Best Fishing Line for Drift Fishing

Drift fishing is a wind-driven type of fishing where the breezes move your boat. You’d drag lures and bait behind you to catch fish as your boat moves. You can rely on drift fishing for catching all sorts of fish, but which type of fishing line should you use?

You can use several types of fishing lines for drift fishing, including a monofilament or braided fishing line. The line should be rated for handling heavy loads, which is one of the most important considerations when drift fishing.

In this guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of both a braided and monofilament fishing line for drift fishing. Then we’ll suggest some of our favorite fishing line brands so you can shop for what you need to get out on the water and catch more fish! 

The Pros and Cons of a Braided Fishing Line for Drift Fishing

Let’s begin by discussing a braided fishing line, which is one of the strongest fishing lines that money can buy. 

A braided fishing line can be made of Spectra, micro-Dyneema, or Dacron. Spectra and Dyneema are brands of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene or UHMWPE, which is beloved for its excellent load transfer. 

Related Reading: Braided fishing line vs. Mono: How to choose which is best?

Dacron is a type of polyethylene terephthalate or PETE, a thermoplastic polymer resin.

Now let’s examine the pros and cons of a braided fishing line. 

Braided Fishing Line Pros

  • Less UV deterioration: When you choose a braided fishing line, you’re choosing durability. UV deterioration is a lot less likely to affect this fishing line, allowing you to get more bang for your buck.
  • No memory: A fishing line memory causes the line to become spiralized after sitting on your spool. Your fishing line is also likelier to tangle and knot up, neither of which is fun. A braided fishing line lacks memory so it’s seamless and easy to use.
  • Supple: When your fishing line is supple, it’s smooth and easy to unroll on your reel. Casting will be a delight since your line never feels wiry.
  • Maintains the same characteristics when wet or dry: If you’ve read our posts on choosing the best type of fishing line for other styles of fishing, then you’ll know how important this trait is. A braided fishing line behaves the same wet as it does dry so you can get predictable reliability out of your fishing line.
  • Does not absorb water: When a fishing line absorbs water, it can begin to sink faster than you’d like. This can force you to change your tact, which can throw off your game and cause you to catch fewer fish. 
  • Very thin diameter: If you thought that a strong monofilament fishing line had a skinny diameter, the average diameter of a braided fishing line is even thinner still. A thin-diameter line has less drag on the water so you can pull your line when drift fishing unencumbered. 
  • Barely stretches: A lack of stretch in a fishing line means that its sensitivity increases. Now, even when a fish subtly nibbles on your line, you can detect it so you can begin reeling it in.  

Braided Fishing Line Cons

As beneficial as a braided fishing line can be for drift fishing, this style of fishing line does have its disadvantages. Let’s examine them now.

  • Expensive: Between a monofilament or a braided fishing line, you’re going to pay significantly more for the latter. The cost is up to 50 percent higher than a monofilament fishing line. That can put quite a hurting on your wallet! 
  • Lighter strengths tangle more: Although you’re not likely to use a low-strength braided fishing line for drift fishing, we have to mention this anyway. The weaker the strength of the braided line, the greater the risk of knotting and tangling. 
  • Not invisible: If you’re hoping to court line-shy fish, then you need a fishing line that goes nearly invisible in the water. That would not be a braided fishing line, not in the least. Fish can see the line quite easily and may avoid it.
  • Not very knot-friendly: If you’re only using Palomar and uni knots, then you don’t have to worry about this. However, for any other type of fishing knot, a braided fishing line doesn’t have great knot strength. 
  • Color can fade: Should you choose a colored braided fishing line to make it less visible in the water, this will only work for so long. As you continue to use the fishing line on your reel, the color will fade more and more. 
  • Lacks abrasion resistance: Unless your braided fishing line is coated, then its abrasion resistance could be better. A braided fishing line can even damage itself if the line rubs on itself, which is something to keep in mind. 

The Pros and Cons of a Monofilament Fishing Line for Drift Fishing 

The other type of fishing line that’s adept for drift fishing is a monofilament fishing line. The single plastic or fiber thread that comprises a mono line makes it the exact opposite of a braided fishing line.

Monofilament lines are usually low-cost, and they are available in a variety of tensile strengths aka tests so you can buy a stronger line for drift fishing.

As we did with braided fishing lines, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of monofilament fishing lines. 

Monofilament Fishing Line Pros

  • Low-cost: As you’ll recall, a braided fishing line costs 50 percent more than a monofilament fishing line, which is saying a lot! That’s due to how it costs less money to procure single threads for a monofilament line compared to the multiple threads required to produce a braided fishing line.
  • Floats well: With a monofilament fishing line, you have a drift fishing line that will float reliably for hours. You might cast out a lure and then drag it along your boat as you go drift fishing. 
  • Abrasion-resistant: A braided fishing line may be made of burlier materials, but it’s not very abrasion-resistant, as we said. Using a monofilament fishing line by comparison delivers much better abrasion resistance. 
  • Retains its color: Another plus of drift fishing with a monofilament fishing line is that it retains its color for longer. Your blue line will stay blue, and that yellow hue will remain the right color as you use the line again and again. 
  • More invisible in the water: If you want to catch more line-shy fish, then a monofilament fishing line is the clear choice (see what we did there?). This fishing line goes practically invisible as it drifts along and through the water. 
  • Casts well: With its smooth texture, a monofilament line casts exceptionally easily. We’d say it’s an even more beginner-friendly type of fishing line to use than a braided fishing line, especially for drift fishing. 
  • Suitable knot strength: While a braided fishing line restricts the number of knots you can tie, that’s not the case with a mono fishing line. You can tie a whole assortment of fishing knots by using the monofilament line as part of your drift fishing rig. 

Monofilament Fishing Line Cons

A monofilament fishing line could be your preferred choice for drift fishing, but you should read this cons section first before making up your mind.

  • Breaks down in UV light: UV light is unavoidable when fishing, as it’s not like you can go fishing indoors. Thus, it’s best if your drift fishing line does not deteriorate with enough UV exposure. Unfortunately, that’s one trait of a monofilament fishing line. 
  • High memory: As we mentioned before, a fishing line memory, if too high, can make the line unwieldy and difficult to work with. A monofilament fishing line usually has a high memory. 
  • Lots of stretch: The degree of stretch that a monofilament fishing line possesses lends it far less sensitivity in the water. You can miss even overt bites because your fishing line gives nothing away. 
  • Sinks in water: Although a monofilament line begins by floating on the sea, it will eventually fill with water. Then the line will sink, changing its properties compared to how the line is when it’s dry. 

Visit Our Fishing Pages for More Great Tips!

Our Top 6 Favorite Braided and Monofilament Drift Fishing Lines

Whether you most prefer a braided or monofilament line, in this section, we’ll share 6 of our top drift fishing lines.

Stren MagnaThin

How about an ultra-thin monofilament drift fishing line to start?

Stren MagnaThin is a thinner fishing line than most that don’t sacrifice strength one iota. The diameter is intended to help your mono line sink fast without any of that troublesome drag.

The manufacturer promises better casting accuracy with this mono line, including when drift fishing for line-shy game fish. 

Remaining invisible in the water and providing a more natural lure action when using artificial lures, MagnaThin is a great choice. This monofilament fishing line stretches only a little, and it’s simple to use so you can cast it great distances.

You can buy the Stren MagnaThin line with a breaking strength between four pounds and 16 pounds. 

Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament 

Do you want to catch some big game with your monofilament drift fishing line? Then you need a heavy-duty product such as Berkley Trilene Big Game mono line.

Like most fishing lines that Berkley produces, the Big Game monofilament fishing line is an all-purpose line that’s ultra-forgiving. It’s easily handled, has great knot strength, and floats thanks to neutral buoyancy.

Berkley does note that the Big Game fishing line stretches, which is a usual trait of a monofilament fishing line that reduces sensitivity. 

This shock-resistant, strong fishing line is available in breaking strengths between eight pounds and 300 pounds. 

KastKing World’s Premium Monofilament Fishing Line

A favorite monofilament fishing line for drift fishing, KastKing Word’s Premium mono line is on a level all its own.

Made of monofilament nylon, the KastKing premium fishing line is built to resist abrasions whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater. 

The included Roll Track technology prevents too much mono line from exiting the spool prematurely. Further, the Roll Track feature keeps the memory of this monofilament fishing line lower than most other fishing lines of its kind.

Reaction Tackle Braided Pro-Grade Power Performance Fishing Line

Moving on to braided fishing lines now, Reaction Tackle’s pro-grade braided fishing line should certainly be on your radar. 

Versatile, you can pull out this fishing line whether you’re drift fishing in a tranquil lake or river or you’re in saltwater bodies such as the ocean. 

The lack of stretch maintains excellent sensitivity so you’re never caught off-guard when there’s a potential bite on your line. 

Many braided fishing lines lose their color over time, but not this one. Reaction Tackle designed its pro-grade fishing line with Colorfast technology for retaining vibrant hues. The pigments used resist UV damage. 

This fishing line is more abrasion-resistant than your average braided fishing line. Obstacles won’t damage your line, nor will the line rub up against itself. You’ll have a fishing line handy for far longer!

You can shop Reaction Tackle’s braided pro-grade power performance fishing line in colors such as blue camouflage, dark blue, gray, green camo, yellow, green, orange, black, moss green (dark green), pink, red, brown, and white. 

KastKing SuperPower Braided Fishing Line

Another great KastKing fishing line we recommend for drift fishing is the SuperPower braided fishing line

This small-diameter fishing line allows you to fit more of it on your fishing reel so you can go drift fishing uninterrupted. You won’t have to worry about this fishing line having too much stretch either. 

The abrasion resistance is another talking point, as the SuperPower braided fishing line is strong, powerful, and ready to help you catch more of those big fish you always have your eye on.

The memory is low while the knot strength is high. This formidable, braided fishing line is available in colors such as yellow, blue, gray, moss green, and multi-colored. 

SpiderWire Stealth Braided Fishing Line

Finally, we have the SpiderWire stealth braid fishing line, a low-cost but colorful fishing line intended for saltwater and blue lakes. 

Utilizing Stealth Braid technology, SpiderWire’s braided fishing line has an ultra-thin diameter and won’t stretch. The PE fibers that comprise this line are more sensitive than most braided fishing lines, so you don’t miss a thing.

The American Camo color is quite a unique one, but you can also select from hues like blue, yellow, moss green, and clear. The available breaking strength for the SpiderWire stealth braided fishing line is between six pounds and 100 pounds. 

Final Thoughts

When drift fishing, you can’t go wrong with a braided or monofilament fishing line. Although both have their downsides, the advantages of either type of fishing line make it a worthy contender for your most successful drift fishing trips yet! 

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Striped Bass.

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