Types of fishing line explained: Mono, Fluoro and Braid

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One of the main choices in fishing is what kind of line to use. The line is your all-important connection to the fish once it has taken your lure, bait or fly.

There are three main types of fishing line:

That’s why we pay careful attention to what kind of line is best for various fishing situations.

We are share our thoughts below on what kind of line to use in a particular situation and why we have chosen that type.

Mono (monofilament) Lines

Mono is tried and trusted line that pretty all fishermen and women use in many fishing situations. Monofilament line is made from a single strand of nylon extruded into a clear line that remains relatively supple, casts well and is easy to tie strong knots with.

Mono retains quite a bit of stretch – it can stretch by as much as 30% at its breaking point – so it is good for applications where you need the line to be a bit forgiving such as open water situations where a fish isn’t likely to bury you in structure.


  • Supple, low memory and ties good knots
  • Forgiving
  • Less dense than fluoro so good for floating line presentations


  • Less resistant to abrasion than fluoro
  • Stretch is not always good in structure
  • Strength decays if left exposed to UV light

Our choice: Berkley Trilene

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Fluoro (fluorocarbon) Lines

Fluorocarbon is an advanced line made from polyvinylidene difluoride (or PVDF for short). Like mono, it’s extruded in a single strand but it’s molecules are packed more closely resulting in a denser line that sinks. It’s key characteristics for fishing are its very low visibility and stretch and good abrasion resistance. Fluoro is popular as a leader material when fishing with braided line.


  • Low stretch
  • Sinks
  • Almost invisible underwater
  • UV resistant


  • Expensive
  • Less supple than monofilament (need to tie knots very carefully)
  • Sinking ability not good for all presentations

Our choice: Sunline FC Super Sniper

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Braided Lines

Braided line is different to the other types of fishing line in that it is not transparent. It is usually bright colored in fact! It is still a very effective type of fishing line when used as a main line with a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. Braided fishing line is strong, thin and deson’t stretch and allows you to cast further with less effort than any other type of fishing line.


  • Ultra thin
  • Long casting
  • Doesn’t stretch


  • Easy to tangle
  • Not good for beginners
  • Can be hard to fish with in heavy wind

Our choice: Daiwa J-Braid x8

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Ice Fishing Lines

Ice fishing can be brutal on lines with extreme cold and jagged ice combining to weaken some lesser products. Your line has to be able to withstand this gruelling environment to be reliable or you will lose fish.

Click on the button below to get our breakdown of the best mono, fluoro and braided ice fishing lines

Best line by species

Dan Lovecek fly fishing sunny day Rubicon with trout

Different types of species call for different fishing techniques and different types of fishing line. See our breakdown of which lines are best for various species.

Fishing line advice

Spool of fluorocarbon line with soft plastic lures and snap swivels

We also have a lot of content on fishing lines that provides advice rather than reviews. Feel free to take a look at some of these articles that delve deeper into the subject of fishing lines.

Anglers who are interested in the precise properties of different types of lines might be interested in our fishing line diameter chart which provides the thickness of line of various breaking strains across braid, mono and fluoro.

Finally, we want to leave people with some thoughts on the importance of recycling used fishing line.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water.