Alan Yates on Sea Fishing Lines

The range of lines for sea angling is confusing. Monofilament, braid, fluorocarbon and what’s copolymer? The choice between colours, diameters and breaking strains adds to the complications. Here Alan Yates looks at the TF Gear range of monofilament line and deciphers some of the jargon.

Line is the sea angler’s most crucial link with the fish and in a harsh sea angling environment it’s the item of tackle most at risk from damage or failure. Essential when choosing a line either for mainline, shock leader or terminal rigs is that it is of a diameter that will both allow you to cast to the fish, deceive the fish and retrieve them. Diameter, knock strength and a lines durability are the essentials with breaking strains sometimes mythical so I choose liner by diameter which YOU can measure as fact.

The more expensive modern copolymer lines are superior to the old nylon and monofilaments of the past because they are constructed by uniting the molecules of two or more different compounds adding both “knock strength”, suppleness and especially lack of memory. Straighten the line in your fingers and its stays straight, the older monofilaments retain a curve and are springier.

Line technology advances continually with the introduction of fluorocarbon lines and space age fibres producing ever thinner and stronger lines of all kinds including a diverse range of braids.

Lots of lines, especially the braids are identical and indeed come from a few world manufacturers, Japan, America, Germany and increasingly India and the Far East. Only the spool and label are different


Nan Tec mainline Mono

low diameter hi tech surfcasting mono available in red, clear or gunsmoke. Available in 0.25 to 0.55m. Typical 4oz spool of 15lb/0.35mm is 884metres. Its abrasion resistance, durability and tensile strength make it a favourite amongst specimen and match anglers.

Aftershock leader line

Soft and supple ideal for leaders or rigs, available in clear or red on 100metres spools in a mix of diameters.

Aftershock tapered leaders

A high impact mono leader tapering from 0.37mm to 0.80mm (13metres long) and especially suitable for low reel position. Five on a spool and available in clear or Hi Viz orange.

Fishtec Unit 5&6 Ffrwdgrech Indust Estate, Brecon, Powys. LD3 8LA Tel 08719117045 Web:


Shock leaders: A shock leader is essential for beachcasting with leads above 2oz simply because any lead that snaps off the line could be lethal. Leaders should be rated at 10lb per ounce of lead (6oz – 60lb leader) They need to be around twice the length of the rod.

Rig making lines are lines made especially for making terminal rigs, it the past any line was used, but now a few firms have selected lines especially for rig building because they offer a lack of coiling memory and are more supple and are also smooth with a consistent diameter and knot strength.

Tapered shock leaders: Tapered shock leaders are especially effective where a large leader knot may restrict casting performance, such as when using a fixed spool reel or a multiplier with a level line mechanism. The smallest knot can be tied (double blood knot) and this will run through reel and rings smoothly. Beware if you fish reel low with a long rod that leaders are long enough, some of the lower diameter tapereds designed for carp fishing may not be long enough for all sea angling rod lengths.

Line colour: Line colour matters to different anglers in different conditions and situations. Clear lines are favoured in clear water, whilst coloured lines are especially effective when fishing among crowds or with two rods, when lines may become crossed or tangled, or on the casting field to help find lost lines. Line colour for hook snoods can be a way of telling snoods apart making tangles easier to unravel or just personal preference. The process of colouring line is said to weaken it, but not significantly.

Line diameters: Whilst lots of anglers base line choice around breaking strain, line diameter is more important in terms of casting and the reel load because it effects the reel’s performance. The lower the diameter the weaker the line, but the further it can be cast. Therefore a compromise of diameter is required to combat conditions and promote casting smoothness and distance.

Lots of manufacturers have varying diameters for the same strength line. Carp lines for instance are generally tougher and more durable than sea lines, but they are thicker. Beware of buying low diameter lines that are quoted far stronger than others of the same diameter, stick with diameter as the main criteria and buy yourself a micrometer so you can measure diameters!

Braided: The biggest advantages of using braid lines is that they are a lower diameter per breaking strain, very abrasive resistant and they do not have any stretch or memory (don’t curl or coil). This means that they outlast mono, pose less opposition to strong tides allowing lighter leads to be used and at the same time show the smallest bites. Micro braids are increasingly popular for both surfcasting and lure fishing because of their very low diameter, although braid can only be used on a fixed spool reel for shore casting because on a multiplier the coils embed into one another and can jam the reel.

Alan looks at fluorocarbon lines:

Fluorocarbon line is a modern type of monofilament line, made by combining a carbon base (polyvinylidene fluoride) and polymides to produce a line that has the same refractive index as water. This makes it almost invisible which is why it is popular for fishing clear water. On the plus side it also sinks more rapidly than standard monos, is slightly stiffer and does not stretch as much, but on the downside it can be prone to fracture under sudden pressure because of its lack of stretch and stiffness.

Line spools: There are a variety of types of spool holding line, some allow either end of the line to protrude from the spool, beware of pulling the wrong end! On many the line is held by a plastic clip, elastic band or a small cut in the spool. Points to watch for – If you are a fixed spool user and want to take the line off the spool from the side rather than allowing the spool to turn, beware spools with a clip or cut to hold the line end, these catch up when removing line!

Reel line capacities: The amount of line your reel holds on its spool is important for a variety of reasons and its wise to check before you buy line that the spool contains enough to fill your reel. This will also allow you to buy mono line in amounts that will be multiples of your full spool. A 250 metres spool full means that 1000 metres will give you four fills without too much waste. Buying bulk line is of course cheaper.