Monofilament vs. thermal filament vs. braided
Fishing line that is extruded in a single continuous filament and left untwisted is called monofilament. It\'s smooth and clear and offers moderate amounts of stretch. Monofilament is also available in special colors to improve visibility above the water while keeping it invisible for the fish. High-performance line produced by thermal bonding of small fibers is called thermal filament and has a smaller diameter per pound test than monofilament. Braided lines are a bit thicker and more common for fishing larger species, e.g. fishing for large blue- and yellowfin tuna offshore.
The strength of fishing line is called test and is measured in pounds. It should roughly match the weight of the species you are fishing for (e.g. use line in the 30-pound test for tuna in the 30-pound range). A typical line to cast for trout would be 4-pound test. Consider braided line of 30-pound test or more if you go after large game fish. A rule of thumb is to fish with the lightest gear possible so you don\'t tire and have more fun. In competition when test is specified, anglers must use light line to land heavy fish. But that requires experience, a zest for a long fight and, above all, solid technique. Another difference: while normal fishing line is guaranteed to break above its rating, tournament line must break before the rating or the records will not be recognized.
Nylon, Dacron, Spectra, Dyneema
Nylon, the oldest and most common of the synthetic fibers for fishing line, is made from linear polyamides and offers a good compromise between strength, stretch and abrasion resistance. Dacron, developed by DuPont in the late 1950s, is based on a long-chain polyester and represents a step up from Nylon in strength, flexibility and low stretch. Spectra and Dyneema are two modern brand names for ultra-strong polyethylene fiber that is used in high-tech fishing line. It is many times stronger than steel, more durable than polyester and so light, it floats. We recommend Spectra/Dyneema for higher tensile strength at smaller diameters, which reduces the weight of the tackle and increases the amount of line that fits onto the spool (e.g. 130-pound Spectra test has the same diameter as conventional 30-pound test Nylon line). Spectra/Dyneema also offers better abrasion resistance, which prevents loss of bait or lure when fishing near obstacles or near the bottom where line snags or chafes against sharp objects.
When it comes to active styles of fishing that require frequent casting, we recommend smooth, light lines because they come off the spool easier, enabling more accurate casts over longer distances.
No stretch vs. some stretch
Less stretch in fishing line results in more sensitivity to feel the fish, which is what anglers are looking for. However, in certain instances, some line stretch is desirable, (e.g. when trolling) because it can act like a shock absorber and make the difference between setting the hook in a soft-mouthed fish such as salmon or ripping it out.
Lots or little memory
Unlike in humans and computers, less memory is better when it comes to fishing lines. Why? Memory refers to a line\'s ability to retain its shape after deformation. A line with a lot of memory "remembers" the loops that develop when it is wound up on a spool. Lines with no memory stay straight when they come off the spool, and as a result develop less friction on guides and reels, which enables longer, smoother casts.