From wind-bucking casts to bomb-proof durability, heavy surf-casting models to tiny ultralights, more and more anglers are recognizing the advantages of spinning tackle.
Built tough enough for the likes of shark and marlin, perfectly at home when fighting catfish or pike, and ideal for panfish of all kinds, spinning reels are up to any job--and any size quarry--anglers face.
As we’ve discussed before, there’s a spinning reel for any situation and species, and I’d count spinning reels as the most flexible option out there.
But to get the most from your reel, you’ll need to select the best line, and if you’re wondering what the best lines for spinning reels are, we’ve got answers!
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of each option, as well as reviews of some of our top picks.
Quick glance at the best fishing line for spinning reels:
Table of Contents (clickable)
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
Material: Dyneema plus a GORE fiber
Sufix 832 is very hard to beat when you need maximum sensitivity, super-long casts, and awesome strength. It’s also perhaps the best braid in terms of colorfastness, helping to mitigate braid’s high visibility for line-shy fish.
All braid is strong for diameter, but what sets Sufix apart is its super casting and colorfastness. One thing you’ll notice right out of the box is that Sufix 832 feels reliably smooth and round, qualities that go a long way toward explaining its casting performance.
Chalk this up to some very advanced engineering and high-end materials.
I discovered that Sufix takes a unique approach to the design of this line, using a fiber developed by GORE. This space-age material is then woven together with seven Dyneema fibers to create a unified whole. Sufix claims that this improves strength and abrasion resistance, and it certainly helps this braid slip through the eyes on your rod.
As a result, casting is simply excellent with this line, and it won’t shed tiny particles all over your gear, bleed onto your reel, or feel stiff in your hands.
For line-shy fish, Suffix offers low-visibility options like the blues of Coastal Camo and the muted browns of Camo. Ghost and Low-Vis Green are fantastic options, too. And there are even some high-visibility options for crappie anglers and night fishing, making Sufix the most versatile choice across a range of conditions.
As with all braided lines, you should anticipate some fading over time, but less than with competing brands.
Weights: 3, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 65, 80, 100, 150, 200, 250
Colors: Vermillion Red, Moss Green, White, High-Vis Yellow
Strands: 4 or 6
Material: resin-infused Spectra
If you regularly angle for really big fish, you’re probably already a fan of Power Pro. And from bass tournaments to tarpon anglers, this heavy weight contender for our top spot has demonstrated why it’s a great choice.
Suffix 832 doesn’t offer a line heavier than 99 pounds, whereas Power Pro steps up to 150, 200, and 250 pounds! For serious fights with real monsters, these can be needed numbers, though you’re really moving into territory where spinning tackle is outclassed by conventional reels and specialized deep sea rods.
Power Pro’s amazing strength comes from Spectra fibers that are infused with proprietary resins to improve the shape and abrasion resistance of the final braid. It also makes this line very slick, allowing you to throw a lure a country mile.
The downside of this coating is that Power Pro can be a touch noisy through the guides. That’s no big deal in our book, especially when we watch our lures land where we want them to.
So why do we give the top spot to Sufix 832?
Color choice and color-fastness.
While Power Pro is the best game in town over 100-pound test, with only four color options, it simply magnifies the visibility problems of braid for line-shy fish. Of course, you can tie-on a mono or fluorocarbon leader--and I often do in clear water with any braid--but I’d have to give the Sufix the nod for 99% of my fishing applications.
Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30
Colors: Clear, Clear Blue Fluorescent, Hi-Vis Gold, Low-Vis Green
High-quality nylon monofilament like Stren Original has been around for decades, proving its worth time and time again on the water. And though you might be tempted to pick a sexier, higher-tech line, you’d be doing yourself a disservice!
Stren Original is perfect for a wide range of fishing applications, offering a winning combination of shock strength, knot integrity, abrasion resistance, and slick casting.
Our tests revealed that Stren Original is extremely abrasion-resistant, crushing similar weights and diameters of braid and equaling tough fluorocarbon like Seaguar InvizX.
Nylon is easy to color, and of course, it’s also available in clear. As a result, Stren Original is great for clear water and line-shy fish.
It’s also pretty darn limp, allowing great casts. Knot integrity is simply awesome with this tough mono, too, and its sensitivity is better than you might think. While not the equal of braid by any means, light strikes aren’t going to be a serious issue if you’re spooling Stren.
This all adds up to some impressive line, making Stren Original an option you should reconsider. At its best when abrasion resistance is necessary and shock strength is critical, I like knowing that my knots are going to hold like handcuffs!
Weights: 8, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100, 130
Colors: Clear, Green, Solar Collector, Steel Blue
Trilene Big Game steps-up the mono test strength, delivering heavy-weight performance that rivals Sufix 832.
For large fish and ugly fights, especially near submerged debris, Big Game is very hard to beat.
Offering vastly better shock strength than braid, much-improved abrasion resistance, and knot integrity super lines can only dream of, when I tackle the big boys, I often reach for Trilene Big Game.
Big Game’s color palette bends toward low-visibility options that have proven their effectiveness on line-shy fish. For clear water, I’m not sure that even the best fluorocarbons are really better than this line, especially not when you consider the whole picture.
Knot strength is excellent, and even in heavy weights, it’s easy to tie. That’s something that just can’t be said for even the best fluorocarbon, and in nasty fights, a knot that holds will be the difference between a fish in your landing net and nothing at all!
And as far as abrasion resistance is concerned, heavy weights of Big Game are as good as it gets. Whether you need a rock-solid leader or run this mono alone, it’s my choice any time I’m angling for big fish near pilings, rocks, or submerged debris.
Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 25
Seaguar InvisX is perhaps the ideal line for crystal clear water, potentially offering near-perfect invisibility. And for line-shy fish and heavy pressure situations, that can make a huge difference!
All fluorocarbons are hard to see, but InvizX pulls away from the pack when you consider casting and knot strength. Spinning reels are going to struggle with fluorocarbon’s memory--that’s an incontrovertible fact--but InvizX is as good as it gets in terms of limp, low-memory casting.
No other fluorocarbon that I’ve used or tested comes close on this front, and this is really the only option I’d recommend for spinning tackle.
And for slick-as-greased-ice fluorocarbon, its knot strength is simply unbeatable. With a well-tied Palomar, the main line may give before the knot lets go, defying a pretty hard and fast law of fishing! Seaguar must be doing some real magic behind the scenes because this is better than even the best nylon monofilaments!
It also offers improved sensitivity over Stren Original, especially when your line is slack, making it an excellent choice for finesse applications like drop-shot rigs and Carolina- or Texas-rigged worms.
If I were choosing a fluorocarbon main line for my spinning reels, I’d be reaching for InvisX!
Because they feature a fixed spool, spinning reels are awesome at bucking the wind, and from fishing for crappie on breezy days to surf-casting from a blustery beach, they’re my first choice when the weather’s iffy for casting.
But the downsides of that fixed spool are two-fold.
First, as you step up in diameter, you increase friction against the lip as you cast, decreasing efficiency relative to a baitcasting reel. In my experience, this is not a big problem, but if super-long casts are the order of the day, try to keep the diameter as low as possible and switch to braid if you can.
Second, that fixed spool sits perpendicular to the rod and its guides. As your line rests on the spool, it’s forced into a tight series of circles, and the stiffer the line, the more “memory” of this shape it will hold as you cast.
Those coiling loops create friction against the guides, decreasing casting distance significantly.
It’s important that you keep this in mind when you select line for your spinning tackle, and high memory options like most fluorocarbons simply won’t cast as well as standard mono or braid.
Braided line is woven of varying numbers of Spectra or Dyneema polyethylene fibers, sometimes with the addition of others like GORE. It can also have coatings added by the manufacturer, improving water resistance, handling, and abrasion resistance.
Very, very strong for diameter, it allows you to spool on quite a bit of line or step up in strength considerably over standard mono or fluorocarbon. It’s also extremely limp--bearing almost no memory--and this enables truly excellent casting performance.
And because neither Dyneema nor Spectra like to stretch, braid is ideal for hard hooksets and finesse techniques that demand the ultimate in sensitivity. In contrast to mono, which can stretch as much as 25%, expect just 1% to 8% stretch from braid.
Excellent sensitivity, hard hooksets, almost no memory, and low diameter--these are the advantages of braid that spinning reel enthusiasts should keep in mind.
But braid has weaknesses, too, and they’re worth understanding.
Because braid doesn't stretch, it offers poor shock strength. When subjected to sudden force, it just can’t absorb the impact, and instead, it can break-off well under it’s rated test strength. That lack of stretch also makes it a lot easier for fish that like to jump and shake to throw a lure.
Moreover, Dyneema and Spectra are very slick materials, and because of that, they have a hard time binding on themselves. The result is that braid exhibits poor knot integrity, often just about half of its rated test strength. For instance, TackleTour’s tests revealed an average knot strength of just 49%.
For 20-pound test, that means that your line will start to experience knot failure at just 9.8 pounds!
Braid is also very weak when you consider abrasion.
We tested braid head-to-head with fluorocarbon and mono, using wet lines and including mono of equivalent diameter. Our results were clear: braid offered vastly lower abrasion resistance than either of its competitors, hands down.
Experts agree with us. “The fact that braided line is manufactured by wrapping multiple strands over the top of each other means that those strands can separate. When they do separate--and they will whenever something hard scratches the surface in just the right way--they allow water to enter what was a sealed surface. When they open up, the water that gets in wears them, and that wear can result in breaks. Trust us when we say that those stresses will result in big fish getting away.”
Finally, Dyneema and Spectra are very hard to color, and clear simply isn’t an option for braid. In clear water or with heavy-weight braid, you’re going to miss line-shy fish.
On spinning tackle, braid has plenty to recommend it.
It casts extremely well, and the slim diameters really play to a spinning reel’s strengths. On windy days, side-by-side with casting tackle, you’ll really notice the difference, and for the most part, wind-blown knots shouldn’t be a problem.
Braid also offers extreme sensitivity and hard hooksets, making it ideal for single-hooked applications, deep jigging, and any situation where you have a lot of line out.
But knot integrity is a problem, and you’ll want to run heavier-test line than you need to boost strength. Remember--you’ll only get about half of your line’s rated test strength at the knot, so run line that’s about 2X the strength you need.
Since Dyneema and Spectra can’t be made translucent, braid is not a good choice for crystal clear water unless you’re running a mono or fluorocarbon leader.
And for fishing around rocks, pilings, oyster shells, or anything else abrasive, I recommend skipping braid altogether. It just can’t take that kind of beating, and even just a touch of contact can severely weaken your line.
For abrasion resistance, switch to mono or fluorocarbon.
Nylon mono is what most of us older guys grew up with, and ditching this proven option for fancier lines isn’t always smart.
Far tougher than you might realize, our tests revealed that mono is as abrasion-resistant as fluorocarbon, with the added benefit that as it stretches under load, it easily returns to its original length. Fluoro won’t, and that deformation weakens the line quite a bit.
Mono also stretches, sometimes to as much as 25% of its length.
That’s both good and bad.
It’s good in that that stretch provides superior shock strength. It also makes it very hard for bass or marlin to throw a lure as the mono’s give essentially glues the hook to its lip.
But it’s bad when you need sensitivity or hard hooksets, and for single-hooked lures, you will notice a difference right away.
For treble hooked applications, though, mono is pretty much top dog. Especially when you consider that mono tends to float, it’s an ideal choice for topwater.
As Bobby Lane explains, mono is ideal “for fishing certain treble-hooked lures like diving and lipless crankbaits. There, the stretch offered by mono is an advantage. It makes it tougher for bass to ‘throw’ the lures during the fight. The stretch is also helpful when it's cold or the bass are finicky and you need them to hold the bait just an instant longer so you can hook them.”
Mono also knots extremely well, easily surpassing both braid and fluorocarbon on this metric. For instance, when TackleTour tested the knot strength of average mono like Trilene XL, they found that it was exceptional: line verified to be 10-pound test held 9.7 pounds at the knot!
Mono can have trouble with memory, and it’s a far cry from braid. But it’s nothing like fluorocarbon, either, and mono also casts really well.
And since mono comes in pretty much any color you want, including several varieties of clear, it’s an excellent choice for fishing in a situation where line visibility can make or break your day.
Mono is an excellent choice in more situations than you might imagine.
For hard fights with big fish, its superior shock strength really does make a difference. And when you have a 30-pound pike suddenly decide to make a run for it, you’ll be glad you’re running mono to take the strain!
Mono also ties well, featuring rock-solid knot integrity. That gives me a lot of confidence in hard fights where knot strength is going to be tested.
Available in a wide variety of low-visibility colors, it’s great when the water’s clear, too.
But it’s not perfect. All that stretch means that hooksets can be weaker than you’d like, especially when you have a lot of line out. And for techniques that demand sensitivity, mono is not the best choice.
Overall, I’d recommend good mono as your go-to line option, switching to braid or fluorocarbon only when mono won’t get the job done.
Fluorocarbon has earned a place in my tackle box, and I think it deserves a place in yours, too. The way I like to think about fluorocarbon is as a braid replacement for crystal clear water.
Fluoro is composed of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a thermoplastic that’s both harder and denser than nylon. That creates some interesting properties, offering advantages that are often overlooked by anglers.
The chief selling-point of fluorocarbon is that it’s touted as being less visible than mono, though it’s worth noting that scientists insist that fluoro is NOT truly invisible in water.
I’m just not sure, and tests like this seem to give the edge to fluorocarbon:
In practice, I’d say that it’s at least as invisible as mono, and perhaps even better. Your mileage may vary, but fluorocarbon is undeniably less visible than braid, and when you can see the bottom like the back of your hand, fluoro starts to make real sense.
Fluorocarbon sinks, but not like lead-core lines!
Note that fluoro sinks at about twice to three times the rate of mono.
That makes it great for deep, clear water but bad for topwater applications where you don’t want your line dragging your lure under. It can also be great for deep-diving crankbaits when the water is very clear.
But here’s the thing: fluorocarbon’s density makes it much more sensitive than mono, and while not the equal of braid by any means, where line visibility is a problem, I’d reach for fluoro for finesse techniques that employ a single hook.
It’s also pretty darn tough, and my tests place it on par with mono in terms of abrasion resistance.
The downsides to fluorocarbon shouldn't be ignored, however.
First, it’s slick and doesn’t knot well, though it’s generally better than braid on this front.
In TackleTour’s testing, the high-end fluorocarbons they reviewed experienced knot failure at an average of 63.5 percent of their tested tensile strength. That means that for the average 20-pound fluorocarbon, knot failure will begin at just 12.7 pounds of force!
InvizX is an outlier, and that’s one reason why it’s our top--and only--pick for spinning tackle.
Second, that additional density creates a potential problem. Fluorocarbon tends to stretch more than comparable mono, but it takes more force to initiate that deformation. When it does elongate under load, however, it doesn’t want to return to its original length, and some of the stretch is permanent (about 5%)--yielding weaker line!
Finally, that density makes fluorocarbon less pliable, giving it more memory than its competitors and typically limiting casting performance. For spinning reels, that’s a deal-breaker, and only InvizX makes the cut, in my opinion.
For spinning tackle, most fluorocarbon lines retain too much memory. The exception, in my experience, is Seaguar’s InvizX.
That said, fluorocarbon’s strong suit isn’t casting distance, but rather low-visibility and high sensitivity. For that reason, it’s perhaps best to think of fluoro as a braid replacement when the water’s as clear as a swimming pool.
InvizX also excels at knot integrity, unlike many of its competitors. That makes me pretty confident in a hard fight, though the problem of deformation is still an issue that troubles me.
Overall, in situations that demand sensitivity and invisibility, I’m not sure that I’d use fluorocarbon rather than braid with a strong mono leader.
We hope that this article has helped you narrow your choices, selecting the right lines for your conditions and needs when you’re fishing spinning tackle.
If it has, we’d love to hear from you.
Please leave a comment below!