There are three types of fishing line that are predominantly used in bass fishing: monofilament, braid, and fluorocarbon lines. All three have different attributes and strengths, which we will go through below to help you choose the best fishing line for the type of bass fishing you are doing.
While this article is primarily about helping fishermen and women choose the best fishing line for bass, the principles discussed here apply to any species and any type of fishing.
Best fluorocarbon line
Best braided line
Best mono line
Monofilament is probably the type of line most fishermen are familiar with. Mono is produced as a single-strand line and does not have multiple filaments like braids or other lines that are strung out from multiple strands and intertwined, fused, braided or bundled together.
Monofilament is very easy to handle and work with, being flexible or “limp” and works great in a multitude of fishing situations. It also stretches by up to 25% which equates to great shock absorption when you set the hook.
Mono is typically also the cheapest of cost when compared to other fishing lines. One downside to mono is the lack of sensitivity due to its stretchy nature. And along with the sensitivity issues, it’s also weaker in terms of tensile strength, and UV light can damage it and make it brittle. But this usually does not occur until it has been in sunlight for hundreds of hours.
Mono line is best for:
- anglers on a budget
- applications where stretch is not a problem
Mono line is not so good for:
- applications where sensitivity is needed (timid fish whose bite is hard to detect)
- fish that are notoriously line shy (where fluoro is better),
- deep sea fishing where the length of line off the reel means it’s tough to get a good hook set or feel a bite with mono.
If the name fluorocarbon seems familiar to you, it’s because it’s used in everything from teflon to freon and many other products and materials. It covers a broad family of compounds including carbon, chlorine and fluorine.
Like mono, it is extruded into a single strand, but unlike mono the molecules of fluorocarbon line are more densely packed, making the line heavier and stronger than mono.
Fluoro features high abrasion resistance. As well as being much tougher, it does not breakdown in UV light. It’s also stiffer and less stretchy, allowing the angler to feel light bites and the lure contacting the bottom.
Some of the downsides to fluoro are that it’s harder to manage due to its stiffness, which makes it the line gain “memory”. It will coil after its been wrapped around a reel for an extended period of time. The lack of stretch also means it doesn’t have the shock strength of monofilament.
Fluorocarbon line is best for:
- leaders when fishing with braid, targeting line-shy fish that can see mono
- fishing in structure where fluoro is tougher than mono
Fluorocarbon line is not so good for:
- retaining knot strength – you need to pay much more care with your knots in fluoro thanks to its relative hardness
- fly fishing or top water fishing situations where you want your leader to float
Braided line is made up of materials such as Dacron, Dyneema or Spectra. It is made from multiple strands of this material that is interwoven and braided together providing extreme strength for a given diameter compared to the other two lines previously mentioned. Braided lines have almost no stretch, which means you will benefit from extreme sensitivity to fish bites and be able to feel if your lure is operating correctly and bumping off the bottom.
The materials and braiding are also very abrasion resistant allowing anglers to fish in areas that other lines would struggle with, without fear of breaking your line or losing a lure. Braided lines are also much thinner than mono and fluoro, meaning you can hold vastly more line on the same spool in comparison to the other two types.
- feeling timid bites, applications where sensitivity is key
- times when you need a good strong hookset and don’t want line stretch
- situations where casting length and accuracy are key where the thin diameter helps
- fishing in lily pads and weed where you want the line “cut” through the vegetation when a fish is hooked.
Not so good for:
- beginners, particularly in the wind (tends to tangle easily)
- applications where a bit of stretch and forgiveness are useful
So which to use – braid, mono or fluoro?
Ideally it is best to have two outfits in a given size – one spooled with mono, one with braid with a fluoro leader (some people will also have a straight fluoro outfit too).
The key to selecting which one to use depends on the type of fishing you are doing.
Best line to use for crankbait fishing for bass?
Monofilament is your best bet for crankbait fishing, due to small treble hooks and the tendency to come loose and lose fish, that stretch dampens your hook set and aids in hook-up rates.
Best line to use for topwater lures for bass?
Monofilament or braid both work well here, especially with walk-the-dog style lures – the flexibility of mono and braid help with lure performance. And just like for crankbaits, if the topwater lure has small treble hooks, mono is a good choice. If you’re fishing a lure like a buzzbait, braid might be your best bet.
Best line to use for soft plastics for bass?
Fluorocarbon is a good bet when using soft plastics where fish have a better chance to inspect your presentation and in clear waters your line could keep timid fish from biting. With fluorocarbon almost invisible under water, it’s the clear choice.
Best line to use for spinnerbaits for bass?
Braid is a good call on line type when you’ fishing lures like spinnerbaits. Spinnerbaits are a searching lure, and typically target the most aggressive fish at any given time. This means finesse and stretch are redundant, all you need is hooking power.
Best line to use for jigs for bass?
Fluorocarbon wins here. When jigging you want a line that’s going to be nearly invisible to fish, especially in presentations where they have time to notice small details.
Fishing Line Tips
When using line such as mono, one of the best things to do is to keep it out of the sun, along with that dry rot after prolonged exposure can make the line weak and brittle causing it to break easily and cause loss of lures and fish. Luckily mono is cheap and its a great idea to replace your line every season.
One of our favorite tricks with braided line is to reverse the line after a season or two to get more mileage out of it. Simply take the end of the line and attach it to the spool of another reel, and reel it up. This essentially takes the line end from the bottom of the previous reel and reverses it so the used line is on the bottom of the other reel’s spool. This effectively gives you a brand new and fresh line by simply reversing the ends.
The one takeaway we want to leave you with is to know the properties of all three line types and then you can make an informed choice on the best line for bass fishing in a variety of circumstances. This will change with the situation and some days you’ll probably use all three types of line. Adapt and experiment – it will make you a better angler.