I’m often asked exactly which mono line I use for fishing, but I can’t answer that specifically as I tend to choose different line for different types of fishing. In short, for me, there is no perfect all round line that covers every eventuality. That said some come close!
When using mono on both shore and boat reels, I look for limited stretch, high knot strength, but a line that recovers quickly when pulling hard on big fish that suddenly turns direction creating partial slack. This quick recovery ensures pressure on the hook hold is better maintained.
For long range casting leaders I prefer a semi stiff, minimal stretch mono in 60 or 80lbs. Being stiff with little elasticity means that contact with the lead, when setting up the cast, is maintained. And because the leader has minimal stretch, I find you maximise the power of the lead and rod compression when pulling through on the power stroke prior to lead release.
Also, with minimal stretch, when the leader is going through the rod rings, there is minimal catapult effect as the stretch contracts creating less slack line to bunch up in the intermediate rings as it travels through.
For general shore fishing with multiplier reels I like a main reel line that’s fairly supple, but with not too much stretch, and it also needs good knotting ability. With a fixed spool reel, then ideally I like a slightly less supple line that flies off the spool easily, but again with minimal memory so that the line is not prone to throwing up big coils of line as it spills off the spool.
See what I mean…it’s not easy to find an all round solution! And it doesn’t end there!
Across all mono lines, overall I’m especially looking for consistency in diameter and strength. Some lines can alter breaking strain by a few percent across a given length, this can be due to manufacturing weaknesses, but a variance in diameter is a common cause. This becomes a problem when working very big fish that need to be bullied through rough ground. Any weaker areas will come under extreme pressure and will result in lost fish.
Abrasion is always a hard factor to understand. Soft lines tend to stretch a lot and if they get a surface nick, as pull stress increases the nick in the surface also extends and weakens inevitably resulting in the line parting. The other side of the coin is that a harder surface line resists abrasion better and reduces the likelihood of this happening. Trying to find a line with a happy medium is difficult!
For sheer versatility, currently I’m using Berkley XTS Saltwater Red. I’ve been using the 15lb XTS on my ABU 6500i TSR’s for maximum range fishing and find it very reliable and smooth casting off these smaller, highly tuned reels.
The 20lb XTS is on my Penn 525Mag2’s for medium rough ground fishing, and it’s stood up well. At a pinch, in snotty weather with lots of weed about, I’ll load with the 25lb. It recovers quickly after heavy direct stress, but has a good abrasion resistance, and is supple enough to cast extremely well off a multiplier spool in the heavier diameters.
The 30lb I’ve been using for most of my shore conger and huss fishing on bigger reels such as my original ABU 9000C 2-speeds. Its ability to initially give, then recover quickly has helped shy congers take the bait without feeling to much rod or line pressure resulting in more fish caught.
When fishing bass over rough ground with crab, I’ve also chosen the XTS in 20 and 30lb as a main reel line fishing direct to the rig. Its dark red colour tends to “hide” in amongst the rocks and weed well, but its rapid recovery and abrasion resistance have proven it a good choice.
Though admittedly I much prefer multiplier reels for long range fishing, I do sometimes switch to big fixed spool reels when field testing and for some long range fishing situations in calmer weather over clean sand with the longer European style rods. The XTS has proved a good reliable line for maximum range casting with the big fixed spools when mono is my preferred choice. It comes off the spool cleanly with line coils reduced to give a cleaner flow through the rod rings.
I’ve also been using the 20 and 30lb for a fair bit of my boat fishing. The 20 and 30 were loaded on my Penn International 16 and 30 shark reels this year and it proved a tough and reliable line with the ability to pour off the spool smoothly when light line fishing for very big fish.
And with its listed advantages I’ve also used the 30 and 45lb as a leader material when fishing 3 and 4oz leads at night in the surf for bass and general species.
As mentioned, each individual angler will have a specific preference in lines, and we’ve also stated there is no “perfect” all round line. But in my own fishing I’ve found Berkley XTS Red is currently covering 75% of all my mono fishing.
It’s available in breaking strains 12lbs, 15lbs, 18lbs, 20lbs, 25lbs, 30lbs and 45lbs, so covers all aspects of sea fishing.