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
- Easy to use
- Works well for trolling or casting
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Doesn’t sink well
- Sensitive to sunlight
- Breaks down over time
- Drifts in currents
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.
- Sinks faster, good for bottom fishing
- Excellent choice for making leaders
- Abrasion proof
- Doesn’t break down like monofilament
- Stiff and heavy
- Denser, so less line fits on spool
- Hard to tie knots
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.
- Smaller diameter than monofilament
- Great for long casts
- Doesn’t stretch
- Does not break down in sunlight
- Doesn’t respond well to jerks, fast dives, and changes in direction
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 FC is a high-performance fluorocarbon line that works great for any water clarity conditions and for any species, including line shy fish.
It features triple resin coatings which offer greater ease of use, creating a line with extra flexibility and suppleness as well as good abrasion resistance.
The flexibility of the Super FC Sniper makes it closer to monofilament, and overall has lower memory and better casting properties when compared to other fluorocarbon lines on the market, putting it into a league of its own.
The coatings also help by giving the line better abrasion resistance, making it great for working around timber, rocks, or other heavy cover that can take a toll on the fishing line.
- Great flexibility
- Virtually invisible in the water
- High abrasion resistance
Best braided line for saltwater fishing:
PowerPro spectra has become one of the most popular braided lines on the market today. Powerpro has 5 times the life longevity of monofilament lines and is 10 times stronger than steel in terms of tensile strength.
Due to the strength and materials used in constructing the line, it can last for several seasons, and I have used the same Power Pro line for years on one spinning reel, I actually think it’s been four years total.
- Incredibly long life-span
- Very high tensile strength
- Small diameter fishing line when compared to other line types
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.