Fishing lines are one of the most overlooked pieces of fishing gear. But as what literally connects you to the fish and helps reel in your catch, fishing lines are certainly one of the most important items you use while fishing. There are many different kinds of fishing line available on the market today. When choosing a line, you must consider the kind of fish you are looking to catch and where you're fishing.
But before we take a closer look at the types of fishing line, you should know that they differ in terms of some key factors: stretch, memory, abrasion resistance, buoyancy, and visibility. Stretch is the amount of elongation that a fishing line will withstand before breaking. Memory refers to how easily the line can be stretched and then return to its original length when released. Abrasion resistance is the ability of a fishing line to resist damage from contact with rocks and other hard surfaces. Buoyancy is the line’s ability to float on water. Visibility refers to how much the line contrasts or blends into the color of the water and is thus detectable by fish.
The three basic kinds of fishing line are: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs and preferences. There are instances when you’ll need a line with more stretch, more visibility, or more abrasion resistance, and so on.
Most beginners start with monofilament line, or "mono," for short. "Monofilament" refers to the fact that it consists of only one strand, often of nylon or a mix of plastics. This type of fishing line has been around for decades and can be found in most tackle shops or online retailers. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Smooth, strong, and with somewhat good abrasion resistance, mono is quite versatile. It can be used for a variety of fishing techniques, can handle the most common fishing knots, and comes in a variety of thicknesses and colors. Mono is good if you’re targeting fish like trout or salmon, which aren't too big or heavy.
Where mono doesn’t perform its best is deep water fishing. Mono has high buoyancy and a tendency to absorb lots of water. This makes it hard to use with bottom baits or lures, which can come undone at depth. Also, if you are involved in a long, extended fight with a big fish, mono can get stretched out. Another downside is that it breaks down with exposure to sunlight or heat.
Fluorocarbon line is excellent if you’re targeting large and powerful fish that live in deep waters. It’s especially strong and durable, while also being fairly sensitive. It doesn’t break down when exposed to light and heat, and has good resistance when used in rocky areas. Compared to mono, it sinks, has less visibility, and doesn’t absorb water. But it’s also a lot more expensive and can run you as much as twice the cost of a mono line.
Braided fishing line is made of a bunch of lines braided together. It holds fishing knots well, has zero stretch, provides high sensitivity, and is extremely durable. If you’re fishing offshore and targeting kingfish, large tuna, marlin, or even sharks, a braided line is your best bet. It may be quite tough to make fishing knots on braided lines, as the material can be quite slippery.
Mono, fluorocarbon, and braided are just three of the most common types of fishing line on the market. But specialty fishing lines are also available, if you’re looking for something more specific, such as fishing lines made of stainless steel, titanium, or even biodegradable line.
As a final note, please make sure to dispose of used fishing line properly. Used fishing lines, when carelessly and irresponsibly tossed into the water, can get tangled up around fish and other sea creatures. Whenever possible, consider recycling, and finally, check out this article for some ways to be a more responsible angler.
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