5 Steps To Choosing The Right Fishing Line

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How to choose the right fishing line for you is an important question that all anglers have to answer at some point. The wrong choice can result in a ruined day on the water, or worse, a lost fish, tangles or even a broken reel! Not to mention the fact that having to respool your reel is really something you don’t want to have to do too often.

And as with everything to do with fishing, there are several important factors to consider when choosing the right fishing line for your reel. So with that in mind let’s check out my 5 steps to choosing the right fishing line below…

Types of fishing line

Now I know this section is probably a case of stating the obvious however i just wanted to make sure that as you choose your fishing line, you are aware of the different types that are available. For most of us, there are two main types to choose – Mono and Braid:


More generally called ‘Mono’, Monofilament fishing line can be made of a number of materials but usually consists of varying types of nylon and is a single line rather than a number of strands linked together (hence the name). As technology has improved, the old nylon makeup has been blended with other polymers and carbon materials to allow for improved qualities such as stretch, abrasion resistance and strength.

For the purposes of this post, I am also going to lump fluorocarbon line into this category as well. There is a massive scientific explanation for the makeup of Fluorocarbon however essentially it is still a single line albeit stronger and more abrasive resistant than its nylon cousin.


As the name may suggest, braided line consists of a number of strands of a polyethylene compound that are braided together to form a single line. Braid has been developed over time to produce a line that is generally thinner, stronger and more sensitive than mono with greater abrasion resistance.

It is longer lasting than mono line (one of the reasons that fluorocarbon has been developed) however not as easy to handle and rig – especially for those new to fishing. It has no stretch to it meaning that a mono leader is usually tied to the from to account for a little stretch when casting and the fact that it braid really doesn’t tie to tackle very well at all.

choose the right fishing line - man with bulk line

Choosing the right fishing line

Ok, so if you are looking to select a new roll of line for your favourite reel, let’s have a look at my 5 steps below…

1. Consider the type of fish will you be targeting

This first one is probably quite obvious however if you are totally new to fishing then the first thing to consider are the types of fish you will be targeting. Fishing line comes in many strengths (often referred to as weight) starting at around 6lb up to 120lb.

In short, the specification of the fishing line is measured as the most weight that it can hold before breaking. Now there are other considerations here such as reel drag etc. however the bigger the fish you are chasing, the heavier the line you will need.

If in an estuary for example, I use 8lb for general species and 40lb if we are chasing Mangrove Jack – which is a strong and hard hitting fish. Out on the ocean, I use 80lb for my deep sea rod.

2. Check your reel size.

The next thing to check is your reel size. This is because the size of the spool generally determines the strength of the line that you can load into it. The simple way to work this all out which via the first number.

You see a fishing reel may be rated as a ’20’ or a ‘2000’. If this is the case, the ‘2’ is the common denominator and what you match the line to (this is not an exact science but it works for me). So, then all you need to do is match the line kilogram/pound strength to the spool. To make this easier, I have whipped up a little table below:

Reel SizeSuggested MonoSuggested BraidSuggested Rod Length*
10 or 10001- 2 kg/2 – 4 lb4 – 8 lb6-7 ft (line rating 1-4kg)
20 or 20002- 3 kg/4 – 6 lb5 – 10 lb6-7 ft (line rating 2-5kg)
25 or 25002.5- 4 kg/5 – 8 lb5 – 12 lb6-7 ft (line rating 2-5kg)
40 or 40004- 6 kg/8 – 12 lb8 – 12 lb8-10 ft (line rating 3-10kg)
60 or 60006- 8 kg/12 – 16 lb12 – 30 lb8-10 ft (line rating 4-10kg)

The main thing to keep in mind here is that regardless of the size, you really do need to make sure you are matching the correct line size to the reel. If the line if too big, you will generally enter the painful world of birds nest city (when too much spools off at once and tangles) and too small and you will be lamenting a snapped line every time you try and cast with a bigger sinker – or worse – if you catch a bigger fish.

Of course if this doesn’t match the fish species you are chasing as per step 1 above, then it might be time to look at a new reel rather than mismatch the line to it.

choose the right fishing line - spool with measurements

3. Do the conditions call for braid or mono?

Earlier in this post we discussed the differences between braid and mono. Below is a quick run through of when to choose each:

I would recommend mono lines for the following:

  • For beginners
  • When using lures or floating baits
  • General fishing
  • Fishing in areas where snags are common
  • If you are fishing in areas where invisible lines are a must (clear flouro is the go here)

I would recommend braid lines for the following:

  • When longer casting is needed
  • When using light lures
  • When chasing larger species – especially in the ocean where extra line length may be needed
  • Sensitivity
  • Fishing around structure when accuracy is key
  • Fishing in weedy areas where brute force is required to pull tackle through it

4. Consider your skill level?

Now is the time to have a good look at yourself in the mirror and consider your experience and skill level when it comes to fishing. In all honesty if you are a rookie, ignore anything I have said in regards to braid above and go with a cheaper monofilament or fluorocarbon as it is far more forgiving and easier to use.

And unless you are out on the ocean, stick to around 8 – 10lb

If however you’re an intermediate to expert angler who knows how to handle a rod and reel, then use all the technical data listed by the manufacturer to choose the right line for each of your reels.

choose the right fishing line - man tying fishing line

5. How much does it cost?

I still remember the first time I put braid on one of my reels. I took the advice of a friend of mine and paid $150 for 150 yards of “premium super duper guaranteed to catch fish” braid, spooled it up and off I went. And to keep this story short I will tell you that I took two rods that day – one with the braid and one with some cheap mono – which of course I caught all the fish on!

My point? When it comes to fishing line, expensive is not always better. I always choose what I want (i.e. braid or mono) depending on my needs as per above and then look for the best option I can get for the price. Bulk purchasing is always a good option but I have rarely paid that same price since then and have never been disappointed.


So there you have it, my steps to choosing the right fishing line. As always, these are not going to guarantee you a catch, however they should give you a little more chance of success that you may not have otherwise had.

Have you tried anything else that has worked well, or not so well for you – or of course have a different opinion than above? If so, please comment below and we can have a chat.

As always

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.