Whether you’re a new or casual angler, shopping for fishing line can be confusing. There’re so many options available in the market, but, without a doubt, the most common type of fishing line you’ll see is Monofilament.
But what is a monofilament fishing line exactly?
Monofilament fishing lines are typically made from Nylon or a blend of different polymers (plastics). These materials are usually melted down and pushed through a small hole to form a single continuous strand. Monofilament gets its performance characteristics by the combination of different plastics used to make the line.
Understanding what monofilament line is made from is only scratching the surface of what you need to know!
My goal is to provide you with all the information you need to know when shopping for monofilament fishing. In this post, I’ll cover topics like:
- When should you use monofilament?
- My Top brands and products for different purposes.
- Average costs for monofilament.
- Understanding all the different performance characteristics.
- How often should you replace your monofilament fishing line?
- Maintaining your monofilament fishing line to get the most out of it.
- Storing your monofilament fishing line.
- Disposing of your old monofilament fishing line.
Did You Know:
The technical term in manufacturing to describe “pushing material through a hole to form a strand of material” is called extruding.
When Should You Use a Monofilament Fishing Line?
Monofilament is arguably one of the most versatile fishing lines out there in the market today. Because of its properties and performance, it tends to fit many different types of fishing. This is why so many anglers, both professionals and beginners, love using monofilament.
Below are some common fishing styles and investigating how monofilament measures up to each style of fishing.
- Performance: Great
- Reasons: Trolling stretches the line when being dragged across the water. Essentially making the line act as a spring in the water. This helps set the hook on a fish when they bite and prevents the line from breaking if a fish strikes too hard.
Live Bait Fishing
- Performance: Great
- Reasons: Since monofilament is lightweight and relatively buoyant, it makes for a great fishing line choice when fishing with live bait. This results in your live bait being able to move around more freely and naturally.
Bottom Fishing (Jigging)
- Performance: Not the best but does the job
- Reasons: Since monofilament wants to stretch, it is hard to feel for bites when bottom fishing or jigging. The deeper you are fishing, the harder it will be to feel any bites. That being said, I’ve personally used monofilament for this purpose for many years, and I still catch fish. This just means you got to pick the right type of action for your rod to compensate.
- Performance: Not the best but does the job
- Reasons: Monofilament tends to have a large diameter and more line memory than some other fishing lines. Both the line diameter and memory affect your casting distance. Larger the diameter and memory, the shorter your casting distance. That being said, monofilament will do just fine, especially if you’re a beginner.
Monofilament tends to fall short when bottom fishing and casting, but I have used monofilament for many years doing just that. Braided fishing line would be better suited for these purposes. But braided lines are much harder to work with and definitely need some skill and knowledge before using them. Whereas monofilament is the easiest line to learn properly casting techniques and tying knots.
For that reason, regardless of what type of fishing you’re doing. If you’re a beginner, you just can’t go wrong with starting off with monofilament as your fish line.
My Recommended Brands To Stick With
The number of fishing line brands can be overwhelming. But like many things, everything is not made equal. Picking the wrong brand could cause you nothing but headaches from lines snapping to having it get tangled on itself.
So how do you know what a good brand is or not!
Well, you can do your research or try experimenting by buying different brands to see which one you like better. Every brand has slightly different performance characteristics, and which one is the best can be subjective.
But, if you’re new to fishing and want some advice on good brands for you to try out, then you’re in luck cause I got some. Here are my favourite two affordable brands when it comes to monofilament fishing lines.
Did You Know:
The word “Mono” in Monofilament originates from Latin where Mono means “One” or “Single.”
My Monofilament Fishing Line Recommendations
Knowing a good brand is only half the battle. The other half is figuring out what product to use and when.
Don’t worry! If you’re completely confused about what product you should use and when then I can offer you some of my recommendations of different monofilament fishing lines that I like using.
- When To Use: Bottom Fishing, Trolling, and Live-Bait Fishing
- Great for Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
- Excellent toughness and abrasion resistance preventing line breakage
- Low Stretch allowing you to feel bites better and easier to set the hook.
- Great for fishing larger fish, especially with some sharp teeth.
- When To Use: Live-Bait Fishing, Casting
- Great for Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
- Designed for casting, giving you a further casting distance
- Low line memory giving you fewer kinks and twists in the line
- Excellent line sensation so you can better feel underwater structures.
- When To Use: Bottom Fishing, Casting, Live-Baiting
- Great For Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
- Designed for the toughness fishing conditions
- Heavy Cover
- Higher line memory
- Great for hard hooksets
- When To Use: Trolling, Casting, Live-Bait Fishing
- Great For Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
- Low line memory giving you fewer kinks and twists in the line
- A significant amount of line stretch great for shock restraint
- When To Use: Trolling, Casting
- Great For Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing
- Excellent shock resistance for hard-hitting fish
- Great toughness withstanding sharp underwater objects
Cost Of Monofilament Lines
Unlike other types of fishing lines on the market, monofilament will not break the bank.
Monofilament is low cost because the manufacturing processes to make mono are relatively simple. The materials used to make the line are generally low cost as well.
When buying a monofilament fishing line, expect it to cost between $5 to $65, depending on the spool’s size and the line’s pound test. When buying a small spool like 100 yards will cost roughly $5 – $10. A large spool like 2600 yards will cost about $35 – $65.
After looking at several different products and their costs, I created a table breaking down the cost per yard of different line pound tests and spool sizes.
|100 Yards||250 Yards||300 Yards||600 Yards||1000 Yards||2400 Yards|
|4 lb Test||$0.06||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02||$0.01|
|6 lb Test||$0.06||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02||$0.01|
|8 lb Test||$0.06||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02||$0.01|
|10 lb Test||$0.07||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02|
|12 lb Test||$0.07||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02|
|14 lb Test||$0.07||$0.03||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02|
|17 lb Test||$0.07||$0.03||$0.03||$0.02||$0.02||$0.02|
|20 lb Test||$0.07||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03|
|25 lb Test||$0.08||$0.04||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03|
|30 lb Test||$0.08||$0.04||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03||$0.03|
Use this table to check how the line you’re looking at compares. If the cost per yard of the line you’re looking at is a few cents higher or lower than what’s listed in the table above then, you could be holding a cheap line or a specialty premium line designed explicitly for a specific reason or rated for tournaments.
If you’re buying a large spool to re-spool your reel multiple times over the next few years then I got some news for you. Monofilament fishing lines don’t last forever. Even when the line has never been used. Monofilament fishing lines have a shelf line. Overtime, mono will lose some of their strength and deteriorate, making them brittle.
My recommendation is only to buy what you need. It would be a shame to find out the monofilament you spent $60 bucks on might not be useful anymore after a few years.
Understanding Monofilament’s Characteristics
The properties of monofilament can change depending on the mixture of plastics or chemical additives used. This allows monofilament to be used in many different applications. This is why you’ll see such a wide range of monofilament products available in the market.
But changing the plastics and chemicals only goes so far. When picking your monofilament line, you need to understand its basic characteristics to make an informed decision.
When anglers talk about line strength, they’re referring to the term “Pound Test.”
Pound Test is defined as the amount of weight the line can hold before snapping.
The pound test designation applies to all types of fishing line. If you had two different types of fishing lines with the same pound test, then that means both lines will break at roughly the same weight.
If you picked up a 20 lb weight with a 20 lb test monofilament line and a 20 lb braided line, they would break at the same weight.
The line diameter can influence your fishing experience more than you think. Talk to any well-seasoned angler, and they’ll tell you the line diameter is one of the most important things to consider when buying fishing line.
Did You Know:
Line diameter is usually expressed in fractions of an inch (imperial) or millimetres (metric).
Here are all the ways that different line diameters could impact your fishing experience:
|Thinner Lines||Thicker Lines|
|How Much Line Can Your Reel Hold?||🔺||🔻|
|How Far Can You Cast The Line?||🔺||🔻|
|How Abrasion Resistance Is The Line?||🔻||🔺|
|How Much Line Memory Is There?||🔻||🔺|
|How Visible Is The Line Underwater?||🔻||🔺|
|How Fast Will The Line Sink?||🔺||🔻|
|How Sensitive Is The Line?||🔺||🔻|
|How Flexible Is The Line?||🔺||🔻|
|How Shock Resistant Is The Line?||🔻||🔺|
Generally speaking, thinner lines are better, but that is not always the case.
If you’re fishing near rocks or if the fish has really sharp teeth, then you may want to consider picking a thicker line for the extra abrasion resistance. Sometimes you’re forced into having a thicker line because you need the extra strength.
Line diameter will increase as the strength of the line increases. But it important to note that the line diameter of two different lines with the same pound test from two different brands will not be the same. This could be for many reasons, from the material being used to how the line is manufactured.
Like anything in life, there will be some comprise when selecting your fishing line. Use the above table to see what is important to you to help guide you when picking a fishing line.
Fishing line can take a beating when underwater facing everything from a fish’s sharp teeth to sharp rocks. So it’s no surprise you will need to consider abrasion resistance.
Unlike line strength, fishing lines don’t have a system to rate how much abrasion resistance a line is. This makes it hard to determine how abrasion resistant a line really is.
So how do you determine how much abrasion resistance you need? Unfortunately, you can’t. Or at least, I have not figured out how, except from personal experience.
But what can you look for when looking for abrasion-resistant mono.
Abrasion resistance for monofilament is dependent on the line diameter and the material/chemical additives used to make the line.
Thicker the line, the better abrasion resistance it offers because there is more “” on the line that objects have to cut through.
Some products will specifically say “abrasion resistance” on the packaging. Usually, this means that the line will have a special coating on it, making the line’s outer surface harder to cut into.
This harder surface is great for abrasion resistance but will make the line slightly stiffer. This will impact your casting distance because it changes how the line behaves when it leaves your reel.
All types of fishing line will stretch to some degree when there is enough load on the line. It just so happens that monofilament fishing line has the most stretch than other types of fishing line.
Monofilament can stretch anywhere between 10% to 25% in length. Of course, this depends on the types of plastics and chemical additives used to create the line.
Suppose you’re bottom fishing at a depth of 100 yards and hooked on to a monster. You can expect your line to stretch anywhere from 10 yards to 25 yards more!
Now you might be thinking – “What’s the big deal if mono stretches or not.” The answer to that, my friend, is … More than you think. There are different scenarios where having a high or low line stretch is best.
Having High Line Stretch
A line with a lot of stretch will act as a shock absorber. Where this is particularly useful is when you’re trolling. When trolling, you’re dragging the line across the water. Doing this will cause the line to experience some load on the line causing it to stretch.
This is essentially preloading the line so that when a fish strikes, there is already some resistance on the line pushing the hook back, helping you with setting the hook.
Another benefit of having a line that stretches is that it helps protect your rods from breaking from a sudden load caused by a hard striking fish.
Having Low Line Stretch
One of the biggest drawbacks to having a line with a lot of stretch is the lack of sensitivity. Since the line can stretch, it’s harder to feel bites and harder to set the hook if it’s not pre-stretched when you’re bottom fishing or casting.
This is where having a monofilament line designated as low stretch will be useful. A low stretch line will be more suitable for bottom fishing and casting because of better line sensitivity. Typically, monofilament designed to have little stretch will be stated on the packaging.
Line memory measures how easily a line will hold its shape around a spool or reel. This is what creates that “” effect on some fishing lines but not on others.
Higher memory indicates the line will hold its shape around a spool or reel more easily. Whereas low memory suggests the line will less likely hold the shape of a spool or reel.
Several factors influence the amount of memory that a line can have, such as:
- Type of fishing line
- Line Diameter
- Abrasion Resistance
Most anglers would agree that fishing lines that have high memory is bad. But depending on your circumstances, you can’t help it.
But is there really any bad side to having a line with high memory? Well, there are some drawbacks that you need to be aware of:
- Prone to having more tangles at the reel or the tip of the rod.
- Shortens your casting distance.
- Reduce your line’s sensitivity to feel bites if there’s not enough weight on the line.
Since line memory depends mainly on line diameter and line diameter depends on line strength, there will be situations where you will have to deal with a line with high memory. But it’s good to be aware of line memory and what causes it.
Having a strong knot is critical when fishing! Knots are the only thing that ultimately keeps the fish connected to your line. But knots are also known to be one of the weakest points on your fishing line.
When knots are under enough load, they can become undone or even break. There are two different factors that you need to consider when making a strong knot:
- How well does the line hold a knot?
- What is knot Strength?
How Well Does Mono Hold Knots?
The smaller the line diameter, the harder it is for you to make knots and have the knots hold under load. This explains why monofilament line is the easiest line to learn how to make knots, and the knots tend to hold knots very well.
This makes it a perfect line for beginners to use when learning the different types of knots.
What is Knot Strength?
When a knot slips and becomes undone or breaks at a specific load, this is referred to as knot strength.
As a general rule of thumb, you can assume a knot will reduce your fishing line’s strength up to 50%.
If your fishing line is a 40 lb test, you can assume your knot will break at 20 lbs.
There are a lot of different factors that come into play when making knots. If you’re really good at making knots, you can have a knot strength nearly equal to the line strength.
There are a lot of factors that can influence the knot strength, such as:
Type of Line:
- Monofilament is known for how easy it is to make knots and how well it can hold a knot compared to other types of lines.
- A thicker line will hold a knot better than thinner lines because the thicker line will “pinch” itself more than thinner lines.
Type of knot being used:
- Every knot serves a particular purpose and has its own knot strength. Understanding which knots to use plays a big role in how well the knot will hold up.
Here are eight beginner-friendly knots that you can use with monofilament fishing line:
Arbor Knot – Ties the line to the reel
Improved Clinch Knot – Ties line to hooks, lures, swivels, and sinkers
Uni Knot – Tie line to hooks, lures, swivels, and sinkers
Double Uni Knot – Great for tying two separate segments of lines together
Surgeon’s Knot / End Loop – Ties hooks, lures, swivels, and sinkers
Snell Knot – Great for tying line to hooks.
A Note About Tying Knots With Monofilament
One of the issues with making knots with mono is the friction created when you tighten a knot. This friction creates heat that could distort or damage the line making the knot weaker.
You need to lubricate the line before tightening the knot by dipping the line in some freshwater or applying some saliva on the line.
Some fishing lines tend to float, while other types of fishing lines tend to sink. This is called buoyancy!
Buoyancy describes if a fishing line will float or sink and how fast a line will sink. Fishing lines that are less dense than water will float, this is referred to as having high buoyancy. Lines that are denser than water will sink, this is referred to as having low buoyancy.
Buoyant fishing lines are generally best for topwater fishing. Whereas less buoyant fishing lines are best for bottom fishing.
Monofilament fishing lines are considered to be the most buoyant type of fishing line. On average, monofilament’s density is roughly 15% more than fresh water’s density and approximately 12% more than seawater’s density.
This means that monofilament will sink in water, but because monofilament’s density is similar to the density of water the line will slowly sink.
If you’re doing a lot of casting, then you want a line that has good castability.
But what do I mean by castability?
Castability measures how easily a line can be cast. Good castability allows the line to have a further casting distance. Bad castability causes the line to be cast at a shorter distance.
Monofilament falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to castability compared to other types of lines.
There are several factors that can reduce a monofilament’s castability that you need to be aware of, such as:
Line Diameter: The larger the diameter, the stiffer the line. This will reduce how far you can cast your line.
Abrasion Resistance: These lines tend to have an external coating to help protect the fishing line. This coating generally makes the fishing line stiffer, which can reduce the castability.
Line Memory: Higher line memory can impact how the line wants to leave the reel reducing the line’s castability.
You can spook a fish if your bait is not presented naturally. And there is nothing natural about your bait if a fish can see your fishing line.
How do you reduce your fishing line’s visibility underwater?
To understand how a fishing line will appear underwater, we must first understand how light passes through water.
When light hits the water, some of the rays of light will be reflected away. The remaining rays will continue to penetrate through the water. But as rays get deeper in the water, the more rays are reflected away until you get deep enough where there is practically little to no rays of light anymore.
How an object reflects light is measured by something called the “Index of refraction.” Water has its own index of refraction, measuring roughly 1.33.
If water and fishing line have the same index of refraction, the rays of light will pass through the line and water the same way. This makes the fishing line practically invisible underwater. When the refraction index difference becomes larger between the water and the fishing line, the more the line will show up underwater.
Monofilament fishing line typically has an index of refraction of 1.55, which is 16.5% greater than water. This means that mono will be somewhat visible underwater.
You may not have much control manipulating the index of refraction of your line, but you can manipulate how your line will look underwater by picking a certain line colour.
Line colour can influence how your line will look underwater. Picking the right colour could make it hard for fish to see the line. But picking the wrong colour could make the line stand out like a sore thumb.
In order for colours to appear underwater, there needs to be light. The deeper you go underwater the less light there is which will change how certain colours will look.
The chart above, created from Fix.com, clearly shows what happens to different colours of lines as you go deeper into the water. Use the above chart to help you decide which colour best suits your fishing situation and waters.
Luckily monofilament comes in a wide range of different colours for you to experiment with. But in my experience, I’ve found that clear, light green, or light blues works great for topwaters, lakes, and rivers.
If you’re fishing deeper waters, you should consider using a dark green or dark blue line to blend in with the darker surroundings.
Fishing lines are exposed to the environment, whether hot or cold temperatures, sharp objects underwater, thrashing waves, UV exposure, and it all can take a toll on your fishing line. Here are some of the things you need to pay attention to when using monofilament fishing line and how it reacts to the environment.
Monofilament is known to absorb water. In fact, monofilament can absorb as much as 10% of its weight in water. As a result, the line will experience a loss in strength, typically up to 10% for the premium lines, but it could be as high as 20%-30% for cheaper lines.
When the line absorbs water, both the diameter and length of the monofilament line will increase. This is typically not a big deal when freshwater fishing because the absorbed water will evaporate out of the line over time.
The issue comes when you’re fishing in saltwater. When monofilament absorbs saltwater, the saltwater is bringing tiny particles of salt with it. So as the water evaporates from the line, the salt particles will remain inside the monofilament.
The salt particles in the monofilament prevent the line from behaving as it should reducing:
- And the life span.
How to remove salts from inside the line
Several sources online will say to remove the salts, you need to rinse your spool. All this is doing is removing the salt particles on the fishing line’s outer surface but not inside the fishing line.
Rinsing the salts from the outer surface of your fishing line is important to prevent the salts from creating micro-cuts in the line reducing the overall strength and performance of the line.
To remove the salt from inside the line requires you to “” the salts out. You do this by essentially soaking your fishing line in clean, fresh water until it’s fully saturated.
Soaking your line in freshwater allows the salts to dissolve again as the monofilament absorbs the water. As the salts are dissolved into the water, the salts will be pushed out of the line as it keeps absorbing water until the line is fully saturated with water.
You may never get ALL the salts out from the line, but you can get rid of a good portion of the salts out. I recommend you soak the line in freshwater for a few hours after you’re done with your fishing trip.
Sunlight (UV) Exposure
Because of the material that makes up monofilament lines, it doesn’t fare well against sunlight exposure. More importantly, it’s the UV exposure from the sunlight that really causes the damage.
The UV rays will start deteriorating the monofilament fishing line causing it to become weaker and brittle.
Did You Know:
Monofilament lines will lose approximately 20% of their strength for every 100 hours of UV exposure! That’s like 20 – 5 hour fishing trips.
Most anglers will not hit 100 hours of UV exposure on their fishing lines during the summer because most of the line is underwater. If you do, then you must really love fishing!
But where most anglers go wrong is with how they store their fishing line during the offseason.
Storing Monofilament Fishing Line During The Off season
If you don’t store your monofilament fishing line correctly to reduce UV exposure as much as possible, then you could be faced with an unpleasant surprise at the start of next season.
You need to store your reel and fishing line in a dark spot where it doesn’t see much light. This could be in a dark storage room or even perhaps a garage with no windows.
Another great option that I like, especially if you don’t have a dark place to store your line is to get a reel cover. These covers wrap around the reel, protecting your line from UV exposure. Another benefit of the covers is that it protects the reel from physical damage and scratches when in storage. Here are some recommendations of good reel covers:
If the covers don’t really work for you, then what you can do is simply try wrapping your reels in some sort of cloth or towel and tie the ends tightly. This will not be the prettiest setup, but it should still do the job.
How Often Should You Replace Your Monofilament Line?
Unfortunately, monofilament fishing lines don’t last forever. They do have a shelf life, but that shelf life depends on many factors, such as:
- How often are you fishing?
- Are you fishing with a lot of drag?
- How are you storing your line during the offseason?
- Are you fishing in saltwater?
- How long has the fishing line been stored for?
- Have you properly maintained your fishing line?
You can expect a short shelf life if you’re fishing often or using a lot of drag. I would recommend replacing your line every season or two.
During the offseason, if you are not properly storing your line or maintaining it but are fishing casually, then you can get away with replacing your line every second or third season.
How To Maintain Monofilament Fishing Line
To get the most out of your monofilament fishing, you’ll need to know how to maintain it.
Not maintaining your line could reduce your fishing line’s overall useful life, and you don’t want to find out your life has reached the end of its life while you’re fighting a fish.
So here are my tips on how to properly maintain your line.
If you’d been fishing in freshwater, you should run your line through a damp cloth. You should do this because organic material from freshwater can cling to your line. As the organic material grows, especially when you keep your line in storage, the organic material will slowly eat away at your fishing line, making it brittle and weak.
Here is how to clean your line:
- Fill a bucket with water.
- Unspool the approximate length of line that you’ve been fishing with into the bucket.
- Let the line soak in the water for a few minutes to soften any buildup.
- Wrap the line just before the reel with a damp cloth
- Start reeling in the line.
You should clean your line 1-2 times in a season.
When cleaning your line, feel for roughness on the line. The roughness is a sign of small scratches. Personally, I would not cut the line unless the line feels really rough or if the scratches are near the end of the line.
If you’d been fishing in saltwater, I would be less concerned about organic growth but more concerned with the salts being absorbed into your mono from the saltwater.
To remove as much of the salts as possible, you will need to soak your line in fresh water so the salt can redissolve back into the water. Here is how I do that:
- Fill a bucket with fresh water.
- Unspool your line into the bucket of water
- Let the line soak anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.
Note: As the line soaks, it would be an excellent time to hose down your rod and reel. Salts are bad for equipment and will eventually create rust.
- Start reeling in your line.
The more you repeat this, the more salt you will remove from inside the line. But there is a point where you’ll see minimal results. Personally, I would only recommend doing this once after every fishing trip.
How To Storing Monofilament Fishing Line
Learning how to store your monofilament fishing line during the offseason will increase its lifespan. There are two things that you need to pay attention to that could affect your fishing line.
- UV Rays
We’ve already talked about the impacts that UV rays will have on monofilament. This is why I recommended installing the reel covers to protect the line on your reel from UV rays.
Temperature is the other factor. Monofilament should be stored between 65°F (15°C) to 77°F (25°C). When storing monofilament at temperatures near freezing, make sure that the line is completely dried. If the line is stored at freezing temperatures while still having water absorbed in the line may end up freezing, causing damage to the line.
Try to avoid storing the line in hot temperatures wherever possible. Depending on the chemistry of the line, prolonged exposure to extreme heat may cause damage. But for the majority of people, this will not be an issue.
How To Dispose Of Old Monofilament Fishing Line
Eventually, you’ll need to replace your monofilament line, but what do you do with the old line. If you improperly dispose of your old fishing line, it could have major effects on the environment.
Monofilament fishing can be recycled, but it can’t be recycled the same way you recycle your household items.
Instead, you’ll need to recycle your fishing line with your local fishing tackle store. There is a national recycling program just for monofilament fishing line. If you want to read more about how to properly dispose of your old monofilament line, click here.
Wrapping Things Up
Monofilament fishing line is a great line whether you are just starting or a seasoned angler. Mono has several different properties that make it versatile for a lot of different types of fishing.
The biggest reason why I love monofilament is not only because of how versatile it is but because of:
- How cheap the line is.
- How easy it is to use.
- How good it holds knots.
If you’re beginning to fish, I highly recommend that you use a monofilament fishing line to start with. It will allow you to practice your skills with knots and fishing techniques without breaking the bank with more expensive fishing lines.
Happy Fishing and Tight Lines