Most saltwater anglers use nylon fishing line -or ‘monofilament’ as it’s widely known -pretty much exclusively, but there are situations when one of the more modern materials would be better. For example, fluorocarbon line, a sort of hi-tech relative of nylon fishing line is better when near-invisibility is important, and braid lines when non-stretch, high strength and minimum diameterare the order of the day.
Nylon fishing line is made from liquid nylon, by drawing it out in a continuous strand until it has reached a desired diameter and associated breaking strain. Not all nylon lines are equal though, some are thinner for the same strength than others, and there are varying degrees of hardness and stiffness to look out for. The best nylon fishing lines have a good, consistent strength/diameter ratio and are soft and supple with little reel memory.
Like most items of fishing tackle, you get what you pay for, and the very cheapest nylon fishing lines seldom represent the best value. Modern high quality nylon lines are consistent in both strength and diameter when new, but even the best of them eventually wear out through use. A major cause of degradation in nylon fishing lines is ultra-violet light, a component of sunlight which causes a structural change in the line and a resultant decrease in its breaking strain. This, together with the nicks and abrasions that always occurs in use, means it should be replaced regularly – or you risk losing that fish of a lifetime.
So nylon line makes a good general purpose reel line, and is fine for leaders and making up terminal tackle. But its properties don’t make it the very best line material for all applications. Take a look at these following pros and cons:~
In its favour …
- Its elasticity allows it to act as a shock absorber and will help to prevent a fish from tearing itself free of the hook.
- It’s the most inexpensive of all fishing line types.
- It’s transparent, and less visible in the water than all lines other than fluorocarbons.
- Knots and crimped connections hold well in nylon line.
- Nylon is a low memory material, so it will soon forget about the coils it was restrained in on the spool.
Not so good …
- Its elasticity works against it when you’re trying to make the longest possible cast, where it absorbs energy that is better transferred to the rod. Shock leaders for casting should always be made from low-stretch varieties specifically produced for this application.
- It’s prone to ultra-violet degradation from direct sunlight.
- It’s absorbent in saltwater to a small degree, which weakens it over time.
For a comparison of all the different fishing line types and the fishing techniques for which each one is most suitable, take a look at http://www.go-saltwater-fishing.com/fishing-line-comparison.html
So in answer to the original question:~
Nylon fishing line is good stuff – but it’s not perfect!