Currently set to Index
Currently set to Follow

Best Fishing Line Conditioner

Last Updated:
SHARE: 

If there’s something all anglers learn to hate about nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon, it’s memory.

These materials are cursed by physics to “remember” the shapes into which they’ve been formed, and after a while on your reel or on a replacement spool of line, they’ll stick doggedly to those tight rings and bends.

The good news is that line conditioners can help relax both mono and fluoro, improving their suppleness and helping them fight memory. And though it’s hard to believe, the best of the bunch can turn frustration into finesse casts in no time.

If you want our full take on line conditioners, keep reading. Below, you'll find a thorough explanation, as well as reviews of some of our favorites:

Related:

Best Fishing Line Conditioners Reviewed

KVD Line & Lure Conditioner - The Best Line Conditioner

Line & Lure Conditioner Kevin VanDam's 4oz Spray

Amazon 

KVD Line & Lure Conditioner is easily the most popular line sauce out there, a testament to the job it does taming unruly mono and fluorocarbon.

This no-scent polymer formulation dries without stickiness and resists wash-off better than the competition while still providing plenty of limpness. It’s also totally non-greasy, and you can even spray it directly on your hands without losing grip.

That makes overspray no sweat - something that I can’t say about the other line conditioners on our list.

On fluorocarbon that just doesn’t like to lose those tight coils - and I’m looking at you, Sunline Sniper! - KVD Line & Lure Conditioner makes a noticeable difference. You’ll experience fewer problems post-application - and you really will notice a difference in how your line behaves.

And if you’re guilty of running line a bit longer than you should, maybe the result of fishing less than you’d hoped, this conditioner will re-invigorate the mono or fluoro on your reel, making it feel like new.

KVD Line & Lure Conditioner offers good UV protection as well, which is pretty much the only reason to apply it to braid (unless you’re fishing braid in sub-zero temps). For this purpose, it works really well, and you’ll notice that your line keeps its color longer.

You can also safely apply this product to your guides, further reducing friction and improving casting distance, and that’s just as true for braid as it is for the other line types.

Pros:

  • Available in a non-aerosol pump, so no product is wasted
  • Works amazingly well to tame unruly line
  • Stays put longer than the competition
  • Can be applied to guides to enhance casting 

Cons:

  • Not the cheapest

Reel Snot

Reel Snot Line & Reel Lube

Amazon 

Reel Snot is a hybrid product, a combination line conditioner and reel lubricant. When compared head-to-head with KVD Line & Lure Conditioner, Reel Snot is the oilier option, a nod to its double-life as a lubricant.

Reel Snot certainly tames mono and fluorocarbon’s bad manners, and you will definitely find your line to be more compliant after application.

The downside?

Like many, I find Reel Snot to be too greasy, and if you get this stuff on your reel body or handle, it’s a mess.

Pros:

  • Available in a non-aerosol pump, so no product is wasted
  • Works really well to tame unruly line
  • Can be applied to your reel as a lubricant to reduce noise

Cons:

  • Greasy - avoid overspray

Ardent Line Butter

Ardent Line Butter Conditioner, 2 Ounces

Amazon 

Ardent Line Butter reminds me a lot of Reel Snot, and it works pretty much as an identical product. 

Oily to the touch, I’d recommend skipping the larger aerosol containers and buying the smaller pumps. You want to control overspray because this greasy product will definitely make your reel slick.

Like Reel Snot, it tames the tight coils of fluoro and mono, straightening those slinkies pretty effectively. I still prefer the magic the KVD works overall, but I wouldn’t hesitate to apply this product - carefully - to my line.

Pros:

  • Available in a non-aerosol pump, so no product is wasted
  • Works really well to tame unruly line

Cons:

  • Greasy - avoid overspray

Blakemore Real Magic - We Don’t Recommend This Product

Blakemore Real Magic Lubricant

Bass Pro

Blakemore’s Real Magic is an older product that’s taken a lot of heat from bass anglers in the last few years, and I’ll explain why.

Like WD-40, Real Magic is essentially a water displacer that’s predominantly a light oil with petroleum solvents added. 

Not only is this not environmentally friendly, but also the taming effect this product has on mono and fluoro is the result of those solvents eating the outer layer of your line. 

That will cause your unruly fluorocarbon to relax a bit, but it will also weaken it with each application.

Add to that the fact that it’s as oily as WD-40, and the inevitable overspray will cause your reel to be as slick as a well-seasoned politician.

Save yourself some trouble, protect the sport you love, and just skip this product.

Pros:

  • Works really well to tame unruly line

Cons:

  • Environmentally unsafe
  • Weakens your line
  • Greasy - avoid overspray

What is Line Conditioner and What Does it Do?

The exact list of ingredients in common line conditioners are trade secrets, but it’s fair to guess that silicone is a primary ingredient in most - and maybe even all - of them.

The exception may be KVD Line & Lure Conditioner, a formula that’s high in un-named polymers.

But whatever their ingredients, these recipes have a few goals in common:

  • To offer some UV protection
  • To improve waterproofing
  • To reduce memory

Let’s take a closer look at each of these line conditioner benefits.

UV protection

How much UV protection conditioners provide is debatable, and I’m not aware of any scientific tests that are available to the public. That said, most anglers find that line life is enhanced by the regular use of conditioner.

Exactly how much conditioner adds to line longevity is hard to say, and there are more than a few unsubstantiated claims made about their effects.

What I can say with some certainty is that line conditioner will help protect your braid’s color longer, allowing you to fish without worrying about UV damage to the dyes used to treat hard-to-color braid.

Waterproofing

Fluorocarbon is essentially waterproof, but nylon monofilament can absorb water, with some brands soaking up as much as 8% of the weight in water. 

Now, you’d think that’s a bad thing - but hold on!

The experts at Berkley insist that water absorption actually improves the line’s behavior, reducing memory and improving limpness, so I’m not entirely sure that you really want to prevent water absorption in most situations.

That obviously doesn’t apply in sub-freezing weather, where wet lines turn to ice.

For ice fishing - and for cold weather fishing generally - line conditioners that cut down on water absorption are great.

Reducing memory

The chief benefit of line conditioner is that it helps to reduce memory, increasing the limpness of your lines. 

And whether you fish spinning or casting tackle, that can improve casting distance and certainly decreases tangles, knots, and issues with backlashing.

Especially for lines that really have a problem, conditioner will make a noticeable difference.

Can You Make Your Own Line Conditioner?

What most people really mean by this is, “Is there a cheaper off-the-shelf workaround for line conditioning?” 

And the answer to that is yes, mostly.

Since most line conditioners are made primarily of petroleum-free silicone, and since this is commercially available, you can buy the main ingredient on its own and give it a try.

For instance, some anglers use CRC Heavy Duty Silicone Lubricant as an alternative to Real Magic and find that it works just as well.

CRC Heavy Duty Silicone Lubricant, 11 Wt Oz

Amazon 

That said, silicone sprays lack some of the other ingredients in top-shelf line conditioners and also tend to wash off much more quickly in use.

Another alternative is 303 UV Protectant Spray, and it, too, has fans.

303 Aerospace Protectant - Provides Superior UV Protection, Helps Prevent Fading and Cracking, Repels Dust, Lint, and Staining, Restores Lost Color and Luster, 32oz (30313CSR)

Amazon 

Do these products work as well as KVD Line & Lure Conditioner?

I’m not sure - let us know if you use them.

My guess, though, is that with this, as in most things in life, you get what you pay for.

How to Apply Line Conditioner Correctly

There are two schools of thought on line conditioner applications.

The first is that you should spray the conditioner into a cloth or paper towel and wind your line while holding the conditioned surface against it. That will create a thin film of conditioner, saving you from any concerns about over-wetting.

The second is to spin on line, stopping to spray line conditioner on the spool every now and then. Some anglers apply at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% capacity, while others just thoroughly douse a full reel.

The next step is to allow the conditioner to dry thoroughly.

Running line full of wet conditioner is going to make a mess when you cast, and it’ll attract dirt and sand like a magnet.

Our Pick - KVD Line & Lure Conditioner!

You want a good line conditioner to relax the tight coils of mono and fluorocarbon. You also want it to protect your line from UV, and in some cases, to prevent it from absorbing water.

What you don’t want is a greasy product that’s oil-based, as this is a potential mess should you get it on your reel or hands.

KVD Line & Lure Conditioner is the rare product that’s simply head-and-shoulders above the competition. It works better than alternative options, a fact you’ll notice if you test them head-to-head.

Save yourself the trouble and join the legions of anglers who swear by this product.

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
Comments
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram