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Choosing Which Fishing Line

Are you stuck choosing which fishing line you need for your saltwater fishing? Then read our handy guide below to find out the main differences between the different line types, you can also contact us for any additional advice and to ask any further questions you may have!

Guide to choosing the best type of line to load onto your saltwater reel

Guide to choosing the best type of line to load onto your saltwater reel

There are some important decisions to be made when deciding what line to fill your saltwater reel with. Here are some of the main points to consider:-

  • Do I need the maximum possible length of line on the spool?
  • Is abrasion resistance high up my priority list?
  • Is a level of stretch in the line useful or not?
  • Do I need out and out strength in the line to stop fish reaching snags or can I let fish run in open water to tire them out?
  • Am I fishing from a Sport Fishing vessel that can follow hooked fish or a Sailing vessel that cannot stop or be easily manoeuvred?

By answering these questions you can probably make a good decision.

Let’s look at the options and the pros and cons of each:

Fishing Line Guide

Nylon Monofilament Line


  • Easy to manage, untangle and load onto your reel.
  • Generally cheaper than braided lines.
  • Easy to knot/crimp.
  • Good abrasion resistance.
  • In-built stretch makes mono more forgiving and safer for novices.


  • Much thicker than braided line for a given breaking strain – a much shorter length will fit on your reel and the greater thickness will catch the tide more so you will need much heavier leads to hold bottom.
  • The stretch will have a negative effect on working lures such as poppers and feeling delicate bites through the line.
  • Line will be weakened by long term exposure to UV light.

Braided Lines


  • Extremely thin for its given breaking strain – a much greater length of line can be loaded. Also the line will reduce in volume on the spool as a fish runs more slowly, making drag management much easier (drag pressure increases as the spool empties). Less water pressure on the thinner line.
  • Almost no stretch, so better for working fishing lures and feeling bites when finesse is required.
  • Better casting performance.


  • Needs to be carefully secured to the reel spool to prevent slipping before loading. We will look at the best way to do this later.
  • Must be loaded onto the reel spool under a good amount of tension, particularly with big game reels, otherwise under high drag settings it may cut into the line on the spool and jam the reel. Ideally big game reels should be loaded on a line-winding machine with a braking system that can apply a continual pressure. We have this machine at Rok Max.
  • Can be hard to knot and achieve good knot strength. Knots are liable to slipping and in some instances specialist knots and knotting/splice equipment is required.

Hollow-Core Braided Line

Hollow-core braid is now the most popular line type for loading onto big game reels. The usual option is to partially load the reel with hollow-core then splice or loop on a ‘top-shot’ of nylon monofilament line between 50 and 150yds long. This system allows the best attributes of both line types to be exploited. In most circumstances only the top-shot will be changed regularly as wear and tear dictates. So you will have an impressive length of line on the reel plus the stretch and abrasion resistance that the mono top-shot offers.

You can either insert the mono inside the hollow-core and lock it in place with a whipping, or create a loop in the end of the hollow-core and attached a wind-on top-shot loop to loop. The loop to loop attachment is best if you think you might need to change the top-shot while you are at sea. A tool is required for both – the process is explained in the following videos.

Attaching line to the spool of your reel

Attaching line to the spool of your reel

  1. I’ve found the best way to do this is by first cleaning the reel spool to remove any oil or grease that might encourage the line to slip around the spool.
  2. Once you are satisfied that its clean, then wind the line around the spool 6 times, first making sure the passage of the line to the spool of line is in the correct position. If it is the wrong side of a part of the reel frame you will have to cut it off and start again.
  3. Now tie a uni or grinner knot to the line leading to the line spool – then push the loops going around the reel spool together and with the reel in freespool gradually tighten up the knot.
  4. Now tighten everything up as much as you can. Once you’re happy that the line is gripping the spool tighten the drag and test to see if the knot is slipping. Hopefully it will now be locked solid.
  5. You can put a layer of electrical tape around the reel spool so that the line has something to grip on to but this isn’t usually necessary even with braid.
  6. If the line is slipping it will feel like the drag on the reel isn’t working when in fact it is the braid slipping around the spool. We ‘mend’ around half a dozen reels a year with this problem.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Rok Max or call us on 01635 736436 if you need any help deciding or would like us to load your reels using our professional grade line-winding machine.