Currently set to Index
Currently set to Follow

Best Monofilament Fishing Lines Reviewed: Mono is Better Than You Might Think

Monofilament often doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Knot-friendly, abrasion-resistant, and shock-absorbing mono should definitely be in your fishing arsenal.
Reviewed by: John Baltes
Last Updated:
Best Monofilament Fishing Lines Reviews

3 FEATURED PRODUCTS

The best monofilament fishing lines share a few things in common. They hold most knots like they’re coated in superglue, they resist abrasion like they’re made of steel, and they provide just enough stretch to cushion hooksets and prevent bass from throwing your hooks.

Related:


Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

Stren Original has been around for a very long time, and many anglers tied their first knots with it. Since then, many have shelved the Stren for fluorocarbon and braid. But, this mono deserves a closer look.

It comes in low- and high-vis options. It also comes in fluorescent for night fishing. There’s a color for nearly any condition. Clear and Low-Vis Green are always good choices. For crappie, go with Hi-Vis gold. Stren has you covered.

Stren Original shines when abrasion is an issue. Many fishermen have found that it makes a great leader for braid. That says a lot right there, and this was confirmed by our own testing.

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 to us. We find that Stren is pretty good at detecting light strikes even with a lot of line in the water. It won't offer the sensitivity of fluorocarbon for slack-line. But, we weren't disappointed and think you won't be either!

Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30

Colors: Clear, Clear Blue Fluorescent, Hi-Vis Gold, Low-Vis Green

Pros:

  • Very low memory
  • Excellent casting
  • Night fishing options available
  • High-visibility options available
  • Outstanding abrasion resistance
  • Easy to tie
  • Good sensitivity

Cons:

  • Heavy weight tests not available
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

If you need heavy-weight mono, Trilene Big Game delivers. You're tackling striped bass or redfish, monster catfish or lake trout. It won't disappoint.

Big Game’s color palette offers nearly invisible options. But, it lacks high-visibility or fluorescent choices. That said, these are proven colors. They blend into the background in many conditions. Many saltwater anglers know this well! Many fishermen have used this instead of the pricier fluorocarbon. The fish can't see Big Game.

Knot strength is excellent, and even in heavyweights, it’s easy to tie. Admirably limp and low on memory, it casts well, too.

This is especially true as the line gets heavier and wider. Trilene Big Game gets very, very resistant to abrasion. For large fish putting up a fight near reefs and rocks, you probably can’t find a better product.

Weights: 8, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100, 130

Colors: Clear, Green, Solar Collector, Steel Blue

Pros:

  • Very low memory
  • Excellent casting
  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Easy to tie

Cons:

  • Average sensitivity
  • No fluorescent or high-visibility options
  • Light tests not available
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

Trilene XL is well known to many anglers, and that XL - extra limp - isn’t just marketing hype. 

Give this line a try, and you’ll be as impressed as we were.

Trilene XL comes in few colors. But, Clear and Low-Vis Green cover most situations where you need your line to blend with the water. They don’t offer a high-visibility option for panfish. But, they do provide a fluorescent choice for night fishing.

As its name suggests, Trilene XL offers anglers a very limp line with low memory. It casts well. It knots easily. It's trouble-free unless left on a small spinning spool for a long time. We don’t recommend you do that with any line. So, this is hardly a point to quibble over. If you take care to re-spool or at least get the kinks out, you’ll have no problems.

It’s tough stuff, too, and reasonably abrasion resistant. While not at the top of our list, it’ll deliver, especially in the heavier weights.

Surprisingly, we didn’t feel like we lost much sensitivity when running Trilene XL. That said, it’s not braid.

I’ve used this line a lot, and while it’s not my favorite, it’s a solid, dependable choice for long casts.

Weights: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30

Colors: Clear, Clear/Blue Fluorescent, Low-Vis Green

Pros:

  • Very low memory
  • Excellent casting
  • Good abrasion resistance
  • Easy to tie
  • Good sensitivity
  • Fluorescent options available

Cons:

  • No heavy-weight tests available
  • No high-visibility options
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

It comes in a wide range of weights. They cover most fishing needs. Maxima has won a reputation for great durability and incredible abrasion resistance.

I reach for Maxima Ultragreen One Shot when I’m fishing inshore. I fish around pilings, barnacle-covered structures, oyster beds, and other rough spots. The Ultragreen color matches the water where I fish in Port Fourchon and Leeville.

I might choose a clear mono over a Maxima Ultragreen when fishing clear lakes. But, if the water is murky or stained, this is a great color to use.

It's very sensitive. Even when wet for hours, it's worked well. I've never had issues with knots while using Ultragreen.

The only real downside to this Maxima is that it's super durable. But, this durability comes at the cost of stiffness and memory. On my reel, it can feel like fluorocarbon, even in light test strengths. So, I always keep line conditioner ready when I’m spooling on a new batch.

That said, there’s no denying that Maxima’s Ultragreen One Shot is great mono, especially inshore.

Weights: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, and 40

Colors: Ultragreen

Pros:

  • Great color for murky, stained, and green water
  • Very tough - outstanding abrasion resistance
  • Ties and knots well
  • Sensitive
  • Casts well when line conditioner is applied

Cons:

  • Can be stiffer than it should
  • Can have a lot of memory, even in low test strengths
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

Siege is available in a range of colors that we like. From Clear to Camo to Smoke Green, you’ll find this line flat disappears in water. And if you need high-visibility, Neon Tangerine’s a great choice. Unfortunately, if you’re a night angler, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a fluorescent option.

Siege is extruded and wound to prevent memory, and we find it to be plenty limp and easy to cast and handle. Knotting is as easy as you’d think; expect no trouble there.

In terms of abrasion resistance, Siege stands up to abuse well. But, Stren Original is hard to beat on this front.

The Siege’s sensitivity is about average for mono.

Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30

Colors: Clear, Camo, Neon Tangerine, Smoke Green

Pros:

  • Very low memory
  • Excellent casting
  • High-visibility options available
  • Excellent abrasion resistance
  • Easy to tie

 

Cons:

  • Average sensitivity
  • No fluorescent options
  • Heavy weight tests not available
Summary
Specifications
Pros & Cons

Sufix Advance is a co-polymer. It uses HMPE (high modulus polyethylene) and Hyper Copolymer to make a mono line. The line is super-sensitive and low-stretch. It keeps the amazing durability and knot friendliness you’d expect.

It comes in many test strengths. They cover most fresh- and saltwater uses. This Sufix Advance is great for inshore fishing. It's also good for running topwater lures, crankbaits, jerkbaits, or other treble-hooked lures.

It gives just enough to cushion hooksets and absorb sudden shocks. It also prevents thrown hooks. It can take a beating on rocks, stumps, pilings, and other line-eating structures.

I find that it ties really well, holds knots like they’re coated in pine sap, and casts well.

The color offerings are nice. They give you two low-visibility options and one that’s easy to see. This is good for crappie and other panfish.

But like Maxima Ultragreen One Shot, it often has plenty of memory, even in the light tests. A bit of line conditioner and proper spooling tend to take care of that, and it’s not a problem with every spool I’ve opened.

Weights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20, 25

Colors: Neon Lime, Low-Vis Green, Clear

Pros:

  • Great color  options, including a high-vis Neon Lime
  • Very tough - outstanding abrasion resistance
  • Ties and knots well
  • Sensitive
  • Casts well when line conditioner is applied

Cons:

  • Can be stiffer than it should
  • Can have a lot of memory, even in low test strengths

Why Fish with Monofilament Fishing Line?

Standard monofilament is composed of a single strand of blended nylon polymers. The precise mix of these, and the addition of any coating, is much of what separates one brand from another. 

But generally speaking, nylon monofilament is formulated to provide high shock strength, excellent knotability, and low-visibility. 

And as line technology has improved over the years, mono has only gotten better.

Pros:

  • Stretch - The nylon polymers that are used in monofilament are quite elastic, and they’ll stretch under load--sometimes byas much as 25 percent! The exact amount of stretch varies by brand, diameter, and wetness. Nylon mono stretches a lot more than braid. It stretches about as much as fluorocarbon.

This stretch can be a lifesaver when a big fish hits your line hard. It acts as a shock absorber. The give-in mono prevents that stress from reaching your knots. It stops it from causing a failure at the line’s weakest point. It’s also easier for tender-mouthed fish like crappie. This stretch makes it a great choice for lures with treble hooks. It's also great for top water and aggressive fighters like largemouth.

Why?

The braid lacks stretch. This is good in some cases, but bad in a hard fight. Especially when a fish shakes its head to throw the lure. The extra cushion of mono helps keep those hooks where they need to be. 

Bobby Lane was the 2008 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year and Elite Series champion. He says: "Mono makes it harder for bass to 'throw' the lures in the fight." The stretch is also helpful when it's cold or the bass is picky. You need them to hold the bait a bit longer so you can hook them.”

You can get low and high-visibility options. Nylon mono is easy to dye. So, it’s usually in many long-wearing colors to match your conditions. For those who fish with visible lines, mono comes in bright yellow and other high-visibility colors. Even night anglers can find something to love. Many brands offer a fluorescent line that glows in blacklight for easy handling.

In terms of invisibility to fish, our research reveals that nylon is as invisible in water as fluorocarbon. That’s probably a shock to many of you, and it was to us, too!

  • Superior abrasion resistance - Another shocking fact about mono is that it’s very abrasion resistant when compared to braid and fluorocarbon. 

That stands to reason: nylon is pretty tough material and it’s forgiving of tiny scratches and nicks. Diameter to diameter, repeated testing shows that nylon mono will outperform even fluorocarbon!

And while it’s true that mono absorbs water, becoming less abrasion resistant as it does, check out this video:

To be fair, this is one brand in one test--this isn’t science! SaltStrong repeated this test with wet mono as well, and the result was identical. While not conclusive, it does demonstrate something you should know about mono: it’s far more abrasion-resistant than you might expect. 

And there are differences across brands:

  • Knot friendly- Monofilament is very easy to tie and generally superior to braid and fluoro in terms of knot strength. While there are exceptions for some fluoro lines, it’s fair to say that mono enjoys a huge advantage in this respect. 

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!

  • Floating - Nylon isn’t particularly dense material, and it tends to sink very slowly. That can be an advantage when fishing top water, for instance, but it’s not ideal in all situations and for all techniques.

Cons:

  • Memory - Monofilament “remembers” the shape of the spool, and especially on ultralight reels or in heavier weights, this can lead to line twist.
  • Absorbs water - Mono absorbs water. As Berkley notes, this means that it will get a little easier to handle, cast, and tie as it loses much of its memory. But it will also encourage even more stretch. 
  • Low sensitivity - If mono has a real weakness, it’s low sensitivity. Because it stretches well and isn’t very dense, mono can make it hard to detect bites and feel details, especially if you have a lot of line between your rod and lure.

On this front, both braid and fluorocarbon are superior.

When We Like to Use Mono Fishing Line

Nylon monofilament has a lot of strengths, and there are a ton of situations where it’s an awesome choice.

  • Topwater - Mono’s propensity for slow-sinking is ideal of topwater applications. And when you add its incredible shock strength to the mix, you have an ideal combination for aggressive strikes on topwater lures.
  • Treble hooked lures - You don’t need a ton of force to set a treble hook. Indeed, too much power on the hookset is a problem that’s solved by mono’s stretch. And while it’s not ideal for some applications, we like to run it with positively buoyant treble hooked lures like Rapala’s Original Floater.
  • When we need abrasion resistance and casting distance - All things being equal, mono generally outcasts comparable fluorocarbon, while offering better abrasion resistance than either fluorocarbon or braid. When we need long casts and high abrasion resistance, we reach for mono!
  • When we need stretch and shock strength and are worried about knot integrity with a leader - One solution to running braid as main line is to attach a length of fluorocarbon or nylon monofilament leader. But every knot is a failure waiting to happen, especially with braided superlines. When we need stretch and shock strength, and want to avoid a potential problem, we spool on an excellent mono and fish with confidence.
  • When we don’t have a lot of money to spend - Let’s be honest. For every bass angler with a slew of rods and reels, an expensive boat, and every lure in Bass Pro, there’s a guy who’s got a tight budget. Fluorocarbon and braid are expensive line choices, and most of the time, a good mono can get the job done for a fraction of the price. That’s something we appreciate about nylon monofilament, and we think you will, too!

How We Use Monofilament Fishing Line

A key advantage of mono is that it’s easy to use, and there are very few problems you’ll need to keep in mind.

  • Store it out of the sun - Nylon isn’t UV resistant, and leaving your reels and line in the sun when you store them will quickly degrade its integrity. Always store your gear inside, out of the sun, when not in use.
  • Fix line twist - If you find that your line is twisting as it leaves the spool, there’s a simple fix. Loop it over a tree branch, stick, fence post, or friend, and start walking. Strip all the line from the spool, and then reel it back in under slight tension near the reel. That will allow the line to untwist and re-spool with less memory.

Final Thoughts

We can’t tell you which is the best monofilament for your needs, but we can all but guarantee that you’ll love the lines on our shortlist.

As always, we’re here to answer any questions you might have, so please leave a comment below.

About The Author
John Baltes
Chief Editor & Contributor
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
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

8 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thomas Palmer
Thomas Palmer
4 years ago

I might just be remembering wrong but I think didn’t Stren Original out preform Big Game and all others when tested regarding strength and abrasion resistance.

Terry
Terry
4 years ago

I personally can't imagine anyone liking Stren. I have tried it several times over the years. Nothing but a nightmare. I always end up replacing with Trilene. I should have just saved the money!

Lee
Lee
Reply to  Terry
1 year ago

I like trilene xl as well. Been using that stuff for years and years. I have tried spiderwire and yozuri etc but i always end up back at trilene xl. I recently tried some of that red zebco cajin stuff. Its not to bad but im not convinced that the color hasnt cost me a few bites.

Cal
Cal
5 years ago

Somewhat surprized that Maxima didn't make the list, but in all a really great article. Having gone through several phases where I used braid for awhile, and then eventually went back to using mono I'd agree with most of what has been said. Besides what has been mentioned, I would also like to note that poplar fuzz and other debris, as well as ice in the winter, seem to stick far more firmly to braid than to mono. I've recently started using 40lb Berkley Big Game Leader Material for catching pike, rather than fluoro or wire with good results.

Jason Harrell
Jason Harrell
Reply to  John Baltes
2 years ago

One thing to note , and this works well. When stringing up new line on a spin cast reel. Old man taught me , Only run the line through the first eye up from the reel. As you reel , keep that first eye over the spool as it lay face down or up on the floor in front of you. Reel the line till it starts to twist , then flip the spool over and reel some more , keep doing that till you fill your spool. Line should come off the reel smoothly and stay uncoiled.

eddie
eddie
5 years ago

very good no bs article--would have liked to have you throw in a copolymer or 2 to cover the entire hype range. you have really opened my thinking on the money I spend to believe in company advertisement. good job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *