Complete Guide to Monofilament Line

Monofilament line often referred to as “mono” is the most well-known type of fishing line. Monofilament has been around forever and likely what you used growing up. If you buy a rod and reel combo that is already spooled with line it is very likely that it is spooled with monofilament.

Monofilament fishing line is primarily made out of nylon and often blended with copolymers.

Key Attributes of Monofilament Line

  • Floats
  • Largest Diameter
  • Mostly Clear
  • Lots of Stretch

Cons of Monofilament

  • Memory – Monofilament has the most memory of any fishing line. Lines with memory will develop curls over time from being on a spool. You will notice this when you cast out. Instead of your line going out straight it will have loops in it. This memory will affect casting distance as well as the likelihood of developing kinks or knots in your line.
  • Least Sensitive – Mono has the least amount of sensitivity compared to braid or fluoro. The lack of sensitivity can make it harder to detect bites and know what is happening at the end of your line.

Pros of Monofilament

  • Most affordable line – much cheaper than both braid and fluorocarbon
  • Other pros will be situation-specific, we will go over these next.

When to Use Monofilament Line

Monofilament fishing lines can be used on both spinning and baitcaster reels. Mono can also be used for targeting just about any species of fish. Even though mono can be used for any situation that doesn’t mean it is the best choice for every situation. I use mono in the following situations:

Fishing Topwater Lures

Monofilament is the best fishing line when fishing topwater. Because mono floats it doesn’t hurt a topwater lure’s action. Both braid and fluorocarbon tend to pull down the nose of topwater lures which can hurt the lure’s action.

When You Need More Shock Absorption

Monofilament can also be a great line choice if your rod is a heavier action than you would prefer for a given situation. For example, if you only have a heavy rod that you typically use for flipping heavy cover and you want to try fishing a treble hooked bait. A heavy action rod would be too much power and likely bend out treble hooks or could tear the fish’s mouth from too much force. By using mono you are adding some stretch that your rod doesn’t have to gain more flexibility without needing more rods.

Another example where adding stretch can be beneficial is if you are using braid as a mainline and are targeting giant fish. Big fish can generate a lot of force and since braid has no stretch all that force is transferred onto your hooks, knot, and rod. This force can often be too much and can cause your hooks to bend out, knots to fail, or even break your rod. Losing a giant fish can be heartbreaking so using a short mono leader with braid can give you just enough shock absorption needed to successfully land the fish.

When You Need a Lure to Run Shallower Than Usual

There are times when you want to keep your lure higher up in the water column than it normally runs. For example, if you are fishing a squarebill that normally dives down to 5ft in super shallow water that is only 3ft deep. Since monofilament line floats it adds lift to the lure and prevents it from diving to its normal depth.

Another example would be if you’re trying to fish above grass and your lure keeps dipping into the grass and getting hung up. Switching to a mono leader could be all you need to keep your bait up above it.

Monofilament Shelf Life

How Often You Should Replace Mono

When actively fishing with monofilament its life span will depend on the frequency of use. Anglers who fish weekly will need to replace their mono line more often, about every 2-3 months.

Anglers who only fish a handful of times a year will only need to replace their line once a season.

How Long Monofilament Last in Storage

When properly stored monofilament line can last up to 3 years before needing to be replaced. Sunlight and high temperatures can dramatically weaken mono overtime so choosing the right location for storage can make a big difference. The best place to store mono is in an air-conditioned spot away from windows.

Frequently Asked Questions About Monofilament

Does monofilament line absorb water?

Yes, monofilament fishing line absorbs water as you use it. When you are done fishing it will dry back out. To prevent mono line from absorbing water you can treat it with a line conditioner.

What is the best monofilament fishing line?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a short answer to this as certain lines are better in certain situations. We recommend you read our monofilament buyers guide for specific recommendations and when to use them.