What to Look for in a Quality Carp Fishing Line


When I first began fishing for carp, aside from a strong carp fishing hook I knew that I also required a strong carp fishing line. At first, I was overwhelmed by the different types and styles of line available for carp fishing. Braid, monofilament, fluorocarbon, coated, non-coated, lead core, floating, sinking, etc. 

I have created this article to help you decide what you need in a carp fishing line for the conditions that you are facing. Many different lines excel in many different situations, therefore choosing the right line is more of a personal preference. The information below will go into detail about the characteristics and features of carp fishing line to help you choose which is best for the conditions that you’re up against.


What is the Best Carp Fishing Line?

The best carp fishing line, for me, is 30 lb. – 50 lb. test braided line. It has the proper strength, elasticity, abrasion resistance, diameter and colour for the locations I fish. Line is the single most important piece of fishing tackle, the one that usually spells the difference between success and failure.


Carp Fishing Line

Top Brands of Carp Fishing Line

Here in North America at the local tackle shops, the choice of carp fishing line can be quite limited.

Nowadays one can find all the name-brand carp fishing line at special online carp gear shops. There is a vast selection and, each company has varieties of different lines for each situation.

Some of my favourites include Sonik, Korda, Nash, Fox, Gardner, NGT, Daiwa, Power Pro and ESP. To see what is available head on over to Carpkit and check out their vast selection of all types of Specialty Carp Fishing Line.

What Features to look for in a Quality Carp Fishing Line

These features aren’t listed in any type of order or importance. As mentioned above, that is something only you can decide according to the conditions you are faced with.


Type of Carp Fishing Line

There are three basic “types” of Carp Fishing Lines – Braided, Monofilament and Fluorocarbon. Each has their pros and cons and each excels in their uses for different situations.


Braided Carp Fishing Line

My go-to carp fishing line. With a heavier braid, I need not concern myself with fish cracking off mid-fight. It lacks the stretch that other types of line have but, I am able to compensate by adjusting the drag on my reel or type of test curve on my rod to battle fish quickly and efficiently to the net.

Recommended Braid for Carp Fishing – 25 lb. Test or Greater.

  • Elasticity – Braid is an excellent carp fishing line due to its non-stretching characteristics. This allows it to have greater sensitivity for improved bite indication and allows greater accuracy with casting. With braid when your line hits the line clip during casting your bait will drop exactly where it is meant to.
  • Abrasion Resistance – It has a great strength to diameter ratio and is quite resistant to abrasion.
  • Visibility – It is highly visible in the water column but more advanced custom camouflage colours are now available to help it blend in when it rests along the bottom. Special sinking types of braided line are perfectly designed for carp anglers. The braid will sink quickly and form to the contours of the bottom where it will go undetected by fish.
  • Cost – Braided lines can vary in price. The higher priced better quality braids are worth the price. They last much longer than the discount brands.
  • Memory – Braided line has less memory than the other two types of line. This can prevent line twist from sitting on the spool for long periods.
  • Size – With braided line, you don’t have to worry as much about bigger diameter as you increase the breaking strain. Even the higher breaking strains lines can have a small diameter, unlike monofilament or fluorocarbon lines.

When braided line first came out it had a thicker weave. It got a bad reputation for cutting grooves in rod eyelets and slicing one’s fingers. Today’s braid is more advanced and most brands have a tighter weave and/or coating which prevents the saw-like cutting action when a fish puts pressure on your line. These new patterns also greatly improve the casting distance of braid.


Monofilament Carp Fishing Line

Monofilament Line used to be my go-to line for every other species of fish I used to target. When I discovered carp angling many years ago, I switched to using a stronger braided line. If I’m fishing large bodies of water where casting distance and abrasion resistance are of importance I will switch back to Monofilament from time to time as needed.

Recommended Monofilament for Carp Fishing – 20 lb. Test or Greater.

  • Elasticity – One of the main characteristics of Monofilament line is that it is made from a single nylon strand. This makes it very stretchy. The stretch can give it a greater breaking strain but this also reduces its sensitivity and accuracy when casting.
  • Abrasion Resistance – Monofilament has almost a slippery texture allowing it to slide over snags and obstacles easier. It is quite resistant to abrasion as it will also stretch more than other lines before snapping.
  • Visibility – Monofilament lines can come in clear or tinted versions. The clear versions are excellent for going undetected by fish.
  • Cost – Monofilament is the most used and manufactured of fishing lines. A common item in any anglers arsenal. This also makes it one of the most affordable types of fishing line on the market.
  • Memory – Being one strand, monofilament lines have a decent amount of memory to them and after time they begin to form to the spool. This creates a greater chance of tangling when casting.
  • Size – Monofilament being a single strand of nylon can get quite large and rigid in the higher breaking strains.

Monofilament lines are the most commonly used lines for angling. Their price and durability are unmatched.


Fluorocarbon Carp Fishing Line

The only time I really use fluorocarbon carp fishing line is when I need a shock leader on the end of my braided line. Otherwise, I just find it too pricey to spool up my carp fishing reels with it. Monofilament is much cheaper and very similar in its characteristics for carp angling.

Recommended Fluorocarbon for Carp Fishing – 20 lb. Test or Greater.

  • Elasticity – Not as elastic as Monofilament line but more than braid.
  • Abrasion Resistance -Fluorocarbon has almost a slippery texture allowing it to slide over snags and obstacles easier.
  • Visibility – It is very clear and is very hard for fish to see. After time you will have to clean the line to keep it in its near invisible state. The debris and particulates in water easily stick to fluorocarbon line making it quite visible. It is toted to have the same refractive index as water thus making it nearly invisible in the water column.
  • Cost – Fluorocarbon is the most expensive type of carp fishing line. The majority of carp anglers use it solely for leaders.
  • Weight – Unlike monofilament, fluorocarbon lines sink quickly and will rest on the bottom when allowed to go slack.
  • Size – A downside to fluorocarbon is that it doesn’t have very good knot strength and some knots tend to slip easily. Especially in the higher breaking strains and higher diameter lines.

Fly Fishing Line for Carp

If you’re an avid carp angler and thinking of trying to fly fish for them, there are a few things you should know about fly fishing lines.

Recommended Fly Fishing Line for Carp Fishing – 7+ Fly Fishing Line Class or Greater.

First off you may be wonder How Fly Fishing Lines are classified:

  • They are not classified in lb. test or breaking strain like other fishing lines.
  • Fly fishing lines are generally classified on a scale of 1 – 14.
  • 1 being the weakest panfish fishing line and 14 being the strongest sea fly fishing line.
  • Depending on the size of carp you are targeting I would generally go with a 6 – 8 Fly Fishing Line. If you’re after large specimen carp definitely aim for 7+ Fly Fishing Line Class.

Carp Fly Fishing Line Characteristics:

  • Elasticity – Carp Fly Fishing Line is very elastic, due to its thick floating qualities it will stretch a long way before snapping. It is more likely that your leader will crack off before your fly fishing mainline.
  • Abrasion Resistance – Another key bonus to fly fishing for carp is that your mainline can be quite thick and very abrasion resistant.
  • Floating or Sinking – If you’re sight fishing for carp using flies or buoyant sweetcorn baits you will want to opt for a floating fly fishing line.
  • Visibility – The majority of your carp fishing line will be quite visible to carp as it floats on the surface of the water. The main trick is to use a long enough leader (which will go nearly undetected by the fish) to make your bait seem as natural as possible.
  • Cost – The carp fishing line itself will be fairly cost-effective. The area you will most likely spend the most money will be on proper tapered leaders.

How is Carp Fishing Line Strength Measured?

The strength of carp fishing line can be measured in two ways, by the Diameter and/or the Breaking Strain. The actual breaking strength of line will be anywhere from 10 – 25% higher. Depending on the manufacturer, some test their lines while wet and others test it while dry which makes a difference that you won’t be able to determine.

Diameter – is usually measured in millimetres(mm). For example .10mm .15mm .20mm. Diameter affects many things such as:

  • Spool Capacity.
  • Wind Resistance.
  • Casting Distance.
  • Casting Accuracy.
  • Water Drag.
  • Bulkiness or Size on Knots.
  • Sensitivity.
  • Visibility.

Breaking Strain – is measured in pounds(lb.). For example 10lb. 15lb. 20lb.

The optimal lines will have a smaller diameter but higher breaking strain.


Why is Carp Fishing Line Weight Important?

Unlike fishing for other sport fish, the weight of the line can be very important when fishing for carp. It can differ slightly in a few situations but for the most part, you want to use a heavier line. The heavier the line is will determine how easily it will stay flat on the bottom. It will be less likely that fish will see it or accidentally bump into it and spook themselves when it is resting on the bottom.

Situations, where this factor differs, are if you’re fishing at long range. A lighter line will play off of your spool easier when casting resulting in greater distance.

I prefer a heavier line as the majority of the locations I target are close to shore. This changes during carp tournaments, when designated a certain peg to fish from it is a greater advantage to equip myself with a lighter long-range monofilament line to hit areas where carp are showing.


Visibility and Transparency of Carp Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon lines are the least visible of the three types of lines. Monofilament is probably second and braided lines are the most visible. Braided lines have had many advancements in recent years, one such advancement being their colour. They now come in a variety of colours to help blend in with the bottom substrate or vegetation.

Transparency can also be an important factor. I’ve heard some anglers mention the fact that it is not the line the fish see but the shadows that the line casts on the bottom. Therefore if you’re fishing a taught line that will cast a shadow it is best to go with Monofilament as it is the most transparent of the three different types of line. Although if you’re fishing slack line transparency shouldn’t be an issue as your line is laying flat on the bottom thus not casting any shadow.

There are also special braided lines for spod and marker rods. They come in highly visible colours such as orange, yellow and bright green. These lines are more visible so you can see where they are in the water. Some anglers even say they deter birds and other animals from feeding on your bait as you cast, although, in my experience, no matter what colour line I use the ducks and geese always seem undeterred! These lines also come with a greater breaking strain, for use with high test curve spod and marker rods, they prevent the line from breaking and causing the loss of spods, spombs or marker floats.


Cost of Carp Fishing Line

The three types of fishing lines vary in their cost. Fluorocarbon being the most expensive, braided line being mid-priced and monofilament is most often the cheapest.

  • If you stick to the top-dollar, top of the line brands you can’t go wrong. Aside from better quality materials going into the products, quality lines that go through rigorous testing and quality control stages will undoubtedly cost more.
  • In the medium ranges, you will have to rely upon word of mouth, reviews and your own experience.
  • I would avoid cheap lines at all costs. In my opinion, it isn’t worth cheaping out and risking losing a fish of a lifetime. With the really cheap lines, I have found the quality to be very inconsistent and have heard that some companies by old expired spools of line and merely relabel it and sell them at a lower price.

Changing line once a year won’t break anyone’s bank account. If you’re looking to replace it more frequently than that be sure to purchase line in bulk spools to help cut down on costs.

For carp anglers, especially specimen anglers, fishing line can be one of the key factors in landing the fish of a lifetime. In my opinion, it is better to spend the extra dollars.


Carp Fishing Line Casting Distance

Casting Distance can be an important factor depending on the location that you are fishing. In pressured waters where carp feel safe feeding out of normal casting range, it is important to pick a line that can cast farther than normal. This little fact can be the difference between a successful or failed session and differentiate seasoned anglers versus the inexperienced.

Braided line has a reputation for being the shortest casting line. With advancements such as smooth coatings and tighter weave patterns, it can still reach great distances.

Monofilament or Fluorocarbon will be the lines of choice if you wish to fish at distances of 150 yards or greater.

Although rod and reel choices also have a significant impact on these characteristics of carp fishing, smaller diameter lines will cast farther as there is less resistance coming off the spool.

Here in North America, the majority of anglers target species such as walleye, bass, pike and trout. They are used to using smaller rods and lighter tackle than that of carp anglers.

I sometimes drop a marker float when I pre-bait an area for carp by boat. The next day I will cast to the marker float at range from shore. On one occasion, bass anglers stopped to pick up my marker float after looking around and not seeing anyone within range. They couldn’t hear my shouting due to the wind but they most certainly noticed my marker weight BOSH into the water beside their boat to get their attention. A lot of anglers are surprised at the distances carp anglers can reach with specialized carp rods, reels and line.


Carp Fishing Line Durability

The average angler including myself can get away with re-spooling their reels at a minimum of once or twice per year, so long as you keep cutting back the damaged sections. Amazingly tournament anglers change lines every day and I’ve heard of some specimen anglers that re-spool after every fish landed or fought.

Fishing line can break down over time. When not in use, consider storing reels with line on them in a well-ventilated, dry and cool location that is out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can be hard on Monofilament lines as UV rays and heat can break down synthetics. Specialized rod sleeves not only protect your rods and reels, but they also prolong the life of your spooled carp fishing line.

Modern fishing line is extremely durable and needs only a bare minimum of maintenance and care to hold up for long periods of time.


Why is Carp Fishing Line Abrasion Resistance Important?

One of the worst sounds an angler can hear when battling a big fish. The snap or rather CRACK a line makes when under too much pressure or rubs up against the wrong object under water.

The importance of abrasion resistance is mainly based on the location where you are fishing. More importantly the number of snags or natural hazards for your line to get caught on or rub up against.

If you are fishing in a location that is flat with a sandy or silty bottom you won’t likely be bothered by a line with a low abrasion resistance.

Single-stranded lines are much more resistant to abrasion than multi-stranded lines. Multi-stranded lines will not slip over obstacles as easily as single-stranded lines and each of the fine strands in a multi-stranded line will be severed easier making them less resistant to abrasion. Therefore Monofilament and Fluorocarbon lines will have a greater abrasion resistance than braided lines.


What Carp Fishing Line has the Best Knot Strength?

Knot strength is a key factor in carp fishing line due to the complexity of some of the rigs carp anglers use. Sometimes there can be up to six knots involved from reel to line to hook to the bait.

Knotting a line weakens it. The weakest part of your line is always where your knots are as the knot causes your line to bend and cut into itself under pressure.

Braided lines have the greatest knot strength. Once wetted and tightened they rarely slip. Monofilament and Fluorocarbon lines are prone to difficulties with knot strength. They are both single-stranded lines that will kink easily and also have smooth surfaces where knots will slip easier if not tightened down properly.


How Does Elasticity or Stretch Effect Carp Fishing Lines?

The amount of stretch a good carp fishing line can have is one of the most important factors when deciding which type to use. All fishing lines will stretch to some degree. Stretch is both good and bad in a line. When it keeps a line from breaking under pressure it is good but if it keeps you from detecting a bite, setting the hook or turning a running fish it is bad.

  • Less stretch will make it easier to turn a fish mid-battle, this will tire the fish quicker which will, in turn, bring it to shore for a successful catch sooner.
  • Less stretch will also make the line more sensitive. It will be easier to detect bites/takes and to set the hook.
  • Less stretch will give greater accuracy to casting. When setting the line in a line clip to cast to a certain distance, it will hit the mark every time when there is little to no stretch in a line.
  • More elasticity is better in a line when fishing a very snaggy area or in situations where you want the line to stretch a bit more before breaking.

A good strategy to get the best of both worlds is to use a braided mainline with a Fluorocarbon or Monofilament shock leader. The shock leader will provide a bit of stretch when needed for example when casting, fighting a fish or navigating snags. With the braided mainline your setup will still provide enough rigidity to provide decent bite detection and accuracy when casting.


Why it is Important to Understand Carp Fishing Line Shock Resistance

Shock resistance is a term I didn’t learn until I was well into my carp angling addiction. I knew little about higher test curve rods and the intricacies of casting heavier marker/probe leads and loaded spombs.

Let’s just say when I used my first 3 lb. test curve 12 ft. marker/spod rod, I lost many weights and a few spombs. I quickly learned that braided line no matter what pound test had a very poor shock resistance factor.

Shock Resistance is directly related to elasticity or stretch. It allows the line to compensate for a significant amount of strain to be applied to a line in a short period of time. As the example above demonstrates, with no shock leader the weight of a 4-ounce lead or greater can quickly snap your line during a powerful cast.

Now I highly recommend anyone using a spod or marker rod equipped with braid to make use of a fluorocarbon or mono-filament shock leader. The cost of the leader will make up for itself quickly with the number of marker leads and baiting tools it will save.


Carp Fishing Line Uses

Carp fishing line can be used for many different purposes. Rigs, backing, mainline and leaders.

Rigs

  • Most carp fishing rigs are tied with braided line. The specially coated braids are great for this due to their stiffness and added weight. The stiffness prevents the line from coming back on itself, possibly tangling mid cast and the weight keeps it firmly in place when fishing on the bottom.

Backing

  • The backing on a spool is mainly monofilament due to it being cost effective. A monofilament backing is required when using braided line. If the braided line is tied directly to the spool it will slip over time.

Mainline

  • All three types of lines can be used as mainlines. Although I prefer to use braid as a mainline for carp angling.

Leaders

  • Many anglers choose fluorocarbon line for leaders. It is the least visible of all the lines and less likely to be detected by weary carp. It also has decent elasticity to be used as a shock leader when casting heavier weights or heavy baits.

On occasion, a reel can be spooled with all three types of lines fluorocarbon, monofilament and braided. Monofilament can be used for cheap backing on a spool then attached to a braided mainline which is in turn attached to a fluorocarbon leader. This setup takes advantage of the best characteristics in each type of line.


N.Cutler

Author and Admin of Improved Carp Angling. Passionate Carp Angler and Online Content Creator. Find out more information in my Author Biography at Author Bio.

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