Monofilament is the most common and widely used line. It's been around a long time, has proved itself over the years, and is the most inexpensive of the lines available. Many manufacturers offer it in a wide range of qualities. It can be colored or clear and is used for both saltwater and freshwater fishing.
Sun and salt water can damage monofilament lines. Avoid storing your reels and spare spools of line in the sun, and wash off the line on your reels after using it in salt water. Also avoid storing line where it gets very hot, like in the trunk of your car.
Monofilament is made by mixing a variety of chemicals together and heating them to form a gelatinlike substance. While still hot this gel is forced through tiny holes to form a string that is cooled quickly. The smaller the hole, the smaller and lighter the line will be.
The Qualities of Monofilament Lines
Monofilament can be manufactured to have different characteristics for different jobs. It can be limp for spinning reels, tough for fishing heavy cover, thin for fishing light lures, or thick for added strength. Color can be added so you can see it and watch for bites. Emphasizing one good quality often makes another undesirable quality more noticeable, though. If they're good lines for a wide variety of applications they'll have a general mix of all the characteristics, balancing out the good and bad. The higher-quality lines are usually formulated to meet specific applications and this information is often listed on the spool or box.
Monofilament line has “memory,” which means it tends to keep the shape of the spool. Line that has been on the reel a long time will come off the spool in coils, making it hard to cast and even harder to detect bites. Keep fresh line on your reel.
Applications for Monofilament Lines
Use a thin, four-to eight-pound test line when fishing in clear water, on flats, and in shallow inshore waters. Spool it on spinning or spin-casting reels, and pair it with a light-action rod. Usually the thinner lines have more stretch so they don't break as easily when a fish makes a strong run near the boat. They also are more flexible which is better for spinning reels. Since they're lower test and have less abrasion resistance, they're not as good for bigger fish that like cover or for fishing cover like brush or shell beds.
Use higher test line that has more abrasion resistance for fishing in heavy cover or going after bigger fish. Brush piles, shell beds, and offshore rigs all call for abrasion resistant line. It will be stiffer so it will work better on a bait-casting reel and should be paired with a heavy-action rod. You will get less fight but you'll be much more likely to land a bigger fish.
For open-water game fish, especially hard-fighting saltwater fish, pick a line that has some stretch, to make break-offs less likely, and is thin relative to its test. Thinner lines cut through the water better and have less drag when fighting a fish with a lot of line out.
For most of your general fishing needs, especially saltwater fishing, choose a monofilament line. It's relatively inexpensive and you can change it often. Stick with brand names and don't buy so much line it will go bad before you can use it.
Avoid bulk spools unless you're spooling up a lot of reels or use a lot of line. You can't tell how long it's been sitting in the store and it won't be as good as fresh line if you keep it a long time. Buy spools of line that you'll use up in a few months.
Some professional bass fishermen change their line every day. There's no need for you to change yours that often, but change your mono-filament line as soon as it starts keeping coils, even if you used it for only a few casts. Old line holds memory even after it gets wet, which makes it more difficult for you to cast and feel bites. Strip off the first eighty feet of line and replace it with new line when this happens.