What is a Fishing Line?
A fishing line is a cord used in angling to aid in the capture of
fish. Important factors of a fishing line are its strength, the
material from which it is made and diameter (thicker lines are more
visible to fish). Factors that may determine what line an angler
chooses for a given fishing environment include breaking strength,
knot strength, UV resistance, castability, limpness, stretch,
abrasion resistance, and visibility.
Fishing lines were once constructed from horse hair or silk thread.
From the 1850s, modern industrial machinery was employed to fashion
fishing lines in quantity. Most of these lines were made from
linen, silk, and more rarely cotton or flax, sometimes with a
waterproofing compound added during line manufacture.
Catgut was also once used as a fishing line and is a type of cord prepared from the
natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or
goat intestines were used, but it was occasionally made from the
intestines of a hog, horse, mule, pig or donkey. Although one could
conceivably prepare catgut from cat intestines, the name neither
implies nor derives from any association with cats
This guide and table below is for fishing lines intended for bait fishing or
spinning for coarse and game fishing.
Modern fishing lines are
almost entirely made from artificial substances, including nylon,
polyethylene and Dacron. The most common type of line is monofilament, made
of a single strand of man made material. Fishermen often use monofilament because of its
buoyant characteristics and its ability to stretch under load
before breaking. Recently, other alternatives to standard nylon
monofilament lines have been introduced made of co-polymers, fluorocarbon, or a
combination of the two materials. Fluorocarbon fishing line is
valued for its refractive index, which is similar to that of water,
making it less visible to fish. Fluorocarbon is also a more dense
material, and therefore is not nearly as buoyant as monofilament.
Anglers often utilize fluorocarbon when they need their baits to
stay closer to the bottom without the use of heavy sinkers.
are also lines known as 'double strength'. These lines are usually
pre-stretched and their smaller diameter with lack of stretch have
greater strength relative to standard nylon monofilament lines of
around double the breaking strain, hence 'double strength'
There are also specialty lines such as braided
fishing lines and lines for fly-fishing.
Braided fishing lines as the name suggests is made
from braided materials. Originally natural fibres such as cotton
were used to make braid and the lines tended to be thick in
diameter. These days the manufacture of braided line has advanced
with using modern man made materials such as Dacron resulting in a
low diameter very strong line. Braided lines have a greater overall
strength than monofilament or fluorocarbon lines in relation to its
diameter although one drawback is that they are visible in the
water. Braided lines are more popular with specimen carp anglers
and sea anglers.
Another type of fishing line is the fly-fishing lines that are used
by trout and salmon anglers. The type and weight of fly fishing
lines are dependant on a number of things; what fly fishing rod you
will be using, what species you'll be pursuing and size of fly.
Your local tackle shop will be able to give more advice.
Some anglers refer to fishing line by the breaking
strain and others by the diameter of the line.
This table is a general guide of the most commonly used line by diameter and
approximate breaking strain.
Breaking Strains and Diameters of
Monofilament Fishing Line
|| 1lb 2oz
|| 1lb 12oz
|| 2lb 6oz
|| 2lb 14oz
|| 3lb 4oz
|| 4lb 12oz
|| 5lb 10oz
|| 6lb 8oz
|| 7lb 12oz
|| 10lb 4oz
|| 11lb 6oz
Article by Jim Boswell Copyright