In order to select the best type of saltwater fishing line to use in the backwaters or on the flats, you’ll want to do a bit of preliminary research on the species, area, and conditions. Is the water clear and clean? Are you fishing near docks or pilings? Does the species you are fishing for have teeth or an abrasive mouth? Answers to these questions will help you choose the right line based on abrasion resistance, visibility, stretch and overall durability. You can minimize the chances of a broken line and lost fish by remembering a few important things.
- Braided line is a good choice for inshore saltwater fishing since it doesn’t break down as easily after being exposed to the elements. Braided line is also extremely strong and will allow you to have more line on your reel due to small diameter (more line can be contained on the spool). Braided line has recently become available in a variety of colors that can help with visibility if you have several anglers fishing from the same boat. The downfall of braided line? Braid is not as abrasion resistant as monofilament.
- For most inshore fishing applications, using 10 lb to 20 lb test braided line will be sufficient. When inshore saltwater fishing off of the beach for snook, as an example, I use 10 lb braided line with 30 lb test fluorocarbon leader material since the fluorocarbon leader will hold up better against tail swipes, gill rubs and toothy or sandpaper-like fish mouths.
- If you are a beginner and plan to fish an area where there is a considerable amount of structure, you will be better off using monofilament line. Monofilament is more abrasion resistant and is less likely to break if you are fishing off of a dock, near pilings or close to rocks. Just remember to change your line every few months or more if you use monofilament since it doesn’t hold up to the saltwater like braid does.
- Always buy extra leader line and keep it easily accessible. If you are fishing areas with structure, rocks, or branches, your leader will rub up against these objects and up against the fish’s mouth, causing it to weaken. When in doubt about the amount of stress that has been placed on your leader, change it. I make a point of storing two to three extra spools of 30 lb fluorocarbon leader in my tackle box at all times. I prefer fluorocarbon leader since fluorocarbon is particularly abrasion resistant and nearly invisible in the water.