The 5 Best Fishing Lines of 2023

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Best for Everyday Fishing

Berkley Trilene Big Game

Test Line Weight: 10-lb | Color: Clear

If you need a no-frills fishing line that gets the job done in nearly any environment, look no further than the Berkley Trilene Big Game. It’s wonderfully durable, resisting abrasion well. This was proven many times when we got a lure stuck in some rocks, and the line was nearly impossible to break even after scraping over the rocks many times. This line was also great for different fishing styles, whether it be casting with a lure or just dropping a hook with a worm on it. It was also one of the best when it came to knot strength. Once we tied a knot, we were confident it would hold.

Although it had many upsides, there were some downsides to consider. This line had the most stretch of all the lines tested. This diminished its feel quite a bit, so we missed more than a few bites, and trying to set the hook was a problem several times. It also has a fair bit of memory, so expect to have some issues if you leave this on the reel for an extended period. Overall, this line was great for a range of styles and techniques, and it can handle the rigors of everyday fishing.

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Why You Should Trust Us

Testing took place in streams and lakes around Mammoth Lakes, California, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the coast of Southern California. We also fished from shorelines and boat decks to get a good mix of testing environments. We wrangled several fishing buddies to head out on the water with us to give feedback on each product, and in the process, dozens of fish were hooked, landed, and released. This helped us get a lot of experience with each line. We gained insight through intentional in-the-field testing to get a feel for the sensitivity, as well as the versatility and memory. Once we understood each line’s advantages, we compared them in side-by-side real-world use to tease out the differences. Our field testing, combined with side-by-side inspections and comparisons, both informed our overall assessments.

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Our lead reviewer, Kit Smith, is a life-long angler. He’s fished streams, lakes, oceans, and bays for over three decades. Kit’s initial fishing experiences include catching halibut and salmon in the San Francisco Bay and alpine stream and lake fishing in the Central Sierra. Later, he moved to Colorado to attend college, where he continued to perfect his angling craft. Kit spends a lot of his free time fishing and reading about fishing gear to stay up to date on the latest products and trends in the world of angling.

Analysis and Test Results

During field testing, the five metrics that we assessed for each fishing line are Strength, Memory, Casting, Versatility, and Knots. Below, we’ll discuss the importance of each, as well as which lines stood out among the competition.

Value

We don’t take price into consideration during our product testing, but we certainly consider it after all is said and done. We loved the Berkley products for their great price-to-performance ratio, particularly the Berkley Trilene XL, which offers strength, sensitivity, and versatility for a low price.

Strength

A line’s strength is a crucial component to consider and can mean the difference between reeling in a trophy fish and coming up empty. If it’s not strong enough, the line will likely break when it matters most. But strength doesn’t only mean how much weight a line can handle; it also indicates how tough the line is when it comes to abrasion. Abrasion can happen against rocks, the side of a boat, or even the guides of your rod.

The SpiderWire Stealth Blue Camo-Braid and Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon take the top spots for their maximum strength. While the 20-lb SpiderWire line we tested takes the cake for the toughest fishing line, proving to be nearly impossible to break, the Berkley Trilene Big Game also ranks high in this category. Of course, strength can come at a cost, as we found out when getting a hook or lured snagged in some rocks. If either line gets stuck, you’ll likely have to cut the line and possibly lose your lure.

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Casting

When you’re trying to drop your bait in a specific spot or get a lure to where a fish just jumped, casting distance and control is critical. There were some standouts based on this metric. The Berkley Trilene XL gave us impressive casting distance and accuracy on several different rods, especially for a mono line.

The true king of casting in our tests, though, is the SpiderWire Stealth. With a special coating and braided construction, this line made us look like pros every time we sent a lure flying. Of course, as one of the most expensive lines we purchased, we learned that casting performance comes at a cost.

Memory

This might be one of the most overlooked aspects of fishing line. Memory is a line’s tendency to take on the spool’s shape. The more it takes on this shape, the more memory it’s said to have—and a lot of memory is not something you want your line to exhibit. In general, monofilament lines tend to have more memory, and braided lines tend to have less. This category’s standout is the KastKing SuperPower Braided, with little to no memory even when left on the reel for extended periods.

With its classic monofilament construction, the Berkley Trilene XL also proved strong in this metric. While mono line is not typically known for having low memory, this one was impressive and showed only a little memory even after being on the spool for several weeks. The KastKing FluoroKote fits the low memory bill, too. It never spiraled off the reel and made for smooth casts every time. The Stren High Impact, on the other hand, had way too much memory, which caused its casting distance to decrease quite a bit.

Versatility

Having a line that can handle whatever fish you hook is certainly a desirable trait in a fishing line, but not all lines are created equal. Some lines are better suited for lakes, some for oceans.

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The Berkley Trilene Big Game is the clear winner here. With its equally great performance in both fresh and saltwater and its ability to be used for many different fishing styles, this model is very versatile.

In contrast, while it’s a high-quality product, the Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon is really only made for one type of fishing (freshwater). Because of that, it didn’t score highly in the versatility metric, despite excelling in its niche.

Knots

With as many knots as you’ll tie on a fishing trip, we think this is an important metric to include when assessing lines. Traditional mono lines are the clear winners here, which wasn’t a surprise since monofilament lines are almost always easier to tie than braided ones.

There was one braided line that did an admirable job in this category, and that’s the SpiderWire Stealth. It was much easier to tie than any other braided lines we tested and offered excellent knot strength.

One of the best lines tested was the Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon. It made tying many knots a simple task, including the ever-popular Clinch and Uni knot. But many of the mono lines were just as easy to tie, including the Berkley Trilene Big Game and the Stren High Impact Monofilament. If you get easily frustrated with a line that’s hard to tie, you’ll want to consider one of these fishing lines.

Conclusion

Fishing line is an essential piece of angling equipment, despite being frequently overlooked. But the right line could make or break (literally) your fishing outing. Before making a purchase decision, it’s crucial to consider the type of fishing you prefer. Are you looking to fish off the bottom with bait, or are you staying near the surface with a lure? Whatever it is, we were sure to include a diversity of lines in our review so you could find one that suits your needs. We hope our research, tests, and analyses help you identify which product will best suit your needs. Now get out there, drop a line, and bring back a fish brag about.

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Sean Campbell’s love for hunting and outdoor life is credited to his dad who constantly thrilled him with exciting cowboy stories. His current chief commitment involves guiding aspiring gun handlers on firearm safety and shooting tactics at the NRA education and training department. When not with students, expect to find him either at his gunsmithing workshop, in the woods hunting, on the lake fishing, on nature photoshoots, or with his wife and kid in Maverick, Texas. Read more >>