Tools of the Trade: Monofilament Fishing Line


monofilBy: Charlie McCullough

Fishing line is the most critical component of angling gear. This thin piece of string is the only connection between angler and fish. Proper choice and care for fishing line equates to landing big fish.

Monofilament is the most popular fishing line worldwide—approximately two of every three spools bought is monofilament. Monofilament line is made of nylon. How it’s made is by melting and mixing polymers, then extruding through tiny holes, forming strands of line, which is then spun onto spools. The extrusion process controls not only the thickness of the line but also the test of the line.

Invented by DuPont in 1939, early mono was very stiff, also known as wiry. Braided Dacron remained number one in usage until Stren, a thinner monofilament line developed by DuPont in 1958, revolutionized fishing. Monofilament line is lighter weight, has good knot strength and very low visibility to the fish. It is easy to use and casts great. Monofilament also doesn’t break as easily as frayed Dacron. With this new, softer line, anglers could use mono in a large range of reels, including newly introduced spinning and spin casting tackle. Quality of mono, even today, is generally reflected in its price.

Line is the connection between fish and angler. Swivels, leaders, hooks and other terminal tackle attach between the line and the fish. Monofilament line quickly became popular in the early 1960s and remains popular today because knot tying is easier while maintaining excellent knot strength. A search of the internet will bring up lots of ways to tie fishing knots. Here is a short list of the easiest to tie and strongest knots.

Recommended Monofilament Connections

  • Monofilament connection to a hook or swivel: Uni-Knot
  • Monofilament to fluorocarbon: Double Uni-Knot
  • Monofilament to wire: Albright Knot
  • Thick monofilament (greater than 100-pound test): Aluminum Crimps

Nothing lasts forever—and mono is no different. Regularly changing your line is important. Nylon monofilament degrades with time and can weaken when exposed to heat and sunlight. Storage of monofilament is best in a cool, dry, dark place. Reel oil can have a negative impact on nylon. Care for your connection to the fish! Change your line often.

Be kind to Mother Nature. Monofilament fishing lines can cause many environmental dangers due to its near transparency while in the water. Discarded monofilament fishing lines can cause harm to birds, fish, marine mammals and other aquatic life, as well as swimmers and divers who may not see the line. Most states provide recycling stations at boat ramps and public fishing places.

Proper choice and care of fishing line ensures the best chance for angling success.

Quit wishin’, go fishin’!

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