What is a little confusing about choosing a fishing line, especially to me, is the vast variety that is on the market. Adding to the confusion is some tackle suppliers and manufactures have put their names on fishing line. And they all make the same claim, their line if thinner, stronger, and cast further with less line abrasion. So how do you choose ?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a line. How will the line be used: trolling, casting, or still fishing? What is the targeted species? Certain fish are line shy, like trout in fresh and saltwater. Other fish are not, like bluefish, sharks and members of the pike family. They are all toothy critters and can cut through normal fishing line like butter. Other factors to consider: the clarity of the water, line type, monofilament or braid, color, brand preference and price.
About 15 years ago is what I call the second coming of braided line. Braided line has been around for a long time. As a matter of fact, before the late 1950’s braided line was all you could get. Cat gut leaders were available, but no one had ever heard of monofilament. Sometime around 2000, I bought a large spool of the new age braided line. The line was made from kevlar with no finish. The line was absolutely terrible. It would fray, cut through the guides and it certainly was not as strong as the manufacturer claimed. I threw the stuff away, and then respooled with Spiderwire Fusion. The Spiderwire Fusion was equally as bad as the kevlar braid. It had a coating, but the coating would crack and peel off the core. I threw that away as well and swore that I would never use braided line again. Now braided line is all I use. There is a world of difference between the braided stuff that was on the market 15 years ago and what we use today. Personally I like Power Pro braid with a fluorocarbon leader.
Fishing line basically is dived into two categories, braid and monofilament. Some might include fluorocarbon as a third category. I’m not convinced that it makes a good fishing line. A few years back, I tried fluorocarbon as a fishing line. It was very stiff and as soon as pressure was released from the reel the line would unravel creating a horrific tangle. However, fluorocarbon does make excellent leader material. Because it is stiff and nearly invisible, it is just perfect for fly fishing lines and conventional lines as well.
Monofilament is made from a nylon-copolymer process that has been in use since the later 1950’s. It is easy to tie knots with monofilament, easy to trim tag ends and it stretches. Some fishermen consider that an advantage because it is more forgiving. For me, the big problem monofilament has always been line memory. Monofilament has another problem and that is it weakens as it absorbs water. I have had monofilament lines break when wet. Of course not all monofilament lines weaken enough to break and most brands have been reliable for years. As stated above, I use a braided line and the principle reason is no line memory.
Braided line is thinner then monofilament per pound test and no there is no stretch. What I don’t like about
braded line, it is more difficult to tie and a special scissor is needed to cut it. Because of the slick coating on braided line, there have been cases when pressure put on the line caused it to slip through line already wound on the spool. Today braided line is made with a fiber called dyneema or spectra. Some braided lines have added another fiber called gore. They all have a gel type finish that permeates the line. I know absolutely nothing about the fibers, although I did call two product specialist and they could not tell me anything either.
Good luck and keep the lines tight, Paul