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Fishing line is perhaps the most fundamental component of tackle – you have got to be careful in its selection, figure out the details such as yardage, breaking stress, and type based on where you’ll be fishing and what you’ll be fishing!
These intricacies can be bewildering for someone who is just starting out in angling, and with spinning reels further considerations are thrown into the mix e.g. wind knots and line snapping, which require even more deliberation before a line can be decided on.
I had to go through some serious trial and error to figure out which kind of fishing line went with which fishing situation, and it’s not something I want other rookies to go through: which is why I’ve put together this guide which discusses in detail, the features you must deliberate in order to pick the best fishing line for spinning reels.
Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting Monofilament Service Spool
Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon 110 Yd. Spool
Power Pro Spectra Fiber Braided Fishing Line
Fishingsir Braided Fishing Line Stealth Superline
4 [12-120 lbs]; 8 [65-120 lbs]
The first thing a rookie angler should do when hunting for the right tackle is learn about the qualities and limitations of the various kinds of products in the market:
Perhaps the most widely used type of fishing line around, mono is preferred by anglers who want the line to stretch during casting. This is especially suitable for light test line to improve fighting performance when dealing with a heavier fish. However, you’ll also need to keep an eye on your drag due to this elasticity of mono line.
Because of its low cost, it is a favorite for rookie and budget restricted anglers. An added bonus is the fact that it can be obtained colorless, which makes it nearly invisible to fish – mono is sometimes used as a leader line because of this characteristic.
A major drawback is its memory i.e. its ability to retain its form that can result in loose loops of line falling of the spool during casting, and tangling. This compels the angler to match the breaking limit for which their reel is rated with the pound test value of the mono line.
Monofilament’s elasticity also makes it more prone to stretching and fraying, so you’ll have to replace it more frequently than other types of line.
Fluoro is a more recent introduction to the angling market, made from a compound that incorporates two crucial features: clarity and durability. Furthermore, the chemical composition also enhances the smoothness of the final product.
In addition to being chemically inert (and thus more resistant to saltwater electrolysis), it can also handle abrasive damage admirably and has a compact diameter compared to mono line. In other words, you can pack a greater capacity of fluoro line than mono for the same test rating. Fluoro line refracts sunlight better than mono, making it almost perfectly invisible in water – again, this makes it a suitable candidate for use as a leader line.
However, fluoro has memory issues just like mono – in fact, even worse: it sticks to its shape and doesn’t loosen when it is spooled into the reel, so you should be prepared for frequent line tangling / knotting problems with this line.
Fluoro is generally more expensive than mono, and in some cases, the cost can even exceed that of decent braided line – for this reason, I’ll advise sticking to using it as a leader line for most anglers.
Braided line is what you should go for if you prioritize performance, strength and line capacity: a braided line will have several times the breaking strength of a mono line of the same diameter, which means that not only will it be able to take more punishment, you’ll also be able to spool more of it in the reel.
Because it is super thin, you won’t have to replace your ultralight spinning reel simply because it can’t hold a heavy pound test mono-reel. Furthermore, braid has almost no memory (the minimal memory present can be attributed to the outer coating), which brings down the typical spinning reel problems mentioned above by quite a bit.
Besides being inherently resistant to UV, rot and abrasion, braided line also has practically zero stretch, yielding excellent sensitivity – something that you’ll appreciate when fishing for lighter catch.
The flipside with braid is that it is visible in water, which can be a problem when you’re angling in clear waters (a solution is to tie the braided line to a transparent fluoro leader). Alternately, you could pick a braided line with a colored coating that blends in with the color of the water if it isn’t clear.
The species of fish will determine its weight - you should pack a fishing line to match the amount of resistance you expect the fish to put up. For instance, the best fishing line for bass spinning reels used in surf casting will have considerable breaking strength.
A suitably rated monofilament line with sufficient yardage may not easily fit into a low-cost spinning reel – so you’ll have to use braided line (which is considerably more compact for the same test rating) instead.
Freshwater doesn’t impose a lot of restrictions on the type of tackle you can use – the most you’ll have to consider is visibility – on the other hand, saltwater will have you thinking about durability, in addition to visibility. In general, it is recommended to use braided line in salt water since it is more resistant to corrosion, being made out of polyethylene fibers.
Similarly, if you’ll be fishing through hard cover and rocks, you should pick a line that can handle fraying and abrasion – mono lines, because of their elasticity would be unsuitable candidates for this purpose, whereas braided line will do just fine.
It also matters how you’ll be casting: if you’ll be surf fishing from the pier or beach, you’ll have to cast a good amount of line – your spinning reel must be able to hold that amount of yardage for the required breaking stress. If the test rating is high enough, mono would be out of the question because its higher diameter would make it impossible to pack the necessary yardage, so you’d have to go for braided.
If you’ll be fishing on a boat in the water though, you’ll have much more freedom in choosing the type of line to use.
While even braid has become quite affordable these days, if you’re going on a lengthier expedition, you may have to consider the aforementioned factors with the added constraint of money. In such a scenario, I’ll advise you to pick one or two core traits that are a priority for you and make your decision based on those.
For instance, if you’ll be surf fishing in clear water and fishing deep, the ideal approach would be to use braid with a fluoro leader – however, you could get away with using only fluoro (to save cash) if you could compromise on the memory issues brought on by the latter.
For professional bass fishers interested in a no-nonsense, general-purpose fishing line, the Berkley Trilene XL Monofilament is an affordable candidate.
Even though monofilament is notorious for being prone to looping and knotting, the manufacturer minimizes this problem (as far as mono line can go) by ensuring optimal smoothness of their product, which basically turns your reel into a ‘rocket launcher’ as some consumers have reported. You’re able to cast over considerable distances without having to worry about the usual issues associated with mono.
The fishing line also deserves praise for its abrasion resistance and reliable breaking strength – in fact, some users say that they have been able to land considerably heavier fish using a test line that was rated for much less!
The manufacturer also states that this line is quite sensitive to hook-ups, which is surprising for mono. However, again, it has been repeatedly praised by anglers for its stretch-free performance, even after months of fishing in saltwater. Available in low-vis green, fluorescent and clear varieties, you can use it in almost all water conditions.
This is perhaps the best fishing line for saltwater spinning reels in all but one respect: it isn’t rated for more than 30 lbs. test strength, so you can’t fish for catch heavier than that. Obviously, this is an issue with mono in general, and the only solution is to go for braid.
Here’s another great monofilament line geared towards regular anglers who want an inexpensive solution they can depend on.
Special Micro-Resin Technology is employed to enhance the breaking and knot strengths of the Elite series; knot strength is a major advantage that mono has over other types of line, and this particular brand makes the knot even better! The unique extrusion process also gives the line a smooth surface, ensuring that common issues that impede castability, such as guide resistance and loose spooling are eliminated.
Utilizing G2 precision winding technology (only on 330 yd. spool size), the manufacturer has done away with a major peeve for anglers who use mono-line – memory. Combined with the micro-resin technology, this yields optimum casting of the line, free of twists and loops.
While it is praiseworthy that this mono-line is available in higher test ratings than is the norm, I was slightly disappointed that the higher test lines aren’t available in 330 yards spools, so they lack the G2 precision winding – as such, I’ll recommend that you stick with the lower ratings meant for comparatively lightweight fishing, and use a proper braided line for anything heavier.
Well known for its strength and flexibility, the Vanish series from Berkley is a fine candidate for use as a leader line in clear water when you’ll be casting over longer distances with a braided fishing line as base.
As the name implies, the Vanish line resembles water in its light refractive properties, to the point that it is near invisible in water so the fish can’t spot it as they go for the bait. Plus, the manufacturer has recently upped the strength by 20%, which means the fluorocarbon line is suitable for extreme fishing scenarios involving tough cover, saltwater and abrasive rocks.
While users have been quite pleased with the way the discretion this line affords, it does suffer from expected fluoro problems such as high memory and weak knots – the latter can be remedied by choosing an appropriate knot for the application, but you’ll have to put up with the high memory issue that can lead to twists and loops.
Fortunately, Berkley Vanish is quite cheap (even at its commendable maximum test strength of 60lbs, it has an incredibly low cost per yard if you do the math!), so you can always replace it after six to eight fishing trips if you find that it has developed memory to an intolerable degree. Also remember that this product is quite flexible, so you’ll be sacrificing some sensitivity for the sake of invisibility.
Crafted from triple strands of Spectra® fibers, this braided fishing line provides highly smooth and sensitive performance for long distance casting, enabling you to feel the bite of fish species such as bass, panfish and walleye – even in deep cover.
The smoothness of this offering merits praise – even for a braided fishing line: thanks to the Enhanced Body Technology used by the manufacturer, issues such as knot failure, memory, line snapping and guide resistance are eliminated.
The tightly braided fibers have practically zero stretch which gives the final product strong resistance against damage from abrasive rocks and saltwater. Users have reported favorably about the line’s breaking strength too – some even stating that it can handle a lot more weight than the test rating.
An obvious issue with this line is that it is colored (in shades such as Hi-Vis Yellow, Red and Moss Green), so you’ll have to use a leader when you’re fishing in clear water.
You can count on this line to handle a huge amount of drag (as high as 150 lbs!) but, there have been a few complaints about line breakages which could be a result of either QC problems or the customer being shipped an incorrectly rated product.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of braid without the usual cost associated with big brand names, Fishingsir Superline is definitely worth a look.
Available in 4 strand and 8 strand Dyneema® fiber versions, for 12-120 lbs. and 65-120 lbs. test ranges respectively, this product gives you the best value for the money among braided lines as far as abrasion resistance, knot resilience, sensitivity, and smoothness are concerned.
If at all possible, you should stick with the 8 strand variety, which is a lot smoother than its 4 strand sibling, yielding vastly superior castability and general strength at a very nominal price margin.
There have been no major complaints about this product – even the random issues with breakages and knotting that you’ll find in more expensive competitors are absent – which says a lot about the quality control implemented by the manufacturer, even at the low price point they’ve set.
While it may not be a big deal, it is worth mentioning that this line is available in a plethora of colors, both traditional and unorthodox e.g. yellow, blue, black, moss green and multi-colored.
As you will have realized after reading this guide, there are plenty of options available to you when it comes to choosing a fishing line – and, quite frankly, there isn’t one fixed answer to the question of what is the best fishing line for spinning reels – simply because the activity is subjective to a lot of external factors.
However, putting price aside, I’d have to say that the Fishingsir Braided Fishing Line Stealth Superline has my vote for the top spot: it incorporates the tight, memory-free, robust and long lasting performance characteristic of braided line – something that mono- and fluoro- varieties simply cannot rival. And while it may be costlier than both, it still considerably cheaper than the other braided options out there.
Of course, you may have to combine it with a transparent mono leader in certain situations, but overall, the performance you get will be worth the extra expenditure.
Loves everything to do with fishing and gear.
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