The Best Carp Fishing Lines - (Full Guide On What To Look For)
Updated 03/2/2023 - James Bevan
So, does it really matter what fishing line you choose? After all, you're going to be using a rig as part of your end tackle right?
Well, it does and the fact that you are reading an article on the best carp fishing lines means you care and probably know it does matter!
In this article, we will give you an insight into what considerations to take in choosing the right carp fishing line for your specific circumstances. We will also tell you what we consider the best 9 lines for carp fishing on the market today and why.
The Best Carp Fishing Lines
This article will take you through all the considerations to think about before purchasing the right carp fishing line. However, we'll start by cutting to the chase with our recommendations on some of the top carp lines out there. All our choices tick the required boxes mentioned in this guide.
The best mono carp fishing line
#1. Daiwa Hyper Sensor Line
Launched over 20 years ago now, the Daiwa Hyper Sensor fishing line is arguably one of the most popular carp lines ever released.
This line is made from a space-age polymer and features a special coating to resist abrasion and to deliver superb knot strength.
The line is now available in both original dark Sensor colour and Gunmetal grey finish and always has been, and always will, be a great line at a very reasonable price point.
The best fluorocarbon line for carp fishing
Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon is the pinnacle of professional-grade fluorocarbons. The proven formula provides incredible abrasion resistance, knot strength and with its' great line density, this line is fast sinking and super sensitive. You really can't go wrong with this quality, classic fishing line.
The best braid for carp fishing
#3. Spiderwire Stealth Smooth
SpiderWire Stealth is relatively new to the carp fishing scene but is becoming ever increasingly popular with braid lovers.
The braid is woven with 12 PE fibres for a tight, round setup that is strong, sensitive, and smooth.
Soft and limp for long, effortless casts, Spiderwire's round shape casts further than many other braids. When tying knots we find they clinch effortlessly and securely making the whole setup with this fantastic braid, perfect.
Check out the following video from Spiderwire themselves showcases some of the features and properties of this great braid. With it being a line originating from the States it is aimed more towards Bass fishing but we and many others find it a fantastic braid for carp fishing.
The best carp fishing line for spod and markers
Secondly, it absolutely serves the purpose of what you need it to do. With you potentially not using this braid on the business end of your setup, you really don't need a braid with all the bells and whistles.
What you simply need is a braid with great strength for casting out heavy spods, and great sensitivity to get the most out of your marker rod setup.
This braid does exactly that and with it being great value for money, you won't be disappointed.
The best carp fishing line for surface fishing
#5. Korda IQ
As stated previously in this article, we love to fish with fluorocarbon when surface fishing as its light-refracting properties do really help on what is a tough bait presentation to get right.
Kordas IQ fluorocarbon is the perfect hook length material when surface fishing particularly with the 10lb breaking strain version.
We know Korda has a great reputation in the angling world and in particular for producing brilliant terminal tackle. This fluorocarbon absolutely continues that trend.
Used in conjunction with a line grease, this line will present your floater perfectly on top whilst providing a stiff and reactive response to your strike.
We have found hook holds have been noticeably stronger when using Korda IQ and with it being virtually invisible in the water our surface fishing results have noticeably improved since using it.
The best carp fishing line for casting long distances
#6. Fox Submerge Sinking Braided Mainline
As well as the spiderwire mentioned earlier in this article, Fox Submerge is a great braid to use if you are needing to cast long distances.
On top of this, when fishing long distances you really need to avoid bows and slack points in your line in order to achieve sensitivity with bite indication.
Fox submerge is a great braid to use as it is slightly denser than some other brands on the market and as such, it sinks better.
With this great braid, you can be rest assured you are fishing with a quality carp mainline, that can not only get your carp rigs out further but can also keep you well connected with your end tackle.
The best carp fishing line for clear water
#7. X-Line Fluorocarbon Mainline
X-Line fluorocarbon mainline is another really popular line that offers the perfect balance of stretch and sensitivity alongside the sinking and light refraction properties that fluorocarbon naturally brings.
Fishing in clear water can be really tough to keep things inconspicuous but the Xline really helps in achieving this.
Available in spool sizes up to 600 metres you should find you have enough line to spool up at least 2 of your reels. With all the qualities that this line exudes, you will be offering yourself the best possible chance to catch that elusive carp.
The best carp fishing line for weedy waters
The Fox EOS achieves both of these requirements with ease and has a relatively low line diameter to boot. This really is a great mono that isn't just perfect for weedy waters but can be used as an all-round fishing line as well.
The best sinking carp line
#9. Korda Subline
Team Korda has designed a carp fishing mono to deal with any extreme fishing situations you may find yourself in.
The Subline carp mono is a great choice for fishing near snags or any other highly abrasive features.
With its heavy-duty material, comes a heavier fishing line which is perfect if you need a line that sinks well. Extreme situations sometimes require extreme measures and the Korda Subline is a measure you will want to take to fish with confidence.
Check out this video from Korda highlighting some of the properties of this great carp fishing line.
What to look for in the best carp fishing lines?
It would be really easy to give a carte blanche answer that covers a generalist approach when choosing a carp fishing line. Carp fishing, however, covers a myriad of approaches that can differ quite considerably. As such the best carp fishing mainline will be dependant on what tactics you are looking to deploy.
The following questions are good to get the answers to before homing in on what carp fishing line to purchase:
Are you fishing in clear water?
If the water you are fishing is clear then the colour of your line will be a major factor in your choice. Without a shadow, in clear water, you need to be fishing with a clear mainline to reduce the likelihood of carp actually seeing your line and realising something is untoward.
In clear water, you may even want to consider the use of a fluorocarbon mainline. One of the benefits of fluorocarbon is its light-refracting properties and so could really help when the water is clear, particularly on a bright day.
Light refracting properties of fluorocarbon
Are you fishing in or near weed?
Similar to the answer on clear water, if you are fishing weedy water then line colour should also be a consideration. There are many green mainlines on the market today and these will be ideal if fishing in a weedy swim.
Although weedy areas could be lucrative, they are also fraught with challenges. Clever carp will often aim straight for a weed bed when hooked with an aim of burying itself as deep within it as it possibly can.
If you know that there are some large, deep weed beds on the water you are fishing, you will need to scale your line up a bit and look for a mainline that is higher in its breaking strain and maybe more abrasion-resistant.
A lake where a green mainline would be ideal
Are you fishing near snags?
Similar to weed, snags can be great fish-holding areas as carp will see them as a safe haven. Again, once hooked, carp will make a beeline straight towards the nearest snag and quite often it's best to fish 'locked up and have a hook and hold approach when you are in.
This basically means that once hooked, no line will be taken from your reel so you need to pounce on the first indication of a take or your beloved rod and reel will end up in the drink. If you are fishing very close to snags we would recommend you use a bite alarm with snag ears attached as a form of added protection for your gear.
Once hooked and with the rod in your hand, again, you will need to attempt to not allow the carp to take line and effectively hold it in position with an attempt to get it to change its direction towards a safer area of the water.
This 'hold' approach can put a lot of pressure on your gear, particularly mainline and so a high breaking strain line with lots of abrasion resistance is the order of the day. In these circumstances, we would recommend you choose a braided mainline that has additional abrasion-resistant properties.
What distance do you need to cast?
Casting distance is an important consideration when choosing a mainline. If your tactics are swinging out a small lead along the margins, then a low diameter mono will be a good choice. If you are needing to blast a 5oz bomb over 120yards then you will need a line that can take this sudden strain.
If casting long distances, quite often it's good practice to use a shock leader to basically (as the name suggests) absorb the shock of the sudden strain exerted onto the line. Without this, lighter lines, could be prone to snap offs on the cast.
If your gear is at its casting limit, using braid as your mainline can give you an extra 10 or 20 yards or so. This is simply because there is less stretch and give in braid that would otherwise absorb some of the force used in the cast.
Are you needing a line for spodding and/or a marker float?
If you are looking to spool up a reel specifically for a marker or spod rod then strength and subtlety are the order of the day. Strength is obviously needed as casting a spod full of particles will easily snap a line that isn't up to the task.
Subtlety is required for a marker rod as the aim is to feel every undulation on the lakebed. For both spodding and marker floats, braid is very much the order of the day. Its strength and higher breaking strain will cater for most spodding jobs and its very low elasticity means you will feel more of the bottom contours through your rod tip.
To get the most out of braid, however, you have to make sure that it is spooled correctly. Check out the following video that provides some useful tips when spooling braid onto your reel:
Are you needing a carp line for surface fishing?
Floater fishing for carp can be an exhilarating tactic. It can also, however, be a difficult and frustrating tactic. Carp are harder to catch on the surface due to increased visibility and just generally how the bait and line are presented can be unnatural and challenging.
To give you the best opportunity of catching on top, the right fishing line is paramount. The best carp fishing line for surface fishing should be of the lowest diameter that you can get away with. Ideally, you should use a clear line that has light refracting properties tied to a relatively small carp hook.
We prefer to use a low-diameter fluorocarbon line for surface fishing to mitigate all of the challenges that succumb to it.
Top Tip: - If you grease your line, the buoyancy of the line will increase which will help keep all your line on top of the water and help prevent spooking.
Do you need a carp fishing line that can adapt to different situations?
So you may only have a couple of reels at your disposal, yet you may want to try a number of different tactics during a session or over a certain period of time. Having to change your line between sessions can be a real pain let alone quite costly.
If you find yourself in this situation then the best carp line will be one that is adaptable and can turn its hand to most circumstances. We recommend a monofilament line with a breaking strain of 15lbs. A dark brown or multicoloured (dark brown and green) line would suit most circumstances.
If you find yourself fishing clear water or wanting to fish on top then you can always apply a length of clear mono or fluorocarbon to the end of your line (at your required length) to suit this type of fishing.
Does spool size affect line choice?
Spool size, to a degree, will affect your choice of fishing line but more indirectly compared to the other factors mentioned. For example, if you are fishing a water where you need to cast 120 yards plus to be in with a shout then you may be fishing with a big pit reel.
Big pit reels have a huge line capacity and so you can afford to scale up the diameter of the line and still have the ability to cast miles! Likewise to the contrary, a smaller spooled reel may better suit a low diameter line to allow for more line on the spool.
Of course, the larger the spool on your reel the larger the spool of line you need to buy. If you are loading up 3 big pits then you will no doubt have to consider the purchase of a 1000 metre bulk spool.
To learn more about the different types of carp reels please check out our dedicated article here.
Having some (if not all) of these questions answered before heading down to the tackle shop will help no end and save you loads of time by not having to read all the small print on every single spool of line in the shop!
Before you head down there though, there are some basics, almost no-brainers, that are all characteristics of a decent carp fishing line. Ensure the line you purchase has the following specifications:
- A suitable diameter to breaking strain ratio.
- Good abrasion resistance.
- A big enough spool to fill to the rim of your desired reel.
- The right colour to match the water you are fishing.
- No kinks or twists in the line when peeling from its spool.
Should I choose braid, fluorocarbon or monofilament?
A very cliché answer, I know, but it really does depend on the specific fishing circumstances. All three have advantages and disadvantages when compared against each other and each has its place depending on your required application.
The following tables show some of the pros and cons of each of the three line types and in what situation we would choose each one:
When best to use
Mono is a great line to pick for all-round use as it's versatile and more cost-effective than braid and fluorocarbon. We would use mono for normal, general-purpose carp fishing and use it on the majority of our fishing trips where nothing, more specialist, is required.
When best to use
We use braid when we are looking at fishing surplus of 120 yards as its strength and lack of elasticity allows for maximum casting efficiency. At these distances, slow bite indication can be a factor and the use of braid really helps with this.
We also like to use braid when spodding as, again, its strength helps handle very heavy spods. The sensitive nature of braid also makes it an ideal carp line to use with a marker rod to map out your swim. You really can feel every knock on the rod tip when using braid which is really handy when trying to pinpoint an underwater feature.
When best to use
We like to use fluorocarbon when fishing in clear waters due to its light-refracting properties. It can be a great line to use if the fish on a particular water are easily spooked with the presence of line in the swim.
We also like to use fluorocarbon when surface fishing in conjunction with a good line grease to ensure the line floats.
What colour line is best for carp fishing?
As discussed previously in this article, the colour of your carp line should really match the particular features of the water body you are fishing. For example, if you are fishing weedy water, use a green mainline, if the lake bed is particularly silty then a brown line will be the order of the day.
In clear water, a clear line should be used, and so on and so forth. The ultimate aim when choosing a particular coloured fishing line is to make your presentation as inconspicuous as possible.
Choose a fishing line colour that matches the water you are fishing
What pound line breaking strain should I use for carp?
This is a simple question to answer. Always choose the lightest line you can get away with without compromising fish safety.
Fish are wise old creatures and anything that looks or feels unnatural will cause them to become wary and in some cases stop feeding in a particular area they are cautious about.
For this reason, the thinnest line will be the best choice however you shouldn't use a thin line next to snags for example. The average carp angler will be using line with a breaking strain varying from 10lb and 15lb, with a 12lb mainline being a good, all-round line to use in most circumstances.
For a snaggy swim, you should scale up to a line of 20lb plus breaking strain. And to the contrary, if you are fishing for smaller carp in a snag-free water or maybe even float fishing for carp then you may even want to go as low as 6-8lb breaking strain.
As a final note, your choice of breaking strain should also go hand in hand with the correct carp rod and indeed carp rod & reel combo for the situation you are fishing. What we mean by this is that you wouldn't use a 3.5lb test curve rod and a big pit reel with a 6lb mainline. So make sure your rod, reel and line are all well balanced.
If you want to succeed in carp fishing then every aspect of your tackle needs to be thought about. One of the biggest aspects of your gear to ponder has to be what carp fishing line you will use.
If you get this wrong, you will either lose more fish than you land or just won't simply hook any in the first place.
Hopefully, this article has given you some pointers into what to look for in the best carp fishing line and more importantly what fishing situation to use each type in.
Tight Lines! (no pun intended!)
All of the carp lines featured in this article can be found at all good fishing tackle shops.
Best Carp Rods
In this article, we will take a look at the best carp rods for a whole host of different carp fishing applications. We will advise you on what features to look for when choosing the best carp rod and provide some suggestions based on years of experience and extensive research.
The Best Fluorocarbon Line for Carp Fishing
Fluorocarbon is the latest trend amongst carp anglers. Checkout this handy guide to help decide on the best fluorocarbon line for carp fishing.
Best Big Pit Reels
Big Pit Reels are the big guns of the fishing world, they are literally casting Howitzers. Read this article to find the best big pit reels available today.