It’s about the last thing most of us 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 of tremendous value in 650-yard spools.
America’s favourite monofilament line for a reason, Berkley Trilene XL boasts good suppleness and knot strength with abrasion resistance.
Great for those who like a stiffer/harder line from a quality manufacturer. It is a consistently strong performer and good for fishing structure.
Best Monofilament Fishing Lines Summarised
- Berkley Trilene XL – America’s favorite 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 line that gives the 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 favorite 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 is 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 colors - 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.
We’ve put this hybrid line in our lineup of reviews as it is a good product that fulfills 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 that can impact the 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 have 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 structures – 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) or 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 fluoro or braid, making it easily the best choice for topwater fishing or other fishing where you want to fish the upper part of the water column. For this reason, it is also the best choice for dry fly fishing tippets.
The less visible your line is under the water, the more likely you attract a bite. Fluorocarbon is invisible under the water. Monofilament is 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, so some anglers prefer it when fishing for finicky fish.
Line memory refers to a line remaining 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 it 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 fewer errors with knots than when tying with fluoro.
For further advice 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 several 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 of 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 above the rated breaking strain (30-pound test); some were 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 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. Sticking to these brands and choosing 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 is used by more anglers 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 sit in the water column’s upper part. 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 maximize 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 rule, 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 the 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 the safe disposal of the 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 the 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 license 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.