It’s about the last thing most of think about when it comes to our fishing gear – am I using the best mono fishing line?
But to let you in on a little secret, for the fishing pros, this is one of the things they pay the most attention to in their fishing.
Using the best monofilament fishing line means you’ll get more hook ups and lose less fish and therefore have a more enjoyable fishing experience.
Best Mono Fishing Line: Our Top Picks
Cutting to the chase, Berkley Trilene XL is a superb monofilament fishing line and is our top pick.
We’ve given an honorable mention to Maxima Ultragreen for those who like a stiffer/harder fishing line from a quality manufacturer.
And our choice of best monofilament fishing line for the bargain conscious is the Stren High Impact which is tremendous value in 650 yard spools.
Best Monofilament Fishing Lines Summarised
- Berkley Trilene XL – America’s favourite monofilament fishing line and our choice too
- Maxima Ultragreen – tough, hard German quality mono fishing line
- Stren High Impact – great value fishing line for the money
- Spiderwire EZ – gets the job done
- KastKing Fluorocote – a hybrid fishing ine that gives best of both worlds
|Berkley Trilene XL||Maxima Ultragreen||Stren High Impact||Spiderwire EZ|
|Country of manufacture||United States||Germany||United States||United States|
|Diameter at 20lb||.018||0.17||0.018||0.018|
|Selling points||Smooth casting|
|Superior knot strength|
|Value (based on price per yard)||***||**||*****||****|
Best Monofilament Lines: Full Reviews
America’s favourite monofilament fishing line for a reason, Berkley Trilene XL boasts good suppleness and knot strength with abrasion resistance. Although slightly thicker than the Maxima for the same strength, this is a good quality monofilament fishing line at a reasonable price that we are perfectly content to fish with. Our winner among a strong group of fishing lines as the best monofilament line.
We love Maxima for its feel, it’s stiffness and durability and its consistent performance. We use Maxima for constructing fly fishing leaders where that stiffness helps create leaders that turn over properly in heavy wind. With that stiffness comes good abrasion resistance and minimal stretch to assist feeling every bite or movement of the lure. This monofilament fishing line is also slightly slimmer in diameter than its rivals for the title of best mono fishing line here.
The Stren fishing line brand is now in the same Pure Fishing stable as Berkley and Spiderwire. The Stren High Impact monofilament fishing line is a trusted brand, particularly in the US market and makes a good product at a brilliant price. As it implies in the name, this is a high impact monofilament fishing line meaning it can take some scrapes. It’s tough and abrasion resistant and US manufactured and comes in four colours – clear, hi-vis green, low-vis green and smoke blue. It is our clear choice for the best value monofilament fishing line out there.
While better known in many markets for its braided lines, Spiderwire makes both mono and fluorocarbon lines. I think the jury is out a bit on Spiderwire’s mono fishing line range. It’s not that it’s a bad fishing line, but there are less anglers who are prepared to endorse it wholeheartedly over competing brands.
We’ve put in this hybrid line in our line up of reviews as it is a good product that fulfils a need. As the name suggests, it is a mono line with a fluorocarbon coating. This helps with visibility (arguably – we haven’t seen tests) and abrasion resistance and also protects the fishing line from the water absorption and UV decay issues than can impact on monofilament fishing line in certain conditions.
Mono Fishing Line Buyers’ Guide:
The key features of the best mono fishing lines include strength, abrasion resistance, stretch, visibility, lack of memory and UV resistance.
Mono Line Strength
It’s beyond obvious to say this is the most important factor with fishing lines. All of the monofilament lines here can be relied upon to having a breaking strain that’s at least what’s promised.
Mono Fishing Line Abrasion resistance
Even the best monofilament fishing lines don’t have the same abrasion resistance as fluorocarbon lines. If this is an important factor for you – for example if you are fishing around sharp rocks or other structure – then hard monofilament like Maxima may be the best mono fishing line for you.
Nylon (the key material of monofilament fishing lines) has more in-built stretch than either braided line (which has virtually none) and fluorocarbon. In some situations, this is good as the stretch can act as a shock absorber. But in applications where hookset is an issue – for example fish with hard, boney mouths – particularly when fishing with long casts, stretch is a real problem.
Monofilament fishing line is much more buoyant than either fluoro or braid and than makes it easily the best choice for topwater fishing or other fishing where you want to fish the upper part of the water column. It is also the best choice for dry fly fishing tippet for this reason.
Obviously the less visible your line is under the water, the more likely you are to attract a bite. Fluorocarbon is invisible under the water. Monofilament, less so, but modern brands have good concealment properties. Obviously in turbid water this is not an issue. The other thing to consider is that for a given strength mono has a smaller diameter than fluoro line and for that reason some anglers prefer it when fishing for finnicky fish.
Line memory refers to a line remain somewhat coiled even after you remove it from the spool. This tends to impede casting length and accuracy and increase the likelihood of tangles so is best avoided.
Unlike fluorocarbon, monofilament is prone to losing strength when exposed to UV rays for long periods of time. This means it pays to keep reels stored out of the sunlight to make sure you are fishing with the best premium monofilament fishing line available.
Mono knot strength
There is little doubt that mono is easier than fluoro and braid for knot tying. The suppleness of mono lines makes tying the best knots a breeze. Mono retains a greater percentage of the peak breaking strain when knotted and anglers experience less errors with knots than when tying with fluoro. For further advise on tying better knots check out our instructional videos. They are tied from the angler’s perspective making them easier to follow than most other YouTube knot tying videos. Also check out our article on the 7 knots you need to know to fish effectively.
Different colors of monofilament line
While clear mono is the most popular choice, there are a number of situations where people like to use different colored mono:
- Blue mono – popular with offshore fishing fanatics blue is perceived to match the ocean color
- Pink mono – with pink, the theory is that the red spectrum of colors is the first to fade out in underwater light
- Yellow Hi-Vis – this is used in areas where people are fishing in a group and it is safer or more cohesive for people to see each others’ lines. Think a crowded pier or a boat deck.
Mono line tests and prices
The most comprehensive recently published breaking strain tests on mono lines showed some variance in actual breaking strain. All lines bar one broke at above the rated breaking strain (30 pound test); some quite at a weight significantly above the rated breaking strain (47.4lb was the top reading).
The mono lines test showed similar levels of stretch – about 33% when the line broke.
Where the lines showed more variability was in price. Costly lines were often several times more expensive than cheaper options when evaluated on a per yard cost.
The lines we have included here strike a great balance between quality, reputation, performance and price. Stick to these brands and choose larger spools to keep the price down is our best advice.
Monofilament line FAQs
When to use mono line?
Mono line really is the workhorse of the recreational fishing industry and used by more anlgers than any other type of fishing line. It is the line that most people use and that’s for good reasons – it is cheap, reliable and effective. We use mono where we want the line to float or at least sit in the upper part of the water column. We use it to make our own fly fishing leaders and many other general fishing situations.
The main times we won’t use it is when we choose a fluoro leader in preference to mono when fishing with a braided main line. This is typically to maximise stealth and abrasion resistance.
What about Fluorocarbon Coated Monofilament Line?
Mono lines with a fluorocarbon coating are designed to eliminate water penetration, which can compromise the performance and strength of mono lines after several hours of constant immersion.
Fluorocarbon coated lines retain some of the positive characteristics of mono lines (castability, low memory, feel and high knot strength) with the visibility advantage of fluorocarbon along with protection from water absorption.
What strength mono line do I need?
The easiest way to look at this is by examining what fish you are going to chase (along with other considerations such as, potentially, sharp rocks or barnacles nearby that might mean you go up a few lbs in test).
As a general rules, these are some appropriate mono breaking strains to use for particular popular freshwater species:
Trout, Crappie and Panfish: 2 to 5 pound test
Bass, Walleye: 6-12 pound test
Pike, Musky, Catfish: 13lb to 20lb plus pound test
How often should I replace monofilament line?
Monofilament does break down with UV exposure. Storing reels spooled with mono, or spare spools, can improve the shelf life of the line. We recommend changing line that is actively used during the day every two to three years, and more often if used frequently. Spools and reels that are kept in a cupboard or other dark place can be kept for longer than this.
Remember when disposing of line to do it properly – we’ve put all the info you need on safe disposal of fishing line right here. In summary, try to use the line disposal bins they are becoming common at boat ramps, piers and other popular sites.
The line from these bins is collected and sent to Berkley for recycling. If you can’t recycle the line, then make sure you cut it up into small pieces before sending it to landfill. This ensures that it doesn’t create problems for birds and other animals.
We all need to play a role in protecting our aquatic environment and preserving our social licence as recreational fishers and our post on line disposal is designed to help with that.
Final thoughts on the best mono lines
All these lines offer industry leading levels of quality in each of the above criteria. The final choice for you will depend on your budget, but you can’t go wrong with the Berkley Trilene XL or the Maxima Ultragreen … and if you are on a tight budget, the Stren High Impact. But it’s worth noting that compared to the best fluorocarbon lines, monofilament is not expensive – so buy the best you can afford. When you are hooked up to a big steelhead or a tarpon in the salt, you certainly won’t regret spending a few extra bucks on a premium monofilament fishing line. Grab one of these three recommended lines to spool up your favourite spinning reel or baitcasting reel and go and catch yourself a fish.