There are three main types of fishing line available on the market today: monofilament, fluorocarbon and braid. While all three will get the job done, applying the appropriate line to the appropriate situation will lead to more fish hooked up and more fish landed.
All fishing reels and rods were designed to hold a particularly sized line. Reels will list a set number of line poundage per yards (such as 6lb/210yds) and rods will list a line class (such as 6-10lb). What this is really referring to is not so much the line’s pound test, but rather the line’s diameter. However, these classifications were created when the majority of anglers were spooling their entire reel with monofilament line, which has been the primary line used by anglers for the last half century.
Technological advancements in fishing line have seen fluorocarbon and braided line ascend to the mainstream market. Why is this important? Because the same pound test for each of these three types of fishing line have differences in overall line diameter, which can make it difficult to pair the appropriate line when the rod and reel are telling you that they require line with a certain pound test for optimal casting and retrieving performance.
For example, let’s say you have a spinning reel that says it will hold 165 yards of 10-pound line, so you purchase one 165 yard spool of 10-pound braided line and put it on your reel only to realize that you didn’t fully spool the reel. Why? 10-pound monofilament, which is what the reel was referring to has a line diameter of .011 inches and 10-pound braided line has a diameter of .008 inches. Below is a chart to show a breakdown of the three line types when it comes to pound test and line diameter.
(For reference, we used Berkley Trilene XL for the monofilament line (2-30lbs), Berkley Trilene Big Game for the monofilament (40-60lbs), Berkley Vanish for the fluorocarbon line and Spiderwire Stealth for the braided line)
As you can see, if you have a reel classified for holding 180 yds of 12-pound monofilament line, you could actually spool 180 yards of 40-pound braided line or 180 yards of 14-pound fluorocarbon line. This increases the break strength of your fishing setup without sacrificing total amount of line. The more expensive fluorocarbon and braided lines will typically have a slightly smaller diameter when compared to this chart, but 1/1000th of an inch is not going to make a difference for this discussion.
For optimal casting, retrieving and fish fighting performance always stay within the line and lure weight classification ranges that your rod and reel recommend on their labeling. Remember those classifications are tailored for monofilament line, so if using fluorocarbon or braided line make sure to match the diameter equivalent.
So now that we’ve blazed through what your rod and reel line classifications are all about, let’s talk about the line itself.