3 Best Handlines for Fishing

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best handlines for fishing without a rod this year.  You see, one of the guys I go out deep sea fishing with refuses to use a rod and reel preferring a handline instead.  He recons that he can feel the fish and enjoy the fight a little better. 

And even though this fishing technique may be old-fashioned, handline fishing offers impressive good points, such as fishing with minimal gear and catching a wide variety of fish. It is also a good starting point for your young ones to enjoy angling.  So in tribute to my mate above, and for those of you looking for something simple to fish with, I have had a good look around and come up with three good options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended handlines for fishing

I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

 Fishing HandlinePriceGet it
best handlines for fishing - Challenge 50140 Yo-Yo Hand Reel Multi One SizeChallenge 50140 Yo-Yo Hand Reel$CURRENT PRICE
best handlines for fishing - Squiddies Flip Reel Cuban Yoyo Hand Fishing Reel with Line and TackleSquiddies Hand Fishing Reel$$CURRENT PRICE
best handlines for fishing - Yoyito Aluminum Hand Line Reel Pocket Travel Fishing KitYoyito Aluminum Hand Line$$$CURRENT PRICE

What are handlines for fishing?

Handline fishing is effectively a length of fishing line wound around a ‘holder’ – usually made of plastic or aluminum but can be anything from a drink bottle or even a piece of cardboard.  It is a minimalist way of angling with most small enough to fit in one hand and great if you do not have the space for a rod and reel.

Many outdoor enthusiasts keep these small gadgets on hand for emergencies. They are ready for anything, including catching fish with nothing more than the line and some bait. You can also attach the handline to a lure to jig up and down if you wish.

best handlines for fishing - purple handline

What should you be looking for?

The following should be considered as you look for a good handline for fishing.

  1. Durability
  2. Comfort
  3. Additions


Handlines are what stand between you and your prized fish, so it has to be durable enough to give you the upper hand. Reliable handlines are heavy-duty and can endure the fight of aggressive fish and even the harsh angling environments we are accustomed to.

They should not break easily and although the standard material for handlines is nylon monofilament, I suggest you look for tournament grade types as you are fishing without the aid of a fishing rod to take some of the weight.

best handlines for fishing - man fishing with handline


Excellent handlines are also comfortable to use.  This is achieved by using ergonomic handles that give you the necessary grip yet still protects your hand during the fight.


  1. Pouch: This functions as a storage solution for your handline. When inside a carrying purse, the handline can be easily stored in your fishing vest or hip packs.
  2. Stainless wire: Some manufacturers include stainless wire in their products to prevent hook loss due to fish bites.
  3. Built-in cutter: There will be cases where you would need to cut the line, and a built-in cutter helps you do this with relative ease.
  4. Tackle inclusions: Some handlines come with hooks and sinkers which is very useful in keeping everything in the one spot.


How do you fish with a handline?

Fishing with a handline is the same as with a rod.  The line is cast into the water via a spinning action and the retrieved by hand once the fish bites.  Greater care however is needed when landing your catch as you don’t have the rod to assist with the weight of the fish.

Can you catch big fish with handline?

Absolutely! Handlines come in all sizes and can be used for fishing with children right up to deep sea game fish.  Just make sure your line is strong enough to handle the weight.

How do you rig a handline for fishing?

Handlines can be rigged in the exact same fashion as a rod and reel hookset.  This includes dropshot, Carolina and running sinker rigs or even lures as well.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Challenge 50140 Yo-Yo Hand Reel

This handline caters to your basic needs in catching any type of fish. It has straightforward construction with a durable monofilament line. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Challenge
  • Material: Nylon monofilament
  • Weight: 0.02 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.6 x 6.6 x 2 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Compact design
  • Comfy handle

Why have I chosen it?

This product is perfect for emergencies, whether you are out there fishing or exploring the great outdoors. The size of the handline fits perfectly the angler’s hand and it comes with a line that can handle medium-sized fish. A great option for beginners and children as well.

2. Squiddies Hand Fishing Reel

This second option has high sensitivity and impressive durability. It is designed to provide you with a reliable fishing line when unexpected situations arise.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Squiddies
  • Material: Durable nylon monofilament
  • Weight: 0.75 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎6.4 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Sturdy hook and sinker
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Built-in line cutter

Why have I chosen it?

This handline comes in a complete package. Upon purchase, you get a sturdy hook and an environment-friendly sinker so you are always good to go. The ergonomic handle of this item gives you the necessary friction to hold the reel when a fish fight occurs and it is so easy to use that kids can have fun angling with this handline as well.

3. Yoyito Aluminum Hand Line

My last recommended handline is premium quality that can endure any type of punishment from sizable fish and works well in any kind of fishing waters. It is small enough to fit in a tackle box, back pocket, backpack, or other small space as well.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Yoyito
  • Material: Tournament grade monofilament
  • Weight: 0.53 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎3.5 x 3.5 x 1 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Portable pouch
  • Sturdy sinkers
  • Durable hooks

Why have I chosen it?

The nickel handline measures 3.5 inches in diameter and is only an inch thick. It has precisely placed finger holes to secure enough grip to land a large freshwater or saltwater fish.  It also includes a 30-pound tournament grade line which means you can use it to catch larger species as well.  This is a great option for those who like to use a handline in many conditions and fishing spots.


There you have it, my three best handlines for your old-fashioned angling. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.