What Is Fishing Line Made Out Of?


Updated on December 8, 2022 by
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Fishing line is the backbone of every fisherman’s kit. You need something to hold all your gear together, after all. The quality of your fishing line will also determine the quality of your catch—you don’t want a line that snaps just as you’re about to reel in the biggest catch of your life. The good news is that fishing lines have come a long way from the old days when Tom Sawyer made do with any old line.

Modern fishing line is made out of synthetic materials such as nylon. The actual composition of the line depends on the type of fishing line you are talking about. There are three main types of fishing lines—monofilament, braid, and fluorocarbon—that are made of different materials.

Why does it matter what fishing line is made out of? That detail can tell you a lot about the physical properties of the line you are working with. With that in mind, here is what you should know about these main types of fishing lines.

What Is Monofilament Fishing Line Made Of?

Monofilament fishing line, sometimes called “mono” by avid anglers, gets its name because of its material composition. “Mono” is a prefix that means just one. Monofilament is made of just one thread made of nylon. That makes it different from other types of fishing lines that use multiple materials woven together.

Monofilament is the simplest fishing line out there because it is only made of nylon. It only became popular in the 1950s, when nylon production processes evolved enough to create fishing line that was flexible and versatile. Today, manufacturers make monofilament fishing line by heating together different polymers and extruding the mixture into spools of fishing line.

The result of this production process is fishing line that is strong, versatile, and easy to use for even the most amateur angler. Monofilament is also popular among fishermen because it is more affordable than other types of fishing line. Since it uses only one material and has a simple production process, it doesn’t cost as much to make.

There are many variations within the category of monofilament fishing line, which is why you need guides to figure out which monofilament line is best for your excursion.

Braid vs Mono Fishing Line

What Is Braid Fishing Line Made Of?

Braid fishing line is one of the oldest types of fishing line that is still popular. It uses a technique of braiding multiple strands together to create a strong, durable line. In the 19th century, people mostly used braided silk or horsehair, but today’s braided line uses much more modern materials. 

Modern braided fishing line uses synthetic materials such as nylon, Spectra, and Dacron. Strands of one or more these materials are braided together to create a strong, flexible fishing line. Spectra and Dyneema (another common synthetic fiber for braided line) are types of polyethylene, while Dacron is a type of polyester. All of these materials are derived from petroleum and plastic.

The technique of braiding fishing line has stayed the same for centuries, but switching to synthetic materials yields plenty of advantages, such as:

  • Better strength
  • Extra flexibility
  • More durability

Braided line has its disadvantages, which is why you have to put on a mono backing when you use it, but it’s a massive improvement over old-fashioned lines made of horsehair and silk.

Braid fishing line illustration of internals

What Is Fluorocarbon Fishing Line Made Of?

The last type of fishing line is the most complex and also the most modern. Fishermen only started using it widely at the beginning of the 21st century, although it’s been around for a few decades before that.

Fluorocarbon in fishing line is not the same as the fluorocarbons that caused the hole in the ozone layer when people used them to work fridges. Instead, this fishing line is made out of polyvinylidene difluoride. Polyvinylidene difluoride is a polymer whose building blocks are the elements hydrogen, fluoride, and carbon.

To make fluorocarbon fishing line, manufacturers use the following process:

  1. Collect polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) in the form of plastic pellets.
  2. The pellets are heated until they melt. Sometimes, manufacturers mix in resins, dyes, and other additives at this step.
  3. A machine pushes the liquid through a die with holes, which extrudes fishing line.
  4. Machines cool and dry the line.
  5. Finally, other machines stretch, anneal, and wind the line until it spools. This creates the proper tension.

Using these polymers creates fishing line with a unique property. Fluorocarbon fishing line has the same refractive index as water, making it nearly invisible underwater. 

multiple seagar fluorocarbon fishing line packets in a row

Final Thoughts

To make modern fishing lines, manufacturers use synthetic materials such as nylon and other plastic polymers. The technique for making the line as well as the exact composition of the materials differs depending on which type you have.


Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing I prefer than heading down to my local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test. My favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. My dream is to catch a Black Marlin.