Man fishing at dusk

Why Use Monofilament Fishing Line: Benefits and Tips for Anglers

Written by: Matt Pryse



Time to read 8 min

Why Use Monofilament Line?

Monofilament line, often referred to as mono, remains the most popular choice among anglers in Australia and has been used for decades. Its popularity stems from its affordability compared to braided lines and a range of characteristics that make it ideal for various fishing applications. While multifilament or braided fishing lines, constructed from multiple strands of fibers, offer their own set of advantages, mono continues to be the go-to for many anglers.

Key Characteristics of Monofilament Line

Softness and Suppleness

Most nylon lines are soft and supple, making them easy to handle and suitable for most reel types. This flexibility allows for smooth casting and retrieval, ensuring a more enjoyable fishing experience whether you're casting into the surf off Bondi Beach or fishing from a riverbank in the Murray-Darling Basin. The softness of monofilament lines also makes them less prone to backlash and tangling, a common issue for beginners learning the ropes of fishing.

Memory and Stiffness

The way a line maintains loops once wound onto a spool is called memory. While too much memory can be a drawback, a moderate amount provides some stiffness, making monofilament lines better for entry-level anglers. This stiffness reduces knots and tangles, unlike braided lines, which have virtually no memory or stiffness and can become a tangled nightmare if not handled correctly. For example, when fishing in the rocky outcrops of Sydney Harbour, monofilament's reduced memory helps avoid those frustrating knots and bird nests.


Monofilament lines have a degree of stretch, making them more forgiving than braided lines. This stretch allows fish to swallow baits more easily and acts as a shock absorber when fighting fish, reducing the likelihood of hooks pulling out. Imagine wrestling a barramundi in the Northern Territory; the stretch in your mono line helps keep that beauty hooked without the line snapping under pressure. This forgiving nature is particularly beneficial when targeting larger, more aggressive species that put up a strong fight.

Abrasion Resistance

Monofilament is more abrasion-resistant than braided lines, especially around oysters, rocks, and reefs. This feature is crucial when fishing in the Great Barrier Reef or any other area with abrasive underwater structures. The line’s ability to withstand these harsh conditions ensures you don’t lose your catch due to a frayed line. This durability makes monofilament a reliable choice for anglers fishing in rough and rocky terrains, where the line is constantly exposed to wear and tear.

Different Types of Monofilament Line

In stores, you'll notice a variety of monofilament lines. This diversity exists because different species of fish and fishing locations require specific techniques and line characteristics. For instance, targeting snapper in Port Phillip Bay requires different line features than fishing for trout in Tasmania's lakes.

Examples of Design Features:

  • Low Stretch: Ideal for lure fishing or bait fishing near structures, where the angler needs to pull fish away from snags quickly. This feature enhances control and sensitivity, allowing anglers to feel even the slightest nibble.
  • High Abrasion Resistance: Perfect for fishing in rocky or snaggy areas where the line may drag across abrasive structures. High abrasion resistance ensures the line can withstand rough conditions without breaking.
  • Thin Diameter: Great for fishing in clear or shallow water, where fish are easily spooked. A thinner diameter line is less visible underwater, increasing the chances of a successful catch.
  • Soft and Limp: Suitable for small spinning and baitcast reels, minimizing memory and improving casting performance. This type of line is perfect for beginners who need a forgiving and easy-to-handle line.

When spooling a reel, it's important to lay the line neatly and with reasonable pressure. Fill the spool on baitcast and spinning reels to about 1mm from the spool lip to allow long casts without tangling. Proper spooling technique ensures smooth casting and reduces the likelihood of line tangles and bird nests.

Key Features and Benefits of Monofilament Lines

Abrasion Resistance

A high resistance to breaking due to nicks in the line ensures your line withstands harsh conditions, such as rubbing against rocks, stumps, and other underwater structures. This feature is particularly beneficial when fishing in areas like the rugged coastline of Western Australia. The abrasion-resistant quality of mono lines provides peace of mind when fishing in rough environments, knowing that your line can handle the pressure.

High Knot Strength

Most line breaks occur at the knot. Lines with high knot strength have less loss of strength at the knot, crucial when tying secure knots in demanding fishing conditions. This strength advantage allows for more reliable hook sets and reduces the risk of losing your catch. High knot strength is essential for ensuring that your knots hold firm during intense fights with large fish.

Light, Limp, and Supple

Monofilament is supple and hangs limp off the spool without tension and coiling. This feature allows for smoother casting and passing through the rod guides, increasing casting distance by up to 30%. Perfect for those long casts off the pier at St Kilda. The limp nature of mono lines reduces the risk of tangles and backlash, making it an ideal choice for anglers of all skill levels.

High Impact Resistance

Enhanced tensile strength provides high shock or impact resistance, allowing anglers to use smaller diameter lines without losing strength or control. This feature is advantageous when targeting aggressive species like Kingfish off the coast of New South Wales. High impact resistance ensures that your line can withstand sudden jolts and pulls without breaking, giving you confidence when battling powerful fish.

Low Stretch

Low stretch monofilament offers better feel and control, improving bite detection and hook sets. Ideal for deep-water fishing, where the increased feel allows for more precise lure control and quicker reaction times to bites. Low stretch lines are perfect for anglers who need to feel every movement and nibble, enhancing their ability to set the hook at the right moment.

Low Spool Memory

Quality monofilament lines with low memory reduce the likelihood of tangles and bird nests, making them easier to handle, especially for beginners. This characteristic ensures smoother and more enjoyable fishing trips. Low spool memory is particularly important for spinning reels, where high memory lines can cause frustrating tangles and coiling.

Virtual Invisibility

Monofilament line almost disappears underwater due to its mirror effect, reflecting its surroundings and blending in. Fluorocarbon lines take this a step further, with light refraction qualities similar to water, making them virtually invisible and ideal for targeting skittish fish in clear waters. The invisibility of mono lines increases the chances of fooling wary fish, especially in clear and shallow waters.

When Monofilament May Not Be Suitable

While monofilament lines offer a range of benefits and are suitable for many fishing situations, there are scenarios where they may not be the best choice. For instance, when targeting large, powerful game fish such as tuna or swordfish off Merimbula, anglers might prefer using braided or multifilament lines due to their superior strength and thinner diameter.

Game Fishing for Tuna and Swordfish

When fishing for large pelagic species like tuna and swordfish, the sheer power and speed of these fish can put immense strain on your fishing line. Monofilament, with its higher stretch, can sometimes lead to pulled hooks or line breaks under such intense pressure. Braided lines, on the other hand, offer almost zero stretch, allowing for better hook sets and more control over the fish during the fight.

For example, targeting bluefin tuna off the coast of South Australia or swordfish in the deep waters off Merimbula requires a line that can withstand high tension and prolonged battles. Braided lines provide the necessary strength without the bulk, allowing anglers to spool more line onto their reels, which is crucial when fighting fish that can take long, powerful runs.

Fishing in Heavy Cover or Thick Vegetation

Another scenario where monofilament may not be the best option is when fishing in heavy cover or thick vegetation. In places like the mangroves of Northern Queensland or the dense weed beds of Lake Eildon, the higher abrasion resistance and thinner diameter of braided lines can be advantageous. These environments can quickly fray and weaken monofilament lines, increasing the risk of break-offs.

Deep Water Fishing

For deep-water fishing, such as targeting snapper or grouper off the coast of Western Australia, the sensitivity and minimal stretch of braided lines can provide better bite detection and more precise control. The deep waters require a line that can effectively transmit even the slightest nibble to the angler's hands, something that braided lines excel at due to their low stretch properties.

Situations Requiring High Sensitivity

Fishing for species like bream or flathead in clear, shallow waters, such as those found in the estuaries of New South Wales, may benefit from the increased sensitivity of braided lines. These fish can be easily spooked, and the low visibility of thin-diameter braided lines, combined with their high sensitivity, can improve your chances of a successful catch.

Fluorocarbon Line

Fluorocarbon lines are the ultimate in invisibility, with high abrasion resistance and the ability to sink in water. These features make fluorocarbon ideal for leader material, and increasingly popular for spooling reels, especially when targeting easily spooked fish. The sinking property of fluorocarbon assists in keeping lures at the desired depth, improving bite detection and hook-up rates. Fluorocarbon's combination of invisibility and durability makes it an excellent choice for anglers targeting species that are sensitive to line visibility.

Tips for Managing Line

  • Dealing with Line Twist: Letting the line play out behind a moving boat helps remove twists. Similar to untangling a phone cord, this method can smooth out any kinks. Regularly removing twists from your line ensures smoother casting and reduces the risk of tangles.
  • Reducing Memory: Soaking the line in warm water or tying it to a stationary object and pulling it straight can help reduce memory. Reducing line memory improves casting performance and reduces the likelihood of bird nests.
  • Detecting Damage: Regularly check the first few feet of your line for nicks and abrasions by running it through your fingers or between your lips. Remove any damaged sections to maintain line strength. Regularly inspecting your line for damage ensures that you maintain its integrity and strength, reducing the risk of unexpected breaks.


Whether you’re a casual angler enjoying a weekend at Lake Eildon or a seasoned fisherman tackling the deep waters of the Coral Sea, choosing the right fishing line can significantly impact your success and enjoyment. Monofilament lines offer a balance of affordability, versatility, and ease of use, making them a staple for anglers across Australia. However, in certain situations, such as targeting large game fish or fishing in heavy cover, braided lines may offer superior performance.

By understanding the specific features and benefits of different types of monofilament and braided lines, you can tailor your fishing setup to match your needs and the challenges of your chosen fishing locations. Remember, the right fishing line can make all the difference between a good day of fishing and a great one. So, next time you’re out there casting a line, remember that the right monofilament can make all the difference between a good day of fishing and a great one. Tight lines, mate!