Crappie anglers know that “papermouths” demand a light hookset. And to help, they often choose ultralight rods for their sensitivity and finesse, pairing this gear with carefully selected line. But not every angler opts for ultralight, and if you fish crappie with anything stouter, line choice becomes even more important.
Which fishing line is the best for crappie? You can search the internet, but opinions vary.
Below, we discuss what we look for when selecting our line for crappie--and explain why. We also review some of our favorites, helping you make an informed decision.
Here's a quick glance of the best fishing line for crappie on the market today:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 25
Seaguar Invizx demonstrates the future of fluorocarbon as main line. It’s simply outstanding: clear, sensitive, and amazingly strong at the knot. You’ll pay a premium for this excellence, but this is among the very best fluorocarbons available.
Indeed, where Invizx shines is handling and knot strength, areas that are not usually the best features of fluoro. It’s supple, tangle-free, and admirably limp, and unlike most of its ilk, works well on spinning reels. On ultralight tackle, it probably won’t perform on par with braid or mono, but it’s among the best handling fluoros on the market.
Its knot strength is simply unbeatable, solving a common problem for fluoro. With a well-tied Palomar, your line will give before the knots go--an incredible display of strength. Seaguar must be doing some real magic behind the scenes, because this is better than even the best nylon monofilaments!
It’s also very sensitive, and if you need low-vis ‘feel,’ this is among your best options.
The Invizx stays clear during use, and we have no issues with the coating being shed.
If this line has a weakness, it’s poor abrasion resistance. Like all fluoros, we recommend you keep this out of the rough stuff.
Weights: 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 65, 80, 100, 150, 250
Colors: High-Vis Yellow, Moss Green, Blue Camo, Camo, Pink, and Translucent
Strands: multiple braided yarns
Material: Dyneema treated with fluoropolymer
SpiderWire Stealth is spectacular braided line that’s available in an extensive range of weights and colors.
Ron Kiegl describes SpiderWire Stealth’s composition: “To make Dyneema fiber into fishing line, you start with almost invisible strands of fiber with diameters measuring only microns – this is comparable to the width of a fine human hair. Then you take all these tiny filaments and bundle them together to make a multi-strand yarn. Next, a number of these multi-strand yarns, 4, 6, 8, or as many as 12 or 16 yarns, are braided together to make a strong, durable structure with the flexibility and strength required."
After this, it’s coated with fluoropolymer to improve its roundness, smoothness, waterproofing, and abrasion resistance.
The result is a very strong, very slick line that casts exceptionally well. And because line stretch is minimal on braid, it’s extremely sensitive. But be aware that braided line typically displays poor knot strength. If this worries you, we recommend you look to Stren, McCoy Mean Green, or Seaguar Invizx.
For braid, its color choices are pretty good, and there are quite a few options for different conditions and needs. Unfortunately, SpiderWire Stealth tends to fade pretty quickly in the water.
We like this line’s performance overall, and if we’re running braid on an ultralight, we would gladly reach for it.
Weights: 6, 8, 13, 18, 20, 26, 30, 39, 50, 63, 79, 86, 99
Colors: Camo, Coastal Camo, Ghost, Low-Vis Green, Neon Lime, High-Vis Yellow, and Multi-Color.
Material: Dyneema plus a GORE fiber
Sufix 832 has won an almost cult-like following in the fishing community, and we appreciate why. Colorfast, strong, and long-casting, it’s our favorite braid.
Sufix is all about high-tech. Their unique approach--using a fiber developed by GORE that’s braided together with seven Dyneema fibers--improves strength, casting, and abrasion resistance. If you feel this line with your fingers, you can confirm that it’s round and smooth, and a few casts will win you over!
Indeed, casting is superb with this line, and unlike many braids with a heavy coating, Sufix 832 doesn’t shed tiny particles all over your gear, bleed onto your reel, or feel stiff in your hands.
Available in a wide range of weights and colors, there’s something for everyone and nearly every technique. As is to be expected with all braided line, you should anticipate some fading--though Sufix 832 is among the most colorfast braids we tried.
It does have a drawback that’s common to all braids: weak knot strength. In rigorous testing, Sufix 832 started experiencing knot failure at about half its rated test. That’s just the nature of braid, and something to consider.
Weights: 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20
Sunline Super FC Sniper features a triple resin coating for improved limpness, handling, and abrasion resistance, and the result is superior casting for fluorocarbon. We’re not sure if it’s as good as comparable mono or braid, but it’s very, very close. In fact, this line is limp enough that we’d run it on a spinning reel!
In use, Sunline’s FC Sniper shows great abrasion resistance and excellent sensitivity. As a trade-off between mono and braid, FC Sniper has a lot to offer when you need ‘feel’ and low visibility without sacrificing casting distance.
If it has a weakness, it’s that its knot strength just isn’t as awesome as Seaguar Invizx, Stren, or McCoy Mean Green. That’s just a simple fact, and something to keep in mind.
Type: Nylon Monofilament
Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30
Colors: Clear, Clear Blue Fluorescent, Hi-Vis Gold, Low-Vis Green
Stren Original might have been the first line you ever tied, and for many anglers, its packaging will bring back memories of childhood. But as line tech has improved, more than a few have shelved the Stren for fluorocarbon and braid. Nevertheless, a fair-minded assessment suggests you might want to rethink that!
Available in both low- and high-vis options, as well as fluorescent for night fishing, there’s a color for nearly any condition. Clear and Low-Vis Green are always solid choices, and with Hi-Vis Gold for nymphing or aging eyes, Stren has its bases covered.
Mono is generally tough stuff, superior to both braid and fluorocarbon when it comes to abrasion resistance. It makes excellent, inexpensive leader material, and Stren Original is among the toughest of the monos on the market. If you need long casting and a bit of cushion in your hookset, or your fishing around stumps, rocks, and pilings, we’d give this line a very serious look.
Stren’s line is pretty limp, leading to amazing casts, and it ties easily--as you’d expect.
Its sensitivity was something of another surprise top us. We find that Stren is pretty good at detecting light strikes, even with a lot of line in the water. While it’s not going to offer slack-line sensitivity to rival fluorocarbon or the feel of braid, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Type: Nylon Monofilament
Weights: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 25, 30
Colors: Mean Green, Clear Blue Fluorescent, and Xtra Clear
McCoy’s Mean Green is a copolymer monofilament that combines all the strengths you’d expect from mono, avoiding many of its weaknesses. As a result, it makes an excellent all-around choice for crappie.
Don’t let its name fool you: while this line is available in Mean Green, it’s also offered in Clear Blue Fluorescent and Xtra Clear. That Clear Blue is designed to glow in blacklight, making it an exceptional choice for night fishing. Mean Green does an admirable job disappearing into water that’s stained or murky, and we like Xtra Clear when we can see the bottom.
McCoy’s Mean Green is also extremely limp, especially in the lower tests you’ll be using. As a result, it has almost no memory, allowing it to cast like a dream. Is it as good as braid? We’re not sure.
Of course, it knots easily, too, and provides plenty of knot strength. Where that’s a concern, we’d recommend this over braided line.
Abrasion resistance is excellent, and we wouldn’t be afraid to run Mean Green where we expect a lot of contact with stumps or other underwater objects.
There’s no “best” line for crappie, but the best choice for you depends on your tackle, technique, and the conditions you’re fishing in. It’s a question of weighing strengths against weaknesses, and we recommend you do your homework.
Ultralight rods bend like whips, providing plenty of cushion on hooksets. As a result, they’re generally more forgiving of line choice than other options for crappie.
If you’re fishing a quality ultralight rod like a St. Croix, you can afford to run braid as your main line, even without a cushioning leader. This setup will provide you with excellent sensitivity and awesome casting, though it will sacrifice knot strength and low-visibility. Where visibility is an issue, you’ll need to tie on a mono or fluoro leader.
Nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon are great choices as well. Mono will offer you the most cushion, excellent knot integrity, easy handling, great casting, and near invisibility. For its part, fluorocarbon is more sensitive than mono, and if you follow our line recommendations below, it’s roughly as good in terms of everything else.
In short, ultralight rods are going to give you the widest range of choices.
Check out our top recommendations for crappie fishing rods!
Not every angler likes ultralight, and plenty of fishermen can’t afford a dedicated crappie rod. If you prefer a more powerful rod, or that’s the rod you’ve got, you’ll need to be more careful about line choice.
If you need to use braid to provide long-casting sensitivity, we recommend that you use a monofilament leader to help provide the ‘give’ to avoid tearing your hooks free from “papermouths.” It’s cheaper than fluoro, and no less durable.
Fluorocarbon is another choice for leader material, but be aware that it’s more expensive, more difficult to tie properly, generally less robust at the knot, and in practice, no more invisible than quality mono.
Be aware that most spinning reels don’t like fluorocarbon--and that’s doubly true for ultralight reels. That’s because fluoro is generally stiffer than either mono or braid, retaining memory of the spool and being prone to slip over the end, causing plenty of headaches.
The fluorocarbons we review below are exceptions, and they should be trouble-free on spinning tackle. But if you want to play it safe, choose mono or braid.
Check out our top recommendations for crappie fishing reels!
If you’re after crappie with a jig, especially in deeper water, nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon aren’t going to be great choices. Both feature too much memory, and will likely cause your jig to twirl and dance in a way that is most definitely not attractive to crappie.
If you’re fishing ultralight, we recommend braid, either with a mono leader or on its own depending on water conditions. If you’re fishing anything heavier, we recommend braid with a long leader, maybe as much as six to ten feet. That’ll help provide the cushion you need for your hookset.
Pretty much any choice will work here with ultralight tackle, but as you step up in power, look toward mono for shock strength and give. If you don’t have an ultralight setup, and you need to run braid for the casting distance it offers, we recommend a longer leader.
If you’re fishing crappie with techniques that demand a high-vis line to see strikes, or if your eyes aren’t quite what they used to be, nylon mono is the way to go. It’s usually offered in high-vis colors like gold, orange, and shades of neon.
Some braids are also offered in contrasting hues.
If you like to fish at night, we recommend mono. Many brands offer monofilament that fluoresces under blacklight, making line handling and tying a snap in the dark.
Line choice can be complicated if you troll or spider rig. If you need high-visibility, mono is often the best choice. But if you’re concerned about snags, heavier braid might be a better option.
If you use a cork attached to a leader to fish live bait or jigs, and find that you’re losing too many corks when you get snagged, a heavier-weight braid between your rod and the cork can be the answer. In that case, you’ll probably want to move up in rod power to light or medium-light from ultralight, and still run mono from your cork to your terminal tackle.
If you need to cast a country mile, you have two choices: light braid or nylon monofilament. Avoid fluorocarbon in this case, as it’s generally inferior in casting distance to either of the alternatives.
Shockingly, monofilament is often the most abrasion resistant choice, beating out both braid and fluorocarbon. Braid is generally the weakest of the three in this category, and we recommend avoiding it where you think you’ll be rubbing your line against piers, piling, stumps, or rocks.
Some anglers still choose braid, but they step up weight to increase line diameter. We’re not convinced that this is as effective as it sounds, and we’ll be conducting some tests soon to get a definitive answer!
In clear water, low-vis line is key. As a result, if you must use braid, you’ll need a leader. Otherwise, we recommend mono or fluorocarbon.
In murky water, your choices of line expand to include running braid with no leader. Just be sure to match your line color to your particular needs, and your choice to the rod and reel you’re fishing.
This can be a contentious topic, especially for braid enthusiasts who insist that one of the advantages of braided superline is its tiny diameter for test. They’ll then run much heavier braid that’s a comparable diameter to much weaker mono or fluoro.
Let’s consider this carefully.
There are some circumstances in which running a heavier-weight braid makes sense, for instance, when you’re losing corks to snags. But in most situations, line heavier than six pounds is overkill, and it just robs you of longer casting distances.
Yes, professional anglers will spool up high-test line in order to muscle bass into their boats no matter what. But we’re not convinced that the average fisherman needs to follow suit. Indeed, what makes sense in a tournament isn’t always a good idea on a weekend fishing trip.
Cappie are a blast to catch, but they just don’t get that big! And while the world record is about five pounds for both black and white, usual weights are about ½ to 1 ½ pounds!
For that reason, and for most techniques, there’s simply no reason to run line heavier than eight pounds, and we think four and six are usually the best choices.
As we’ve said before, there’s no ‘best’ line for crappie, so look for the ideal choice for your specific needs. Any and all of our favorites will work well if you understand how and when to use them and assess their strengths and weaknesses carefully.
What do you think about our recommendations? And what’s your experience been choosing line for crappie?
We’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.