Does Line Color Really Matter in Saltwater Fishing? (The Best Fishing Line Color for Saltwater)

Saltwater fishing can be quite intricate sometimes. We have to take into account many variables to help us get the best results possible. One important thing to consider is the color and type of fishing line we use and how it affects our fishing.

In short, many anglers would say the color of the fishing line you use wouldn’t really matter if you are fishing at the right time. If the fish are hungry and your bait is presented well then the fish should bite!

But it does help to use colors and lines that would increase your chances of catching.

For example, lines that blend into the area you are fishing in and are a good strength to ensure you don’t lose the fish are suggested.

Let’s take a deeper look at what lines would be best suited for you!

Table of Contents

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

Different Types of Fishing Lines

Knowing the difference between the different types of fishing lines is really important when fishing in Saltwater areas.

Different lines work better in different areas. The different types of fishing lines are Monofilament, Braided Line, and Fluorocarbon.

saltwater fishing rod and reel close up


The monofilament line is the most common and preferred line for many anglers. It has many uses and is strong, durable, and holds a knot well. Many anglers use monofilament in saltwater because of the vast selection provided by manufacturers.

Monofilament line strength is measured in pounds and starts very low. You can buy monofilament from as low as 0.5 pounds to up to as much as 200 pounds and higher. Obviously, you choose the correct line strength for the fish you are targeting.

Monofilament also comes in a range of different colors, giving you the choice between what colors you prefer simply for aesthetic appeal, or what you think works best underwater.

The advantage of the monofilament lines is that it stretches well under pressure and thus you can set your drag to a higher level. It also is more abrasion resistant than lines like braid. So through rocky areas, this will be more suitable.

The monofilament line does have some disadvantages though. Over time the saltwater damages the line. It starts to degrade in strength and flexibility and the line color fades.

Monofilament also retains line memory well. Meaning over time as it is consistently wrapped around the spool it eventually retains that circular shape and comes off the spool like a spring when the bail is up.

Different line manufacturers have managed to somewhat fix this problem but it is still present in lots of products. Monofilament also retains kinks and dents from rocks that it is pulled over or through, creating a weak point in the line.

Some monofilament lines are better than others. Take a look here for the best monofilament fishing lines.

fisherman fishing at the ocean

Braided Line

Braided line works best in open water and surf fishing on the sand with little rocks and structure. Braid is a combination of more than one individual strand of a material woven tightly together to prove extra strength.

Braid is made with different materials depending on the manufacturer’s preference. You can buy a Nylon braid, Spectra, Dyneema, or Dacron.

Nylon is generally cheaper and provides us with a balance of durability, strength, and flexibility. This type of line works in many areas so if you are looking for something all-around then go for this!

Spectra & Dyneema are very similar. Both products are durable and have a longer lifespan in saltwater. Spectra has a little stretch though whereas Dyneema has basically non. Both products are more suited to fishing more stagnant waters.

Dacron is incredibly strong and durable. Unfortunately, dacron is more on the expensive side. Dacron is best used in deep water and offshore fishing for large game fish. For example, Tuna fishermen will use dacron for their leaders and then braid or fluorocarbon for the mainline.


Fluorocarbon is a great line to use when fishing. It is relatively new and very strong. One of its advantages is that it has a very little light reflection in the water as well as is super durable and abrasion-resistant.

Many anglers use this line as leaders on braid. A disadvantage of this line is that it is rather sturdy and difficult to tie knots with.

If you want to make sure that the line you buy is the best quality to get the best results, take a look here for more details on the best fluorocarbon fishing lines. This should help you choose well.

fisherman fly fishing in ocean from beach

Can Fish See the Color?

To get straight to the point, yes, fish can see the colored line. If they couldn’t we would most likely only have one neutral color across the board. The better question to ask though is does the color discourages the fish to bite?

As said before, if the fish is hungry and you have caught them at their feeding time there’s a good chance they will bite. But we want to be sure that we will have success when we go through the effort of going fishing for a day.

So taking the necessary steps to provide yourself with the best chance of catching are encouraged. Take water visibility into account.

If the water is clean, try to avoid your super bright neon and lumo colors. Also, keep in mind that different lines and colors reflect light differently underwater.

So they might look different. In dirty water, your aim should be to go for lines that blend with the water well.

What Line should I Use?

Choosing the correct line and color is completely dependent on what type of fishing you are doing and where you are fishing.

For example, if I was fishing in clean shallow water I would avoid using bright colors which are prominent in the water, I would rather use something like Fluarocarbon which is very strong and almost invisible in clear water.

You can also mix and match the line you prefer with others. I prefer braid. It helps with the cast and cuts through the water well.

But often the braid I get is a light yellow. So I attach a fluorocarbon leader to the braid using and figure-eight knot to allow the leader to slip through the eyes of my rod well. This allows me to have the strength of the Fluorocarbon line and the sensitivity and feel of the braid.

fisherman fishing in ocean from beach

The Best Line for Surf Fishing

Once again, this is dependent on where you are fishing, what you are targeting, and on your skill level as a fisherman.

If you are fishing gullies and deep rock pools and ledges then monofilament will suit you well. It will protect you from snapping off on the rocks and is easy to use.

If you are fishing for game fish that mostly target live bait and lure like tuna or yellowtail, then braid will be your best bet. With braid, you can fit more lines on your spool for when the fish runs. You get a better cast and better strength for the thickness.

The disadvantage with using braid comes when it runs against structure and becomes fraid and weak. So I suggest you use a decent length of Fluorocarbon as a leader. This will protect you if your line catches on anything.

The line color for fishing in the surf doesn’t necessarily matter if you are using a fluorocarbon leader. These show almost transparent in the water.

The Best Line for Fishing Offshore

If you are fishing reefs offshore you definitely want something strong and durable that won’t snap or tear against rocks. The best two options for this would be monofilament or fluorocarbon.

Both are durable and abrasion-resistant. You also have a wide variety of the line strength you want. You want a line on the heavier side though. It needs to withstand lots of pressure from a tight drag to stop the fish from getting back into the reef.

If you are trolling or fishing open water then I would suggest Dacron. Although expensive, Dacron is crazy strong! Many anglers attach dacron to their lures and hooks to ensure their catch.

You can also use a fluorocarbon as a leader with dacron but if you choose to go straight dacron then I would suggest a more neutral colored line. Something like a deep blue.

man fishing from stand up paddle board in ocean

What Rod should I Use with My Line?

Whether you are fishing inland in a lake, offshore in 40 meters of water, or on the surf. Paring the right line to your rod is really important.

You don’t want to be trying to cast to the back of the waves with line that barely passes through your rod’s eyes.

Here are some great rod choices for Saltwater fishing offshore and in the surf.

Fiblink Saltwater Offshore Fishing Rod

This rod is strong, durable, and provides a super smooth retrieve when reeling in and when it helps to have multiple runners when the fish runs and the drag goes, less friction and resistance in the line and drag.

This rod is best suited to trolling and vertical jigging in open water near reefs.

Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Fishing Rod

The Ugly stick is a great rod, well known for its strength and flexibility. This rod is designed to give you a great cast and is definitely suggested for Saltwater fishing in the surf. The Ugly stick is heavy-duty and is made to cast heavy lures. Be sure to pare this beautiful rod with a heavy-duty reel as well!

Let’s Wrap it Up

Can fish see the color of my fishing line? The answer is yes. Does this influence whether they will bite or not? The answer is yes and no. Your game fish are more visual hunters so it might affect them. But as said before, If the fish are hungry and your bait is presented well, there’s a high chance they will bite.

If you have more information that you would like to share with us on the topic please comment below, we would love to hear your perspective.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content