of a great catch.

According to the number of types of anglers, there are also countless variants of fishing lines. To help you get an overview of what's on offer, we explain the most important buying criteria and answer frequently asked questions in this guide. The list of advantages and disadvantages of the two most common types of fishing line, monofilament and braided, should make your choice easier. In our fishing line test 2021 we tested various product types and share our four recommendations here.




Summary

  • In addition to the right fishing reel, rod and, depending on the fishing method, bait, the choice of a suitable fishing line is crucial for a successful fishing experience. Which line is right for you depends entirely on the area of use, the fishing method and the target fish.
  • There are two main types of fishing line: monofilament and braided (polyfile), whereby braided fishing line consists of several fibres and is generally stronger. Monofilament lines, on the other hand, are particularly abrasion-resistant and are especially recommended for novice anglers, as they have a stretch and are therefore more forgiving of drilling mistakes.
  • The breaking strain is one of the most important buying criteria and depends on the diameter, the material and the condition of the line. In general, the following principle should be considered when making a purchase decision: The line should always be as strong as necessary and as thin as possible.

The Best Fishing Line: Our Picks

Criteria for buying and evaluating fishing line

With the help of our explanations in the next sections, you will get an overview of the various criteria to consider when buying a fishing line. When choosing your fishing line, your personal area of use plays a decisive role. The target fish and the fishing method for which your fishing line will be used are decisive.

Depending on the area of use, it should have different properties. Once you are clear about these points, you can compare different fishing lines using the criteria below.

The individual buying criteria are explained in more detail below.

Load capacity

The following principle applies to the strength of a fishing line: the thicker the fishing line, the higher its carrying capacity. A wider diameter therefore results in a higher carrying capacity. The carrying capacity is usually given in kg or in lbs (pounds). However, as manufacturers often use different methods to measure the diameter, these figures are difficult to compare with each other. Therefore, we advise you to orientate yourself on the specifications of the load-bearing capacity.

The breaking strain of a fishing line depends on the diameter, the material and the texture.

However, the strength of a fishing line is not only determined by its diameter. It also depends on the material used and the texture. Braided lines, for example, have a greater load-bearing capacity for the same diameter than monofilament fishing lines due to their braiding. For example, a 0.2 mm wide monofilament fishing line has a maximum load-bearing capacity of about 4 kg, whereas an 8-plait line with the same diameter has a maximum load-bearing capacity of 13 kg. The effects of thicker lines should not be neglected.

With increasing line thickness, the visibility of the fishing line also increases, which can deter fish. In addition, the possible casting distance decreases as the line offers more resistance. The thinner the line, the further you can cast it.

For these reasons, we recommend the following principle: fishing line should always be as strong as necessary and as thin as possible at the same time.

As with all fishing line properties, the load capacity must also match the target fish and the conditions at the fishing spot. For example, you will certainly need a thicker line for pike than for trout.

Abrasion resistance

Abrasion resistance describes whether a line will rub off quickly and become rough when fishing on stony ground. An abrasion-resistant line is less sensitive to mechanical damage and therefore more durable and requires less replacement. Monofilament fishing lines are more abrasion-resistant than braided ones.

The decisive factor for abrasion resistance is the material and the way the line is made. Monofilament fishing lines have a better abrasion resistance than polyfiles, as the latter consist of several threads that can break quickly in the event of friction.

With braided fishing line, the abrasion resistance depends on the material of the threads, so if you are fishing on sharp-edged mussel beds or on stony ground, monofilament lines are the best choice.

Colour

Besides the popular transparent fishing lines, there are lines in various colours. Which colour is best depends on the area of use and personal preferences. Basically, the line colour can serve two different purposes: as a camouflage effect or for better visibility for the angler.

To avoid scaring off fish, the fishing line should be as inconspicuous as possible. The majority of anglers therefore use the classic transparent lines. However, some anglers swear by the targeted use of coloured lines to achieve an even better camouflage effect.

The line colour is used for camouflage or for better visibility.

Light colours are suitable for fishing on the water surface, while dark colours such as dark green or brown are used for fishing on the bottom of a body of water. However, visible coloured lines are advantageous for some fishing methods. In spin fishing, a brightly coloured line - yellow, green, white, red or even pink - increases visibility for the angler and helps him to indicate the bite and guide the lure. In addition to these various single-colour versions, there are also multi-coloured fishing lines. These are particularly suitable for sea angling. Because the colour changes at certain intervals, the fisherman always knows how deep the lure has sunk.

Elongation

Monofilament fishing lines have an elongation of 15-35%, braided lines 1-8%. This means that they stretch or become longer under strain. This property can be seen as an advantage or disadvantage depending on the area of use and experience, as it has some consequences. The stretch affects the following conditions:

  • Bite detection: Fishing lines with stretch have much less contact with the fish, which makes bite detection more difficult. Low-stretch braided lines, on the other hand, allow the smallest tugs to be transmitted directly to the wrist via the fishing rod. This means that the angler recognises immediately when a fish is biting. This is a great advantage, especially when fishing at longer distances. Those who fish more at a distance are better off with a low-stretch fishing line.
  • Fish hooks: Due to the stretching of the fishing line, it is somewhat more difficult to allow the hook to penetrate sufficiently into the fish's mouth. However, with low-stretch lines this is achieved faster and deeper.
  • Drill factor: Due to their stretch, monofilament lines are more forgiving of drill errors and are therefore particularly suitable for novice anglers. In the event of incorrect settings, e.g. of the reel brake, the stretch serves as an additional spring and thus prevents line breakage or fish loss.

In terms of bite detection and hooking the fish, low stretch lines are advantageous. Regarding the drill factor, the angler's experience is also decisive. A fishing line with stretch is recommended for a beginner angler. If you are already good at fishing and know how to react to escapes in a drill, low-stretch fishing lines are the better choice.

Decision: What types of fishing line are there and which is the right one for me?

The majority of fishing lines are monofilament or braided. The main difference between the two types of product lies in their texture. Both types of line have their advantages and disadvantages, which make them optimal for some fishing techniques and target fish and less suitable for others.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Monofilament fishing line High abrasion resistance, less expensive, elongation forgives drill mistakes Elongation makes bite detection more difficult, less contact with the fish, less UV-resistant
Braided fishing line Higher carrying capacity with the same diameter, hardly any elongation allows direct contact with the fish, high bite detection, UV-resistant Poor abrasion resistance, more expensive, poorer knot strength

The advantages and disadvantages of the two types of product are explained in more detail in the following sections. The explanations should make your purchase decision easier.

Monofilament Fishing Line

Monofilament fishing line

Monofilament line consists of a single strand, mainly nylon. Due to the simpler production, monofilament fishing lines are cheaper than polyfile lines. Besides the price, the high abrasion resistance is also a great advantage of monofilament line. Since it consists of only one thread, it is less susceptible to mechanical damage. Monofilament fishing lines are therefore also suitable for fishing on stony ground. Compared to polyfilament fishing line, monofilament is considered less UV-resistant. It is more sensitive to UV rays, which means it needs to be replaced more regularly.

Advantages
  • Less expensive
  • High abrasion resistance
  • Elongation forgives drilling mistakes
Disadvantages
  • Elongation makes bite detection more difficult
  • Less contact with the fish
  • Less UV-resistant

In contrast to braided line, monofilament line has a high elongation of about 18 – 30 %. This elasticity cushions the fish’s movements and also forgives small errors in the brake settings. This is why monofilament line is particularly suitable for beginners.

However, some fishermen lack direct contact with the fish, which is considerably reduced by the stretch. This is accompanied by more difficult bite detection, which is another disadvantage of monofilament fishing line.

Braided Fishing Line

Braided fishing line

Unlike monofilament line, braided line consists of several strands, which is why they are often called multifilament or polyfilament fishing lines. These individual fibres, usually made of Dyneema or Spectra, are tightly braided together using a special process. Due to this braiding process, polyfile fishing lines shine with a much higher carrying capacity than monofilament lines of the same diameter. The high carrying capacity is the biggest advantage of a braided line.

Braided fishing lines have a higher carrying capacity than monofilament lines.

The quality of braided lines depends on the number of strands used and how tightly they are braided. If a line consists of 8 strands, it is called an 8-plait line. The more strands braided, the rounder, stronger and smoother the surface of the line at the end. A smooth and round surface is considered a sign of high quality. This is reflected in the performance and the casting performance of the braided lines.

For example, 8-plait lines cast better than 4-plait lines. Braided fishing lines are low-stretch. This characteristic allows the fisherman to have direct contact with the fish and increased bite detection. For these reasons, they are especially popular with experienced fishermen. In addition, compared to monofilament lines, polyfile lines are less sensitive to UV rays and therefore last longer.

Advantages
  • Higher carrying capacity with the same diameter
  • Hardly any stretch allows direct contact with the fish
  • High bite detection
  • UV-resistant
Disadvantages
  • Poor abrasion resistance
  • More expensive
  • Poorer knot strength

One disadvantage of polyfilament fishing lines is their poorer abrasion resistance. Because they are made up of multiple threads, they are more susceptible to damage. If one thread is damaged, the load-bearing capacity suffers, which can lead to line breakage under increased load.

Another negative point is the lower knot strength, which is why many anglers have to acquire new knot knowledge. The manufacturing process of multifilament lines is significantly more complex, which is also reflected in the price. Braided fishing lines are much more expensive than monofilament lines.

Some manufacturers have discovered that the advantages of both types of line can be combined. There are now also hybrid fishing lines on the market, which consist of a braided fishing line with a monofilament cover.

Shopping Guide

Are you about to buy a new fishing line and still have unanswered questions? In our guide to fishing line, we have selected the most important and frequently asked questions from customers and answered them clearly. The explanations are intended to help you clarify your questions and find the right fishing line for you.

Which fishing line is suitable for which type of fish?

The following tables give you an overview of which fishing line and carrying capacity is suitable for which fish. For predatory fish, the use of braided fishing lines is generally recommended, whereas monofilament lines are mostly used for peace fishing.

Target fish monofilament line braided line
Eel Ø: 0.30 mm Colour: brown Ø: 0.15 - 0.20 mm
Perch Ø: 0.18 - 0.25 mm Ø: 0.10 - 0.15 mm
Cod Ø: 0.22 - 0.50 mm Ø: 0.12 - 0.18 mm
Trout Ø: 0.20-0.30 mm Colour: clear, light blue Ø: 0.10 - 0.15 mm
Pike Ø: 0.30-0.40 mm, 7-11 kg Colour: blue, grey, green Ø: 0.18-0.20 mm
Herring Ø: 0.25-0.30 mm Ø: 0.10-0.14 mm
Carp Ø: 0.25-0.35 mm, 5-10 kg Colour: brown, camouflage, olive not common
Mackerel Ø: 0.30-0.50 mm not common
Plaice Ø: 0.25-0.35 mm not common
Catfish not suitable Ø: 0.40 mm Colour: brown or transparent
Whitefish (e.g. bream, magpie, or roach) Ø: 0.14-0.18 mm not usual
Catfish Ø: 0.45-0.60 mm Ø: 0.30-0.50 mm
Pikeperch Ø: 0.25-0.30 mm Ø: 0.10-0.20 mm

Depending on the fishing method, these guide values may vary somewhat. For spin fishing, the first number is more suitable, while for bottom fishing it is better to use the wider line.

Angelschnur-1

Fishing at a mountain lake makes different demands on the fishing line than in other waters.
(Image source: Robson Hatsukami Morgan / Unsplash)

The lines for float fishing are in between.

Which fishing line do I need for which fishing method?

Depending on the fishing method, you will need a different fishing line. The table below gives you an overview of the most common fishing methods and which fishing line is used for each.

Fishing method monofilament line braided line
Surf fishing Ø: from 0.30 mm plus striking line Ø: 0.12-0.20 mm plus striking line
Feeder fishing Ø: 0.20-0.25 mm plus striking line Ø: 0.08-0.12 mm plus striking line
Bottom fishing Ø: 0.20-0.40 mm Ø: 0.10-0.20 mm
Spin fishing Ø: 0.18-0.22 mm Ø: 0.10-0.50 mm
Deep sea fishing not suitable Ø: 0.15 - 0.18 mm Colour: yellow or red
float fishing Ø: 0.20-40 mm not usual
trolling Ø: 0.40 mm not suitable

The specifications in the table are again approximate values. The necessary carrying capacity depends on the target fish. Therefore, the first number applies to smaller peaceful fish and the second number to predatory fish. For example, a fishing line of 0.10 mm is sufficient for a perch, but for a pike you need a diameter of 0.50 mm.

What are the alternatives to fishing line?

Two alternatives to monofilament or polyfilament fishing line are presented below:

  • Fluorocarbon line: A possible alternative is fishing line made of fluorocarbon. It is very similar to monofilament fishing line and is becoming increasingly popular among anglers. Before fluorocarbon line was used as a main line, it was only used as a leader in predator fishing for a long time. Its advantages are that it has a weaker elongation, a higher abrasion resistance and UV resistance. This makes it last considerably longer than the other two types of line. Compared to monofilament and polyfilament fishing lines, fluorocarbon lines are a lot more expensive. However, the increased price is put into perspective by the many advantages.
  • Fly line: There are specially made fly lines for fly fishing. The fly line represents its own type of line, which is available in various colours, sizes and weights. The core of the line also consists of a monofilament or braided line, but has an additional coating.Fly lines are divided into the so-called AFFTA (American Fly Fishing Trade Association) classes according to their weight. These range from class 1, the lightest, to class 15, the heaviest lines.

Fluorocarbon lines can be used for various fishing methods, whereas fly lines are used specifically for fly fishing.

How often do I need to change fishing line?

How often you need to replace a fishing line depends on the frequency, duration and type of stress the line is subjected to. Generally speaking, monofilament fishing lines are less durable than braided lines. A monofilament line loses about 30-50% of its original load-bearing capacity per fishing season. It should be replaced after 2-3 years at the latest.

Because braided lines are, among other things, insensitive to UV rays, they have a longer life than monofilament. Check your fishing line regularly for breaking strength and check if there is any damage. As soon as you notice any damage to the line, you should change it at the latest.

Image source: Baker/ 123rf.com

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