They say an artist is only ever as good as his paintbrush – we say anglers only ever as good as their line. Without the most appropriate line for your own fishing style, you simply cannot expect to improve your success rates and land that elusive catch. That’s why Angling Direct has worked tirelessly to assemble a market-leading collection of fishing line products and accessories which cover all fishing styles and all budgets across the board.
Whether you’re looking to for a carp fishing line to target personal best fish or you’re after a predator line for the finesse of lure movement, you can rest assured that we have just what you’re looking for. Remember, lines can become tired over multiple seasons, especially lines which have stretch and memory, so it’s important to change the line you use year on year to keep getting the best from your product. We also stock a range of fly lines designed with fly fishing in mind and these feature in their own dedicated category.
Our range features dozens of lines and line types from the world’s foremost authorities in the field, each of which has been personally selected and approved by our in-house expert team. Every household name makes an appearance, including Korda, X Line, Daiwa and so many more besides. The right line really can and will make all the difference in the world, and we aim to stock only the best – no matter your choice you’re getting the highest quality for value line the market can offer.
There are three main types of line, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks depending on the style of fishing you’re interested in. Here is a quick breakdown of the main strengths and weakness of each of the line types to enable you to pick the perfect line for your needs.
Monofilament is by far and away from the most popular type of fishing line across the disciplines. It also happens to be the oldest of the modern line types. It has a plethora of benefits which, in the eyes of some anglers, place it head and shoulders above the competition. However, some of these benefits can also be seen as drawbacks in other angling scenarios, so it pays to consider the style of angling you’re doing and the results you want from the line before simply plunging for the most popular.
The first benefit of monofilament line is its cost. It is an easy to manufacture line as it only uses a single strand of nylon in its construction. In its natural colouring it is translucent, so if you’re targeting fish that are easily spooked then monofilament is an excellent choice. This also means that it can be dyed easily, too, so it is available in a wide variety of colours to blend with a range of backgrounds and you can always find the perfect colouring to complement your venue of choice. What’s more, it can also be dyed vibrant and fluorescent colours, which is ideal if you’re fishing a style which requires you to watch your line carefully.
The second benefit of the monofilament line is arguably also its biggest downfall. Monofilament fishing line is stretchy and the stretchiest lines can give an additional 25% of length. This means that the line has a significant amount of giving in it, so it can absorb the shocks from aggressive takes or lunges. For this reason, monofilament line is an excellent choice for the junior or novice angler who is still getting their hand in when it comes to retrieving their catch. The stretch in the line also means that you experience a delay in your hookset, which reduce the chance of a hook pull and a lost fish. This is a forgiving feature which is as useful for beginner anglers as it is for experts. However, this stretchiness can be as much of a disadvantage as it is an advance. If you’re distance fishing then chances are that you’ll need your line to be supremely responsive – allowing you to get a clear indication of what is going on under the surface of the water.
The stretch in monofilament line means that you’ll likely not be aware of a take (or a near take) until the fish has begun to run with your bait. What’s more, if you’re fishing tight to the far margin a stretchy line can make judging your cast distance difficult and it could result in casts becoming lost in far side foliage. If it’s accurate fishing that you’re interested in, you might want to consider one of the less stretchy line types so you can be confident that your cast will land the same distance from you time after time. Monofilament line also has a high memory. This means that it will hold some semblance of the shape even after it has been removed from the reel. This isn’t always negative but it is something to consider.
Monofilament line has a large diameter to strength ratio, so if you’re looking for a super strong line for battling huge fish then this isn’t the choice for you. However, if you have a lot of spools to fill and a limited budget with which to do it, monofilament is a great choice. The increased diameter also means that this line is more buoyant than other line types, making it an excellent choice for surface fishing. As this line is not as quick sinking as other line types, it might not be such a good choice for slackline angling. The memory in the line also means that it will not lend itself to slackline fishing, as it lacks the limpness required to cling to the water bed. On the plus side, it is a very grippy line, which means that you won’t experience slip on the reel spool. This makes it a great choice for backing under less grippy line types, as not only will it bulk out the spool (so you have less to fill) but it will also prevent your line from slipping on the reel. The grip of the line also makes it an excellent knotting line and it offers superior knot strength to most other line types. This is another factor which lends the line to beginners, who might not be so confident in their knot-tying ability.
Finally, the monofilament line is also highly abrasion-resistant. This is partly why this is such as great value for money line choice, as it is unlikely to let you down and need replacing due to wear and tear. However, the major downside with monofilament is its susceptibility to UV light. It becomes seriously weakened when it is exposed to UV light for a prolonged period of time and, because of this, it is recommended to buy new monofilament line for each new year. It is also recommended that you store your line, regardless of line type, in a dark environment – in order to prevent exposure to UV light. It is also a highly absorbent line type, so its wet-to-dry properties can vary wildly, too, which is another thing to consider when you’re comparing line types and breaking strains.
As you can see, there are loads of benefits to fishing with a monofilament line as your mainline, especially if you are a novice angler or an angler on a budget. However, it is by no means the only line choice out there for you.
Fluorocarbon is one of the newer line types out there and it has grown in popularity significantly over the recent years as anglers have learnt how to get the best out of it. This line was first developed in order to give anglers a near-invisible line choice for ultimate stealth angling.
Fluorocarbon has the same refractive index as water, so it bends light like a liquid. This means that it vanishes in the water, making it practically undetectable and it is the preferred choice for anglers fishing in clear waters or angles targeting easily spooked fish. Fluorocarbon line offers a similar diameter to strength ratio as monofilament line. This is because, like monofilament, it is constructed from a single strand. However, unlike monofilament, you don’t have to worry about your line becoming visible in the water as you increase the breaking strain (and therefore the line diameter), as fluorocarbon’s invisible properties counteract this. This allows you to target bigger fish, as you are able to increase your breaking strain without fearing detection.
Fluorocarbon line is also significantly denser than monofilament line. This means that it is much quicker sinking than monofilament line, so it better pins bait to the lake or river bed, even when using weightless setups. This makes fluorocarbon a very popular choice of leader for fishing with bottom baits, as it offers a combination of invisibility and weight. It is a dense line because it has a tightly packed molecular structure, which in turn makes it exceptionally sensitive and it doesn’t offer the same stretch as monofilament line.
Although fluoro is still slightly stretchy, it is significantly more sensitive – making it easier to read gentler takes from the bank. This makes it an excellent choice for the angler fishing at distance, who wants to be able to react quickly. This stiffness also helps to ensure that you can be more confident when setting your hook, as movement from your rod and reel is directly translated into the line with little give. However, this increased stiffness has often made this line less popular than monofilament as it is perceived as being more difficult to handle on the cast – although the experienced angler will be able to negotiate this problem without issue.
Fluorocarbon also requires a little more knowledge when it comes to getting the most out of your line knot strength. Most fluorocarbon lines recommend tying with a wet line in order to get the most out of your knot strength, although this might change the line on line so it is worth doing a little research into your line of choice before simply diving in on the bank. Unlike monofilament lines, fluorocarbon is waterproof so will not absorb water – so the line strength remains the same whether wet or dry. It is significantly more abrasion resistant than monofilament with a like-for-like diameter and, as an added benefit, it isn’t susceptible to UV light damage either.
In general, then, fluorocarbon lines and leaders might require a little more finesse or skill than traditional monofilament lines. However, for the angler who is willing to put in the time, the rewards on the bank can be magnificent – particularly if you’re targeting shy species who are easily spooked.
As the name suggests, the braided line is the only line type that does not rely on a single fibre or strand of material. Instead, braided lines are composed of multiple fibres which have been moulded and welded together. Although it is often considered as one of the most modern fishing lines out there, it is actually much more similar to the first fishing lines which were used centuries ago by early anglers. However, it is fair to say that this line has been significantly developed and improved since those early days and the braided line has benefitted from huge technological improvements in recent years.
The multi-fibrous construction of braid ensures that this line can offer incredible strength with a small diameter. This is excellent when you’re targeting larger or harder fighting fish, as you can keep a small (near invisible) line whilst enjoying maximum break strain strength. These breaking strengths are measures in the maximum lbs and many lines range from 20lb, 30lbs braid to 50lbs plus. It is also a dense line type, so it sinks quickly through the water column – making it an excellent choice for the angler fishing with bottom baits.
The one downside of having a line with a low diameter and a high strength is that it takes considerably more line to fill one spool when you’re using a like-for-like breaking strain (compared to monofilament or fluorocarbon lines). Since braid is also more expensive, this can make spooling up (especially if you’re an angler who uses three reels in your fishing) more expensive. However, by backing your spool with monofilament line you can reduce the overall cost whilst also part-filling your spool. This has an added benefit, too, as braided line lacks the grip of monofilament, making it more likely to slip on a reel. By backing your reel with monofilament and topping up with braid, you can experience the grip of monofilament with the strength of braid.
Unlike monofilament lines, braid has no memory and no stretch. This makes it the preferred choice for anglers who are looking to cast long distances or to fish tight to features, as you can ensure that you are casting with accuracy each time. A memory-less line also has improved flexibility, too, which enables it to better hug the lake contours – ideal for slack line fishing. The downfall of a stretch-free line is that it can make it more difficult for inexperienced anglers to use as it has the potential to lead to hook pulls should you respond too aggressively when setting the hook. However, provided you are a confident angler, you’ll find that the benefits of a line without stretch far outweigh the potential downsides.
Braided line isn’t as abrasion-resistant as either monofilament or fluorocarbon, meaning that it is more susceptible to wear over a shorter period of time. To combat this, many rod manufacturers are now creating rods with braid-safe line guides, to reduce friction wear on the line and to preserve the life of the line. The colouration of the line and knot strength were both seen as big disadvantages with early braids but as technology has improved these have become issues of the past, too.
Spinning reels are incredibly popular amongst a few fishing disciplines and picking the perfect fishing line for these reels depends on a few factors. However, braided fishing line is made to hook large fish without breaking and its incredibly thin, making it lightweight and highly sensitive to picking up bites. Braid line makes the act of casting feel truly effortless.
If you’re looking to target big fish, particularly large carp or predators, or you want to fish at a distance, a braided mainline is the perfect choice for you.
As you’ll have noticed, there are a few key things to look out for that span the three line types. The first of these is the breaking strain. Breaking strain lets you know how much force you can exert on a line before it snaps, so the larger the fish you’re looking to target the higher your breaking strain needs to be. You can somewhat manipulate the strains of lines by pairing them with different leaders but without the appropriate break strain for your angling, you are going to be left with lots of lost fish.
The next thing you want to look out for is the line diameter. As a general rule of thumb, the thinner the diameter of the line, the lower its breaking strain will be. However, as discussed, braided lines can offer higher breaking strains in a lower diameter than fluorocarbon or monofilament mainlines.
The larger a line diameter is the higher the risk is that it will be spotted by a fish, too, so this is another factor to bear in mind. The stretch of the line is another important factor. As you’ll have read, there are positives and negatives to a stretchy or stretch-free line – most of which are decided by how far out you’re fishing and how much sensitivity you expect from your line.
The abrasion resistance of your line plays a big part in your line’s life and the higher the abrasion resistance is, the longer you’ll be able to use your line in the confidence that it won’t fail you when you need it the most. Finally, you want to pay attention to the flexibility of the line. In general, the limper a line is the better it will cast, as it doesn’t hold the memory of the spool. It will also hug the bed of the water better, making it ideal for slackline angling.
Many ask if fish can see a fishing line which may contribute to scaring fish away. If you want to consider a stalking approach then invisible fluorocarbon line or clear monofilament is the way to go! Nevertheless, there are other colour options of the market, with green fitting a range of water situations but even the choice of red or pink fluorocarbon which despite visible to anglers above water can become invisible in the depths of water. Yellow monofilament works similarly in muddy water.
Braid is the most visible of all the line types as it isn’t translucent and the colour options to choose from are more limited than with, for example, monofilament. To counteract this, braided mainlines are often paired with fluorocarbon leaders. This gives you the best of both worlds, maintaining a high break strain and sinking density whilst also giving you the bonus of invisibility in a range of water types.
You may find it hard to pick a line, wondering what does LB mean in fishing line, or what pound fishing line should you use for your fishing style or discipline. Such answers can be found in our very own Guide to Fishing Line and Braid found on the AD Blog.
If you want more information on fishing lines that would best suit your fishing choices then get in contact with our customer services team or look through our Angling Direct Blog which features a range of blogs on products, tips and guides with your fishing from best coarse fishing line reviews to tips of how to make your braided fishing line on bulk spools last.
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