A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Fishing Lines

A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Fishing Lines

For fishermen of all skill levels, fishing isn’t just a hobby – it’s a way of life. The connection between the fisherman and his catch, that thing that makes the sport worth-while isn’t going to be the fishing rod or the bait (although they do play a big role), it’s going to be the fishing lines.

Long before nylon fishing lines, Ancient Egyptian anglers would use lines made from fibers of flax or linen and Chinese fishermen from the fourth century used silk for their lines. 15th century English anglers would use braided horsehair, but that would be replaced by silk in 1908.

The first man-made fishing line was made in the 1950s and was made from Dacron, or polyester. In 1954, Du Pont invented braided nylon fishing lines, which was improved to make the monofilament lines anglers use today.

Types Of Fishing Line

Today, we’re going to talk about the different types of fishing line, how they differ, and the best application for each.

Monofilament (Stretch) Line

Monofilament (Stretch) Line

Monofilament fishing line is the most favorable type of line used by anglers. The monofilament fishing line only consists of one strand of line, therefore making it incredibly lightweight. The line is made by heating a blend of polymers and then extruding them though very small holes to create fine strands of line. Then the line is rapidly cooled and wound onto a spool.

The monofilament line is an inexpensive, versatile fishing line that is suitable for anglers who are new to fishing because:

  • The line has excellent buoyancy to prevent the line from sinking
  • It has supreme knot strength makes it easy to tie tight knots that can handle stress
  • It can stretch without breaking
  • It’s inexpensive
  • Anglers can cast the line easily thanks to its flexibility
  • The line is translucent, making it harder for fish to detect it

Fluorocarbon (Low Stretch) Line

Fluorocarbon (Low Stretch) Line

This type of fishing line is still relatively new on the market, but it is quickly gaining popularity among anglers. This polymer line is almost invisible in water, making it extremely hard for fish to see – even the most observant ones.

Originally the fluorocarbon line was stiff and expensive, but thanks to it’s rise in popularity, global manufacturers are starting to make lines that are more flexible and affordable. When you’re casting into deep water, the fluorocarbon line can help you be more successful because the lures are able to sink faster no matter what the water condition is.

Other reasons why anglers like fluorocarbon include:

  • It isn’t easily broken even when rubbed against rough surfaces as you’re reeling a fish
  • It’s denser than water and doesn’t absorb water, preventing stretching or weakening
  • It’s heavier so it’ll sink faster allowing you to fish in deeper waters
  • It has less memory than monofilament lines

Braided (No Stretch) Line

Braided (No Stretch) Line

Braided fishing lines are almost as old as monofilament lines. This type of fishing line is made by braiding several lines together to form one line that has superior strength over its counterparts. Since the line doesn’t have any stretch properties, the lures sink faster, deeper, and provides anglers with positive hook sets.

The downside to braided line is that it is going to be taut when you catch a fish. Should that taut line rub against something abrasive like a rock, your line could break and your catch could be lost. You can get around this by using a braided line that features 2 to 6 feet of fluorocarbon leader. That leader is what you’ll attach your terminal tack and lure.

When To Use What Type Of Fishing Line

If you’re an angler who loves to fish a variety of fish, you’re not going to want to use any one type of line. You’ll want to consider what kind of fish you’re going after, what type of tackle you’ll be using, and what kind of water you’ll be fishing in.

Here’s a quick guide that’ll help you determine which line you should be using.









Spinning, casting

Trout, small native fish




Spinning, casting

Bream, flathead, salmon, larger native fish



Near shore

Trolling, casting, bottom-fishing

Small tuna, salmon, kingfish, snapper





Marlin, large tuna, sharks, large kingfish

(credit: https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvisor/Selecting-Fishing-Line)

Pro Tip:

If you want a top-notch line set up, use a leader. A leader is a short length of line that’s attached to one end of the main fishing line and the other end is for the hook and lure. Keep in mind that if you’re going to use a leader, you’re going to want to know how to tie two fishing lines together so that a prize catch doesn’t get away and takes your lures with it!

Line On Rod

Keep in mind that whenever you’re tying a knot into your line, you should expect that your line (even fresh out of the package) will only provide you with at least 80% of it’s rated pound test once you’ve attached the lure and hook.


Trying to choose the right fishing line for your tackle box isn’t all about finding whatever is on sale. You have to think about what kind of fish you’ll be going after, but also the water type and your tackle. With these things in mind, you’ll have an easier go at find fishing lines that’ll help you become a better angler.

In the comments below, we want to know what are your favorite fishing lines that you like to use on a regular basis.

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