One angler prefers bait casting reels and the other prefers spinning reels. This angler prefers braided fishing line and that angler prefers fluorocarbon fishing line.
One of the most common questions that come up in the fishing community is what fishing line is best.
And when you are standing in the fishing aisle at your local sporting goods store staring at the vast array of fishing line types, that question is sure to pop into your mind.
By the end of this article, you should be able to confidently answer that question.
What Type of Fishing Line Should You Use for Spinning Reels?
So how do you know what fishing line to spool up on your new spinning reel?
Well, there are a lot of different answers to this question and not all of them are wrong.
When you come off the water at the end of the day from your favorite fishing hole, the best fishing line that you can have on your spinning reel is the kind that lands the lunker.
In many cases, you could have caught that same fish with any of the most popular fishing line options.
But before we get into which fishing line is best for your application, it is important to fully understand the difference between the three most common fishing line types.
Monofilament Fishing Line
Monofilament fishing line is easily the most commonly used or at least the most commonly recognized fishing line on the market.
Most all spincast fishing reels or inexpensive spinning rod/reel combos come already spooled with monofilament fishing line.
It is made up of a single material strand (hence the mono) and is generally made of a nylon material. monofilament fishing line is the most affordable of the three types of fishing line and that might be where your fishing line search ends.
If cost is one of your most important considerations, then a monofilament fishing line might be your best option.
Some other attributes of monofilament fishing line include being thicker in diameter, more line stretching ability, sink-rate, and ease of use.
Braided Fishing Line
Braided fishing line is exactly what it sounds like. It is the concept of braiding multiple individual strands of material into a single bound unit to create a stronger material.
Braided fishing line is typically made of a synthetic material and is much smaller in diameter and stronger than its monofilament counterpart.
Additionally, braided line has little to no stretching abilities adding some benefits and possibly a few downsides depending on application.
Because braided line is stronger and smaller in diameter, most fishing reels can fit more line on the spool.
Lastly, most braided lines have little to no memory in the line, decreasing your chances of fishing line backlash or line tangles at the reel and increasing your line sensitivity.
Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
Fluorocarbon (fluoro for short) fishing line is similar to monofilament in one regard.
Fluorocarbon is a single strand fishing line with the major difference being in the materials used to make the line.
Fluoro line is generated with a more tightly bound molecular compound than its monofilament counterpart.
Because fluoro fishing line is made of different materials it boasts an array of unique characteristics.
Fluoro fishing line is widely lauded for its lack of memory, very little stretch, and little to no visibility in the water.
When tying knots with fluorocarbon fishing line, it is important to remember to wet the knot prior to tightening.
Because of the lines density, strength and lack of stretch, if you do not wet the knot it will be much more apt to break at the knot.
Lastly, fluoro fishing line has a much faster sinking rate and is excellent when bottom jigging or throwing a deep water lure that needs to sink quickly.
Considerations Before Buying Fishing line
Depending on the application, species of fish, water type or even your experience level as an angler, there are going to be a few considerations you should review prior to making your final decision.
One of the most important considerations for a vast number of anglers is the price. The three types of fishing line range greatly in price and value.
When looking at the three types of fishing line you are most often going to find monofilament being the most affordable followed by braided and fluorocarbon fishing lines.
The diameter of the fishing line is important for numerous reasons.
In fact, many anglers see line diameter as being one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a fishing line for your spinning reel.
Line diameter is important when deciding how much fishing line you will need on your fishing reel.
When using spinning reels, your spool line capacity is much less in than baitcasting reels. So the thinner the diameter of line you choose, the more fishing line you will have on your spinning reel.
The type of fishing lure that you are using will also impact how much you consider line diameter as well.
If you are using a bottom running lure where it is important to have a good sinking rate, then you will want to choose a thicker diameter line.
If you are using a top-water bait then monofilament may be the best option given its ability to float.
All three line types will have different line diameters. Monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines are going to have much thicker diameters when stacked again braided line. Braided line is considerably thinner in diameter when comparing similar pound tests of mono and fluoro fishing lines.
Monofilament fishing lines come in a wide range of colors from translucent colors to yellow to green and other colors as well.
Most all of your fluorocarbon fishing lines are going to come in a clear or translucent color and is nearly invisible to fish.
Braided lines come in a variety of colors but most commonly comes in darker colors being either grey or green.
Your primary goal when considering the color of your fishing line should be how visible it is to the fish that you are targeting.
This is going to be different depending on what type of water and cover you are fishing.
If you are going to be in clear and open water it will be important to use the clearest or most translucent colored line, especially if you are fishing for fish that are often line-shy. If you are fishing in heavy and dense cover with dark or murky water, having a green or grey line color will not be as visible to the fish.
Fishing line lifespan is definitely an important factor when considering fishing line for your spinning reel.
One of the most common factors that affect fishing line lifespan is its resistance to UV rays in the outdoors. Monofilament fishing line is going to be most susceptible to deterioration due to exposure to UV rays.
Another factor in the lifespan of the types of fishing line is the line memory.
Again, monofilament fishing line is going to have the most line memory out of all of the fishing line types.
If your fishing line is going to be spooled up on your spinning reel and then stored for long periods of time between fishing outings, the line will conform to the spool and wear down its lifespan.
One last consideration in regards to fishing line lifespan is going to be the abrasion resistance. Each fishing line type responds differently when encountering abrasive materials in the water such as rocks and concrete.
Monofilament and fluorocarbon commonly have a much better abrasion resistance than braided fishing lines.
However, may new braided fishing lines come with protective coatings that contribute to greater abrasion resistance.
Line Stretch Ability
Fishing line stretch is an important factor primarily for your monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines.
Monofilament will have the most pronounced and noticeable amount of line stretch.
This will make it more versatile for beginning anglers and for those that need a little give in your line when setting hooks.
Braided fishing lines, for the most part, have zero line stretch. This makes braided line far more sensitive when detecting fish bites.
With braided line, you will notice every bump that your bait or lure experiences.
Having zero line stretch can be both a blessing and a curse. When fishing in dense and heavy cover, being able to hoist a large fish out will be assisted by the little to no stretch attribute of braided line.
As with many of the fishing line attributes, it will depend on many factors such as fishing location and the fish species being targeted.
Line Memory or Line Twist
Line memory is going to be the largest factor when using monofilament fishing line.
Monofilament fishing lines tend to remember the shape of the object it is wrapped around. So when you spool up your spinning reel with a freshly purchased monofilament line it will begin to take the shape of the spool that it is on.
The more memory that a fishing line has, the more prone it is to causing line tangles and backlash.
Fluorocarbon line generally has less memory than monofilament and braided fishing lines tend to have little to no memory at all.
Ultimately, when deciding on the specific line type for your spinning reel you need to consider all of the fishing line attributes discussed above.
If any one of those attributes is more important to you, it will help narrow your search.
The bottom line is that each of the fishing line types are going to have pros and cons depending on a variety of factors.
One of the most common factors is the price and ease of use.
Monofilament is going to provide the easiest knot tying and will be the most forgiving with its high line stretching ability.
Additionally, it will be the most affordable and most widely available option. Monofilament floats and is often the best option for top-water or floating baits and lures.
Some of the downsides to monofilament include its thick diameter, lots of memory, and its low resistance to UV rays.
Braided line is going to be very thin in diameter and has zero line stretch. If you want to spool a lot of line on your spinning reel, then a braided line is a great option.
It is important to note that braided line has very little friction when spooled on a spinning reel and often needs to be backed with monofilament line so that it doesn’t spin on the spool.
Braided lines often come in dark colors such as grey or green and are most often used in heavy, dense cover situations
Fluorocarbon line is in all around excellent option for your spinning reel application. Its high abrasion resistance and overall strength make it a viable option for many applications.
The stretch ability of fluorocarbon is much less than monofilament so sensitivity will be greater when feeling each bite most important to you.
One of fluorocarbon fishing line most notable qualities is that it is nearly invisible to the fish. Its reflective qualities are nearly identical to that of water making it mostly invisible to fish.
Fluoro fishing line also has very little memory, decreasing tangles, backlash, and spinning reel back up.
Fluorocarbon’s most glaring downfall is how expensive it is.
Choosing Fishing Line Based on Application
So by now, you should have some idea of what the major considerations are when purchasing a fishing line for a spinning reel.
Each line type has pros and cons and the only real way to make your final determination is to consider the application.
Two questions that you can ask yourself “what” and “where.” These two questions can narrow your search almost immediately depending on your answers.
So “what” are you fishing for? Depending on the species of fish you are targeting ultimately has a large impact on the type of fishing line you will have on your spinning reel.
For example, if you are targeting a line-shy fish like trout, then you are going to want something as non-detectable as you can, such as fluorocarbon.
If fluorocarbon is too expensive then you will most likely want to use a monofilament option.
Given that mono is more visible than fluoro, make sure you check the line diameter for the pound test that you need. This is to ensure that to get the least visible line you can.
If you are going to be fishing for crappie, one of your best options is going to be a fluorocarbon line.
Given its sensitive, low-stretch qualities, you will feel each and every bite which is crucial when targeting crappie.
Again, it’s nearly invisible trait will always be an advantage. Your second best option is going to be monofilament with the primary reason being visibility.
When you are hitting the big bass lakes in and around heavy and dense cover, your best option in many cases will be a braided line.
You’ll be able to rip your lure or possibly a trophy-sized bass through lily pads and other thick cover without fear of breaking your line. Visibility will likely not be as much of an issue given the thick cover; your braided line should blend in quite well.
One thing to note here would be if you are using a top-water bait or lure, a monofilament fishing line would be most applicable given its ability to float and high stretch ability.
The line stretch should help you set the hook with the small treble hooks that are often found on top-water baits.
One question that also arises is in regards to water type. Does it matter what kind of fishing line you use in either saltwater or freshwater?
Ultimately, all of the same rules still apply. Your decision should be based on the type of fish and the location where you are fishing.
In many saltwater applications, braided line is seen to be one of the best options. Given its strength and small line diameter, you will be able to spool far more line on your spinning reel.
In many cases, it is highly important in saltwater applications to have as much line as you can possibly fit.
However, it should be noted that some saltwater fish have soft mouths and using a braided line with little to no stretch would likely rip out the hook upon a setting the hook.
Top Fishing Lines Reviewed
After you have thought on all of the above considerations and you are still at an impasse, check out the top five reviewed fishing lines below.
Each one of these options excels in one or more of the common fishing line attribute areas and would prove to be an excellent option for your spinning reel.