The Different Types of Fishing Line – Main Differences Explained

Wondering what type of fishing line to use for your next trip?

We’re here to help! This article will go over the different types of fishing lines and when you should use them.

You’ll be able to choose the perfect type of fishing line for your needs and have a successful trip out on the water.

What Are The Three Main Types of Fishing Line?

Here are the 3 main types of fishing lines commonly used by anglers:

Although there are quite a few fishing lines, the three mentioned above are the most commonly used among recreational anglers.

Mono, braided, and Fluorocarbon are the three lines we will be covering in this post.

But before we break them down, let’s familiarize ourselves with the characteristics of fishing lines.

Fishing Line Jargon

When deciding between braid vs. mono vs. Fluorocarbon, there are a few terms you ought to be familiar with to help you compare the three and choose when to use each of them.

Abrasion Resistance

This is one of those terms anglers throw around at the dock and act like they have a Ph.D. in fishing gear.

Abrasion resistance measures a line’s strength when it comes to rubbing against surfaces.

You’ll want high abrasion resistance if you’re fishing around heavy cover or structure where your line will likely contact things that can damage it.

Line Memory

Line memory measures a fishing line’s ability to return to its original shape after being stretched.

The more it can be stretched without breaking, the higher the line memory.

Lines with low line memory tend to kink and coil more, leading to tangles and frustration.

Line Stretch

The more stretch, the less of a punch you receive when a big one strikes your hook with a vengeance.

A line with a lot of stretch helps maintain tension when fighting a fish and makes a hook set more challenging.

With less stretch, you’ll have a better feel for what’s going on at the end of your line, but it also runs the risk of snapping your line if you’re not careful.

It’s all a delicate balance!


The ability of a line to float or sink is referred to as buoyancy.

If you’re fishing around vegetation or in deep water, you’ll want a line that sinks so it doesn’t pop up to the surface and get tangled in the weeds.

On the other hand, if you’re fishing on top of the water for surface-dwelling fish, you’ll want a buoyant line so it can float.


Some types of fishing lines are more visible in the water than others. If you’re fishing in clear water where fish can see your line, you’ll want to use a less visible line.

However, visibility isn’t as big of a concern if you’re fishing in murky water.

Don’t pick a line just because it is your favorite color. Pick a line that matches the watercolor in your area the best.

Now that we’ve gone over some of the critical characteristics of fishing lines, let’s take a more in-depth look at each type of fishing line, starting with monofilament.

See Also: Top Fishing Line For Spinning Reels

Most Popular Types of Fishing Line

Monofilament Fishing Line

You’ve used a monofilament fishing line if you’ve ever been fishing. Mono is by far the most popular type of fishing line used among recreational anglers.

It’s affordable, easy to use, and readily available at any tackle shop.

Monofilament line is made from a single strand of material, hence the name “mono.” It’s usually made from nylon.

Mono fishing line has a lot of stretch, which is good for setting hooks and fighting fish.

It also has decent abrasion resistance and visibility, making it an excellent all-around choice for most types of fishing.

One thing to keep in mind with monofilament fishing line is that it has poor knot strength. This means you have to be extra careful when tying knots.

If not tied correctly, mono knots can quickly come undone.

Braided Fishing Line

A braided fishing line is made from multiple strands of material woven together. The most common braided fishing lines are made from either Kevlar or Spectra fiber.

Braided fishing line is much thinner than mono for the same diameter.

This makes it ideal for long-distance casting and fishing around heavy cover where a more delicate line is less likely to get tangled.

Braided fishing lines also have a minimal stretch, which gives you better sensitivity when setting hooks and feeling bites.

However, this also makes the braided line more susceptible to breaking if you get a big fish. Since braided lines have multiple strands, they also have excellent abrasion resistance.

This makes them ideal for fishing in areas with a lot of structure or vegetation where your line is likely to come in contact with things that can damage it.

The main downside to a braided fishing line is that it’s more visible in the water than mono, making it less ideal for clear water fishing.

It’s also more expensive than mono.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon fishing line is made from a type of plastic known as fluoropolymers. Fluorocarbon has a similar refractive index to water, making it almost invisible when submerged.

For this reason, fluorocarbon fishing line is an excellent choice for leaders.

The most common application of Fluorocarbon is used as a leader as it provides maximum strength and invisibility when wet.

Fluorocarbon is also very abrasion resistant and has low stretch, making it ideal for fishing around heavy cover or structure.

The main downside to Fluorocarbon is that it’s more expensive than mono or braided line.

Picking the Right Fishing Line

Now that we’ve gone over the three main types of fishing lines, you should better know which one is right for you.

As a general rule of thumb, monofilament line is an excellent all-around choice for most types of fishing. It’s affordable, easy to use, and has decent abrasion resistance and visibility.

You want to make sure you have the right amount of test for your target species, as with any line.

When fishing near structure or targeting fish with sharp teeth, I recommend using a fluorocarbon leader.

A braided line is a good choice for long-distance casting and fishing around heavy cover.

It’s also more sensitive than mono, making it a good choice for experienced anglers. I use braided line when surf fishing and in highly windy or rough conditions.

Fluorocarbon line is a good choice for clear water fishing, where you need to be as stealthy as possible.

It’s also more abrasion resistant than mono, making it a good choice for fishing around heavy cover.

I primarily use fluoro as a leader for mono, but it also has its place as a primary line in rare cases.

Final Thoughts on

When it’s all said and done, the best fishing line will depend on many factors. I recommend trying out all three types and getting a feel for them.

Then you can start to narrow down your choices based on the types of fishing you do most often.

I always recommend having multiple setups of rods and reels with different variations of line on each that are on board and ready to go so you spend less time setting up and more time catching fish!

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home, and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.


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