Saltwater angling requires a different set of tricks and tools than freshwater fishing. The lightweight spinning rod you use for trout fishing is not going to stand up to a sailfish or monster tuna. While monofilament is the most recommended line for freshwater fishing, it might not always be the best choice for saltwater settings.
Having the best saltwater fishing line on your reel can mean the difference between landing a trophy fish or coming home with no more than a hard-luck story.
This article will discuss the pros and cons of the three main types of saltwater fishing line: monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon. We will examine the advantages and disadvantages of each type to help you decide on the best line for your needs.
Choosing the best saltwater fishing line
Before you decide what kind of line you need, there are a few things you should consider.
- What are you fishing for?
- Are you trolling or casting?
- Are you bottom fishing or top water fishing?
- Do you want visible or invisible line?
Monofilament is the most widely used line choice for saltwater fishing. It is inexpensive, retains its strength, and comes in different diameters and drag weights. Because it is easy to knot and resistant to breaking, many charter captains recommend it. Monofilament works great on cast rods, but does equally well when trolling. Its slight stretch allows the fish to make deep dives and quick changes of direction without breaking the line.
|Has some stretch||Doesn’t sink well|
|Inexpensive||Sensitive to sunlight|
|Easy to use||Breaks down over time|
|Works well for trolling or casting||Drifts in currents|
|Comes in a variety of colors|
Fluorocarbon line, because of its unique refractive properties, is virtually invisible in water. This makes it an excellent choice for presenting the bait to the fish, and leaders are often made from this stiff, dense line. It sinks faster than monofilament and has good abrasion resistance compared to other types of line. Fluorocarbon is less vulnerable to UV light than monofilament. Fluorocarbon is a good choice for fishing directly below a bridge or boat because it is so stiff and abrasion resistant.
|Invisibility||Stiff and heavy|
|Sinks faster, good for bottom fishing||Denser, so less line fits on spool|
|Excellent choice for making leaders||Hard to tie knots|
|Doesn’t break down like monofilament|
Braided line is made by taking many small strands of line and twisting them together into a braided rope. Because it is made up of many strands, braided line has superior strength and almost no stretch. In order to use braided line effectively, you need to use a light touch and turn your drag settings way down. The smaller diameter of the braided line gives you more yardage on the spool than monofilament of the same weight. This small diameter also makes braided line great for long casts.
|Strong||Doesn’t respond well to jerks, fast dives, and changes in direction|
|Smaller diameter than monofilament|
|Great for long casts|
|Does not break down in sunlight|
Best saltwater line reviews:
Taking factors like strength, abrasion resistance, visibility, durability, and performance into consideration, we chose the best saltwater line in each of the three types: monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon.
Best monofilament line for saltwater fishing:
Maxima Ultragreen is a smooth finish, green-colored monofilament line that is virtually invisible in water. It is available in weights from 1lb to 300lb test and rated high in reviews among freshwater and saltwater anglers. It has exceptional knot retention and resists breakage. Like all monofilaments, it tends to dry out and become stiff after months of repeated use and exposure to sunlight. Manufactured in Germany, the line has an excellent consistency in diameter and finish.
- Virtually invisible in water
- Strong and durable
Best fluorocarbon line for saltwater fishing:
Sunline Super FC Sniper is their best-selling product and highly recommended by many pro fishermen. The line is available in clear or light green color and, like all fluorocarbons, it vanishes in the water due to its unique design. Sunline Super FC Sniper comes in weights from 2lb to 30lb test and works well on spinning or casting reels. It has excellent abrasion resistance and virtually no stretch. For best results, wet the line before tightening knots.
- Disappears in water
- Great for leaders and tippets
Best braided line for saltwater fishing:
PowerPro Spectra is a four-strand braided line made up of ultra fine, coated polymer strands. Unlike some other lines that lay flat, Spectra has a square shape that appears round, like monofilament or fluorocarbon. Its amazing abrasion resistance makes this an excellent line for bottom fishing around docks or rocks. The line is fairly supple and casts pretty well. Its green color helps it to be less visible in the water.
- Extremely strong, will not break
- Low memory and few backlashes
Final thoughts on the best line for saltwater fishing
The line you choose is going to be determined by the type of fish you are after and the location of your angling adventure.
Monofilament line in salt water
Monofilament is strong, inexpensive, and has enough stretch to be forgiving. Unfortunately, it breaks down when exposed to sun and salt. This is the tradeoff you have for using it. You just have to be prepared to replace it more often than braid or fluoro. If you are angling for tuna or stripers, mono is the best because it can stand up to the sudden sharp turns and deep dives these fish present when they fight.
Fluorocarbon in salt water
If you are in a heavily fished area, Fluorocarbon might be the best choice for you. Its virtual invisibility confuses fish who have been inundated with lures. Its limited stretch makes it great for bottom feeders and hit-and-run swimmers like flounder and drum. The basic downfall of fluorocarbon is its stiffness. That’s why most anglers prefer to use is for leaders, rather than spooling a reel with it.
Braided line in salt water
Braided line is strong and almost unbreakable. This gives it staying power, but it also lets you lose a fish quickly if he thrashed or leaps. The durability of braided makes it great for fishing in grassy marshes or along rocky shores, as long as you don’t get snagged. This line is tough and it will cut your hands in a heartbeat. For surf fishing, braided line is your friend because it stands up to tidal pulls and bottom beating.