How to Choose Fishing Line: A Guide

Fishing lines connect the lure or bait to the rod and reel. It’s the part that presents the lure or the bait to the fish, and that’s why it has to be efficient and reliable.

If you’re looking for fishing line to go on your next fishing trip, here are the things that you have to pay attention to:

Types: Monofilament vs. Thermal Filament vs. Braided

There are three types of fishing lines: monofilament, thermal filament, and braided line.

Monofilament line is extruded in a single continuous filament and doesn’t twist. It’s clear and smooth with a relatively high degree of stretching. It's available in several colors that improve visibility above the water but keeps it invisible to fish.

Thermal filament, on the other hand, has a small diameter per pound test than monofilament and is a high-performance line. It’s made from a group of small fibers bonded together thermally.

Finally, braided lines are thicker and more common when fishing for larger species such as large blue and yellowfin tuna offshore.


Each type of line comes with specific characteristics that set it apart from the rest. And the characteristics you should look for depend on the kind of fishing you’ll do and the species of fish you’re after.

Line Strength

How strong the fishing line is referred to as “test” and is measured in pounds. It should be around the same weight as the species you're fishing for. 

So if you’re fishing for 30-pound tuna fish, go for a 30-pound test line.

But then again, you shouldn’t get heavy gear in hopes you’ll catch heavier fish, as this would cause wrist strain and fatigue.

If you’re a very zesty angler capable of putting up longer fights.

For clarification, 2-4 pounds would be suitable for fishing for trout and small native fish.

6-10 pounds would be ideal for bream, flathead, salmon, and larger native fish.

Moreover, 12-20 pounds is suitable for small tuna, kingfish, salmon, and snapper.

Finally, for marlin, large tuna, sharks, and large kingfish, use a 30-130 pound line.


Smooth and light lines come off the spool easier, which makes it easier to cast more accurately over longer distances.

That’s why it’s the best for active styles of fishing that require frequent casting.

Line Stretch

It’s better if you get a line with less stretch as it’s more sensitive and consequently makes you feel the fish tugging on your bait once it gets caught.

However, sometimes, some line stretch is necessary. For example, when you're trolling, it acts as a shock absorber and makes the difference between setting the hook in a soft-mouthed fish like salmon or ripping it out.

Line Memory

When it comes to fishing line, less memory is better.

Line memory refers to the line’s ability to maintain its shape after deformation. And a line with lots of memory retains the loops and shapes that developed when it’s wound up on a spool.

On the other hand, a line with no memory remains straight when it comes off of the spool. This causes less friction on guides and reels and consequently smoother and more extended casts.

Fibers of Fishing Line: Nylon, Dacron, Spectra, Dyneema

Nylon is the oldest and most popular of the synthetic fibers used for fishing line. It's made from linear polyamides and combines strength, stretch, and abrasion-resistance.

Dacron is made from a long-chain polyester and represents an upgrade from nylon as it’s superior in terms of strength, flexibility, and has lower stretch.

Both Spectra and Dyneema are modern brand names for ultra-strong polyethylene fiber that is used in high-tech fishing line.

They’re as strong as steel, more durable than polyester, and float because they’re so light.

If you’re looking for higher tensile strength at smaller diameters to reduce the weight of the tackle and maximize the amount of line on the spool.

They’re both resistant to abrasion, so you won’t lose your bait or lure when you’re fishing near the bottom or near obstacles.

Final Thoughts

You must match the line's test with the average weight of the targeted species, make sure that it can absorb shocks, and has enough strength in the knot areas.

Once you’ve got all that covered, you’re ready to enjoy a smooth fishing experience. 

Justin Anderson

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