Choosing the right line for your baitcasting reel is crucial for your enjoyment of your future fishing trips. A line that does not fit your skill level can lead to a lot of frustration. This article seeks to help you find the best baitcasting line based on 1: your skill level and 2: the type of fishing you aim for.
Below I’ve explained the three types of lines that can be used for baitcasting. Further below, I will recommend specific lines, ranging from perfect beginner lines to high-quality tournament lines.
The three types of lines
Monofilament is characterized by its stretching abilities. This elasticity is both an advantage and a limitation. As a beginner or even an intermediate baitcaster you will not completely avoid birds nests, and when it happens, a monofilament line will be much easier to loosen up and sort out all the knots and loops due to its stiffness. The elasticity does, however, lower your ‘feel’ of the lure, making it harder to tell the difference between a hooked fish and a rock.
Braided lines are very much the opposite of monofilament in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Braid has next to no elasticity and is incredibly strong compared to monofilament. Because of its strength, it is possible to use a much thinner line compared to monofilament, making room for a much more line on the reel. For a baitcasting reel, I would, however, recommend picking a line that is not too thin. No elasticity also means an incredible amount of sensitivity, making you able to feel the tiniest movements. The low amount of stretch will, however, cause the spool to spin immediately after letting go which ultimately will increase the risk of backlashes or birds nests. Another big downside is the difficulty you will have unwinding braided knots. Braided lines a much less stiff than monofilament, making bird nests super hard to loosen up.
In spite of its advantages, braided lines are not the way to go if you are a complete beginner at baitcasting.
Fluorocarbon is a bit more expensive than the aforementioned lines, but it also has some advantages making it worth considering when buying your baitcaster line. This type of line combines monofilament and braid in terms of strengths and weaknesses: The sensitivity is better than monofilament, and it is much stiffer than braid, making it easier to loosen up birds nests. Pretty much all fluorocarbon lines are considerably more abrasion resistant than any other type of line, which is a big plus when fishing in waters with lots of rocks. The steeper price makes this line a no go for some people. You can, however, choose to only use it for a specific part of your line, reducing the cost drastically (this method is elaborated further below).
Best beginner’s line
If you are just starting out as a baitcaster, this thick Berkley big game mono line is a great choice. It is a great all-round line, that is heavy enough for jiggs/worms but also suits spinnerbaits quite well. The line is pretty cost-effective, making it easier on the wallet when going through the start-up phase where the frequency of backlashes is considerably higher. It’s a big spool, so you do not need to worry about cutting off a chunk of line if a birds nest seems impossible to untangle. When it comes to untangling birds nests, this line will be considerably more forgiving than the other lines mentioned in this article. This is because of the earlier mentioned stiffness of the monofilament material.
Last but not least, monofilament offers a lot of control in the casting situation, and control is what you want when first starting out because that is what is enabling you to make precise casts without backlashing too often. Later on when you get more experienced and want to try out braid or fluorocarbon, this line can easily be used as a part of the combo line setup mentioned further below in this article.
Money-saving tip: for some of the more expensive lines, use a cheap mono-line to fill up the first ¼ of your reel, and then use one of the below-mentioned lines for the rest. This will not only save you money, the mono-line will keep your line from slipping (which can sometimes happen if you are using braid only).
Are you just starting out as a baitcaster? Then you might want to check out this comprehensive guide on how to use a baitcasting reel properly.
Best fluorocarbon baitcasting lines
Do you fish in clear water and want your bait to be presented with an invisible line? Then you should go for one of the following fluorocarbon lines.
If you decide to use fluorocarbon for your baitcasting reels, you need to buy quality. When it comes to fluorocarbon, there is a big span between the worst and the best lines, so if the lines mentioned below is out of your budget, I recommend giving the braided lines a look, instead of finding a lower quality fluoro line.
This list only contains two fluorocarbon lines. They’re both miles ahead of the competition, which is why I’ve left out the other candidates.
Both lines are known to be quite stiff in the beginning. The stiffness is not that big of a deal when it comes to baitcasting reels (it can be a pain in the **** when using spinning reels). The stiffness can sometimes even be a good thing because it makes it easier to untangle birds nests. As many other fluorocarbon lines, both these lines are close to invisible underwater, which is important when fishing in clear water, where some lines can easily be spotted by most fish. As I mentioned further up, I do not recommend using this type of line, if you are just starting out as a baitcaster. Look for mono lines instead!
Sunline Super FC Sniper
The Sunline Sniper is made for the lighter fishing (tackle under ¼ oz) compared to the Sunline Shooter mentioned below. Compared to other fluorocarbon lines (and of course braid and mono lines), it is still very abrasion resistant. It has a very low line memory, reducing the risk of getting the dreaded backlashes. The low line memory will also make it more pleasant to pull out the reel after a long break because you don’t have to deal with annoying line curls getting tangled up. The structure of this line also makes for probably the best fluoro baitcasting line for fishing in cooler temperatures.
To sum it up: the Sunline Sniper is the best pick if you’re fishing in clear or cold water, with baits under a ¼ oz.Buy on Amazon
The Sunline Shooter is quite a popular baitcaster pick for fishermen attending tournaments, because of how sensitive it is. This line allows you to feel the most subtle movements and bites even at greater distances. It shares a lot of similarities with the Sunline Sniper, although it is quite different in some ways: the Shooter is tougher (= abrasion resistant). It is furthermore made for fishing with heavier baits (¼ oz+), than what the Sniper is suited for. The Shooter will however also have a bit more line memory than the sniper, which is another reason to only use this line with heavier baits.
To sum it up; this is the best pick if you’re fishing for bigger fish using bigger lures in waters with wood and sharp rocks but still need your line to be invisible underwater.Buy on Amazon
Best braided baitcasting lines
Do you want ultimate sensibility and strength? Then pick one of the following braided lines.
Spiderwire Braid Stealth Superline
Spiderwire lines are always a safe pick when it comes to braided lines. The Spiderwire Stealth is not specifically built for baitcasting, but it meets the criteria for a baitcasting line perfectly. I would not recommend going below 30 lb when it comes to using braid for baitcasting – the thinner the line, the more likely it is that the line will dig into itself. The dyneema fibers allegedly prevent the line from digging in on the reel, although I have not tested whether or not this is the case. The line is a bit smoother and rounder than your typical braided line, because of the fluor polymer treated microfibers. This smoothness really comes in handy when using a baitcasting reel, because a smooth cast is crucial to prevent backlashes from happening.Buy on Amazon
Power Pro Spectra Fiber Braided
This made in the USA line is also an excellent pick for a baitcasting reel. It will serve you well in most fishing situations. It is made of 100% spectra fiber by Honeywell. If you are going to use this line in very clear water, I recommend attaching a fluorocarbon line as a leader, because this braid is a bit more visible below the surface. Look under the “combo” section further below for a more in-depth description. Oh, and this line can easily be used for your most of your spinning reels as well!Buy on Amazon
Sufix 832 braid
The Sufix line is one of the highest quality braided lines you can get, and it also makes for an excellent baitcasting line. Wonder why it is called 832? I’ll tell you: it’s because the line consists of 8 fibers and is weaved 32 times per inch. 7 of the 8 fibers are HMPE fibers, whose main purpose is to provide strength and reduce the elasticity of the line, resulting in high sensitivity. The last fiber-type (GORE performance) will reduce line vibration, and increase the overall smoothness of the line making it easier to cast (and ultimately reducing backlashes).
Bear in mind that this line can be a bit stiff and hard to handle when first starting out, but as soon as it gets wet after a few casts, it gets softer and very easy to manage (so don’t judge the line before you have test driven it properly!). With this line I recommend going all the way up to 50lb, to reduce the risk of the line digging into itself. It is a bit more expensive than other braided lines mentioned in this article, so the Sufix 832 is for you if you’re an experienced baitcaster that knows braid is your game, and you want to try the best of the best. If you’re only starting out, look further up for the mono-lines mentioned.Buy on Amazon
KastKing SuperPower braided fishing line
This line probably gives you the best bang for your buck. it’s very similar to the sufix 832 in terms of quality and feel. It’s known for being incredibly strong (stronger than most higher priced braided lines). Another big advantage is the smooth casting it enables for. The KastKing SuperPower also holds up when used in saltwater. Quite a few lines these days need a rinse after a day at sea, this is however not the case with the KastKing (although it may be a good idea to rinse your reel). If you are primarily fishing in saltwater, I recommend buying a baitcasting reel specifically designed to for saltwater use. The only problem with this line is it has a tendency to lose its color after a short while. So be ready to get some ink on your fingers while fiddling with the line. After a while, the line will change its color to a lighter version of the original with a blue tint.
If this is your first time trying braid when baitcasting, this is a great choice, namely because of the high quality compared to the price, combined with the lines smoothness which will give you an easier time on the casts, with a lower risk of backlashes.Buy on Amazon
Best line combination for baitcasters (backing, main line, leader)
A great way to utilize the advantages of the different line-types is, of course, to combine them (usually using a backing line, a main line, and a leader). Below I will describe what I believe to be the top combination of lines for baitcasting.
The combination of monofilament, braid, and fluorocarbon will give you great distance in your casts with a leader that is abrasion resistant (not for beginners)
The monofilament serves only the purpose of filling the innermost part of the spool so that 1: you don’t have to use as much braid, and 2: your braid won’t lose grip of the spool (cause that will happen if you apply braid directly on the spool). Bear in mind, that you will not be using the backing for the actual fishing unless you catch a big one, that will pull out more line than you are able to throw.
Using the braid will serve you well when needing to present your bait at a great distance, because of the low stretch and thin diameter compared to monofilament and fluorocarbon. As mentioned earlier, braid is less abrasion resistant to sharp objects such as rocks or splintered roots. This is where the fluorocarbon leader comes into the picture. It is both the most abrasive resistant line and the least visible line, which makes it perfect to use as the line closest to your bait.
The three lines I would recommend for this setup are the following.
For the mono backing line, I recommend using 15lb Berkley Trilene Big Game which I also recommended as the best beginners baitcasting line further up the article. It is a good quality line with a very attractive price, which makes for a perfect line to fill up the first part of your spool.
As the main line, I would definitely go for the Powerpro 40lb braid. Besides being great for casting it is also very strong. I recommend using a braided line this thick in order to limit the number of backlashes, and further to reduce the severeness of the bird’s nests: the thinner the line, the easier it is for the line to dive into the spool. Furthermore, since you will be using a fluorocarbon line as a leader, the thicker braid line is not really a downside, because it is no longer important for the braid to be invisible. The only real downside to this specific line is that if you manage to get a birds nest, they tend to get pretty hard to untangle, so this is definitely not a beginners line!
The 12 lb P-line CFX will make an awesome leader combined with the above-mentioned Powerpro braid line. The line is virtually invisible when submerged, giving your bait the extra life-like finish. It is decently priced, and even the 27-yard spool will last you for quite a while because you will only be using it as a leader.
I suggest connecting all three lines using a double-uni knot shown in the video below.