What’s Your Line?

Being a full-service bait and tackle shop in Muscatine, we offer professional line spooling. We have a state-of-the-art line winder, and I couldn’t even begin to guess how many miles of line we unspool and spool in a given season for customers. The line winder offers way better results for installing new fishing line on to a reel as opposed to using a screwdriver and a cardboard box or some other homemade contraption. The line winder puts the perfect amount of tension on the spool to prevent bird nest, line twist, or backlash. Well, I’ve gloated enough about the line winder, let’s get on with it already. 


Walk into any good bait and tackle shop, and you are bombarded with an endless amount of choices in fishing line. At my shop, we offer mono, fluorocarbon, braid, copolymer, nanofil, superlines, fireline, xt, xl, slime line, Japanese braid, and well, you get the picture. There is a lot of choices, so I will try to break them down for you, let you know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and where and when you’re most likely to use these different types of line.


  So, let’s start with probably the most common one out there, monofilament. Now, if you ever bought a combo off the rack that came pre-spooled with line, there is a 99.99% chance that line was monofilament, often referred to as just mono.


 What is mono? As its name implies, monofilament fishing line is a single strand of material, as opposed to multi-filament lines, which are strung from multiple strands that are fused, braided, or bundled together. Monofilament can be extruded from different materials, but nylon is by far the most common and popular medium.


 Why use mono? Mono is easy to handle and works great for almost all sorts of recreational fishing, such as taking the grandkids out or for a novice fisherman who maybe gets out two or three times a season. This is a bobber and lawn chair friendly type of line, and rather inexpensive.


 Mono stretches far more than any other types of line, which gives it a forgiveness factor other lines can’t match. If your drag sticks or you set the hook too hard, mono compensates by stretching up to twenty-five percent or more. By stretching under pressure, mono also helps prevent your hook from tearing a hole in a fish’s mouth, which can make it easier for the fish to come unhooked.


 Mono is a great all-round line, but it does have its drawbacks as well. Not very sensitive, if you’re jig fishing and relying on feeling your way around the brush pile or bottom, this is not the line you want.  Mono also has a lower tensile strength, which means it has a thicker diameter at a given break strength. This can be a benefit in slowing sink rate, but it also means lures won’t run as deep on mono as other lines.


 Also, prolonged exposure to UV light can weaken mono, although it may take hundreds of hours to incur appreciable damage. I recommend changing nylon monofilament lines at least once a year.


In two weeks, check back to see Jerry’s thoughts on fluorocarbon lines.