Does Fishing Line Color Matter? The Ultimate Guide

Whether you’re a professional angler or just starting out with fishing, you must have wondered about your fishing line’s color at one point or another.

If red fishing line really means catching more fish. If bright color really screams, “Don’t bite me!”.

But let me tell you this. It’s the wrong question to ask, because it’s simply too vague.

What you want to know isn’t only whether the color matters or not. The real question is, how it matters to the angler and the fish.

There are so many factors you must consider. Water condition, water clarity or light conditions to name a few. There’s so much more to the color of fishing line than just its visibility to fish.

But don’t you worry, I’m going to walk you through everything and answer some common questions along the way. Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

 At a Glance

Here goes a summary of which fishing line color you should use for what sort of water body or fish to get the most invisibility under water. Just in case you just want to have a quick look at what we would be learning.

The table might raise some questions in your mind, but fear not. You’ll understand everything after you’ve finished reading the article.

Refer to below cards the next time you need to pick a fishing line!

Fishing Line Color: Red and Pink

  • Water Body: Deep (15-30 feet) or shallow water
  • Weather Conditions: Any
  • Fish: Wary types like Trout or Bass
  • Advantage(s): Total invisibility in deep water and good above-the-water visibility in shallow water

Fishing Line Color: Blue

  • Water Body: The ocean or anything that has a blue tint
  • Weather Conditions: Any
  • Fish: Any
  • Advantage(s): Camouflaging ability in blue water

Fishing Line Color: White

  • Water Body: Clear, transparent water
  • Weather Conditions: Bright, sunshiny day
  • Fish: Any
  • Advantage(s): Total invisibility in clean water

Fishing Line Color: Yellow

  • Water Body: Any
  • Weather Conditions: Any
  • Fish: Any
  • Advantage(s): Great visibility from above the water, can be used with orange for multi-line fishing

Fishing Line Color: Dark green

  • Water Body: Anything that has a green tint e.g. deep sea or pond
  • Weather Conditions: Any
  • Fish: Extra-spooky types like Carp
  • Advantage(s): Camouflaging ability both on land and in water. High versatility.

Fishing Line Color: Black

  • Water Body: Dark, murky water
  • Weather Conditions: Any
  • Fish: Bass
  • Advantage(s): Total invisibility in dark water

Fishing Line Color: Orange

  • Water Body: Muddy, stained water
  • Weather Conditions: Any
  • Fish: Any
  • Advantage(s): Moderate invisibility in deep water, good visibility from above the water

Do you really have to worry about fish being able to see the color?

First things first. Before we dive into the pros and cons of each color and which ones truly become invisible underwater, I’m going to answer this.

Frankly speaking, you don’t need to care. Unless, you plan on catching a trophy fish every time you go on a fishing trip. And that trip takes place more than once every month.

A good old green fishing line will do fine for casual fishing trips. You mightn’t be able to reel in something you’ll want to take a picture with. But hey, if all you want is to have fun, that’s the go-to color which won’t disappoint you.

That being said, each color comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s have a look at that now.

Red Fishing Line

Red-Fishing-Line.jpg

Can fish see red line?  This is one of the most controversial debates people still run into from time to time.

Here’s the answer. If we’re talking about 15-30 feet deep into water, no, they can’t. It would certainly disappear.

Word of caution, don’t buy into this gimmick that as red fishing line looks a bit like blood, it will result in more bites. As convincing as it sounds, there’s no evidence available as of now to back this claim up.

Where It Should be Used

Obviously, when you’re fishing in deep water, red fishing line should be your first choice. The fact that it turns invisible in deep water makes the lure seem more natural and inconspicuous. Which can particularly come helpful for the more wary types like trout or bass.

But wait, here comes the catch (no pun intended).

If you’re fishing in shallow water, you should still go for red. Why? In that case, when the fish bites the bait, you need to know it immediately by the fishing line movements. If you can’t see the subtle line movements, the fish may spit the bait out before you even know it.

Red line is very visible to the angler above the water. It makes all that way easier.

Overall Verdict

To cut a long story short, if you want a fully invisible fishing line for fishing in 15-30 feet deep water, red line is your friend. Or, if you need to see your fishing line clearly from above while fishing in shallow water, it’ll be a good choice for that too.

Pink Fishing Line

Pink Fishing Line

Pink may look like the paler counterpart of red fishing line. But it’s very hard to believe that it’d blend in the surrounding under water just as well. Especially given how bright the color looks.

But, yes, pink fishing line does disappear as well in varying depths. That’s real talk.

So, you know, in case you don’t like red line or can’t find a good one, feel free to go with pink.

Where It Should be Used

Again, pink fishing line is a great choice for deep water fishing for its camouflaging ability. Along with that, pink line does the job better when it comes to visibility from above the water.

Overall Verdict

In deep water, there’s nothing special about pink line compared to red. Both of them disappear down there, resulting in higher bites from spooky fish that are familiar with lines connected to lures.

Nevertheless, pink fishing line does come with an additional advantage. As it’s brighter in color, it’s easier for the angler to keep tabs on fishing line movements.

Black Fishing Line

Black Fishing Line

This one’s certainly not the most forgiving one when it comes to fishing. Black line and clean water don’t go well together, to say the least.

It’s extremely visible to fish in clean water. When fish see a black line, chances are high that they know this is a fishing line. Which isn’t a good thing in most cases.

Contrastingly, black fishing line is known to be nearly invisible in dark, murky water. Solely for that reason, bass fishing experts often use it when the water is dark. Making it almost impossible for the fish to see it.

Where It Should be Used

You should only go for black fishing line when the water is so dark that it’d blend perfectly in the surrounding under water. And of course, when you don’t want the fish to see the line.

Overall Verdict

The near-invisibility in dark water is a decided plus indeed.

Do note that it’ll be quite hard to see fishing line movements due to its low visibility from above the water. Black fishing line also lacks versatility as it has very specific usage scenarios.

Dark Green Fishing Line

Dark-Green-Fishing-Line

Unlike black, dark green fishing line steals the show when it comes to versatility. It blends really well in most environments under water.

But that’s not all.

Since this particular color has strong ties to nature, it won’t give itself away even above the water! That may be something you’ll want to consider for extra-spooky fish like carp.

Where It Should be Used

Dark green is the perfect color for almost every situation, as long as you’re not fishing in clean water and the water has a green tint. Whether it’s the deep sea or the local pond, green line disappears under water fairly well.

Overall Verdict

In essence, if you want an all-rounder at your disposal, this is what you’re looking for. The ability to stay low-key even above the water is another bonus on top of its versatility.

Blue Fishing Line

Blue Fishing Line

The ocean always has a blue hue, which allows blue fishing line to be almost impossible to see underwater. That makes it a decent choice if you’re going to fish in the ocean.

Or, any other water body which has a bluish tint.

Where It Should be Used

As long as the water has a blue hue, you’re good to go. Whether it’s the ocean or a river.

Keep this in mind that, blue fishing line would disappear the best only in water with such color. Although even if the water’s hue is more on the greener side, it would still camouflage moderately well.

Overall Verdict

It’s definitely not as versatile as green fishing line. If you live in a coastal area and mainly fish in the ocean, getting a blue fishing line will be an excellent decision for you.

White Fishing Line

White-Fishing-Line

If the water is clear and transparent, white fishing line is what you’ll want to use. As opposed to other colors, white fishing line has been observed to be totally invisible in clean water.

Why is that? The reason behind the phenomena is quite fascinating. Picture this, you’re a fish in clean water. When you look up, you see the bright, white sky as the water is clear.

Do you think you’d notice that white fishing line which blended perfectly into the sunlight?

That is exactly what enables white fishing line to camouflage so well in clear water.

Where It Should be Used

If you’re fishing in clear water and it’s a bright, sunshiny day, white fishing line would be your best bet. High invisibility in such kind of water is what sets it apart from the rest.

Overall Verdict

Being the counterpart of black fishing line, white line too comes with limited usage scenario. As you can guess already, white fishing line is a big no no when it comes to dirty water.

If clean water is all you’ll be fishing in, go for it. If not, no.

Orange Fishing Line

Orange-Fishing-Line

Orange fishing line isn’t much different from red fishing line. As we’ve seen already, red loses its color in deep water. Orange line more or less shoots for the same effect.

The color might look a bit too bold from above the water. But trust me on this, it looks nowhere the same in deep water.

Where It Should be Used

Say, you’re fishing for bass in muddy or stained water. You have to see the fishing line movements and red isn’t cutting it. In that case, orange would be the best color choice as it’s flashier than red making it easier to see from above.

Overall Verdict

When you’re fishing in deep water and you need to be able to see the fishing line movements clearly in the muddy water, orange fishing line is what you need.

Yellow Fishing Line

Yellow-Fishing-Line

Sometimes, the characteristics of the water body demand the brightest colors. For that, yellow fishing line is another strong competitor.

If the point is to be as high-key as possible, it will definitely have the edge. Invisibility isn’t something you’d normally want to associate with yellow line.

But when would you need that? Good question, let’s see.

Where It Should be Used

Yellow isn’t one of the muted colors for sure, and you’ll definitely want to leverage that.

Suppose, you’re fishing with multiple lines in muddy water. The color of the fishing lines must be highly visible from above, because of the clarity of water.

But no two fishing lines can be of the same color, right? How would you differentiate one from another otherwise?

Yellow fishing line is the perfect choice for situations like that. Having the same characteristics as orange fishing line, they can work well together if you’re fishing with multiple lines.

Overall Verdict

If you’re looking for two different colors with high visibility for multiline trolling in translucent water, yellow fishing line is a good choice to be used with orange. Indubitably, it’d perform in muddy water on its own just as great too.

Braid Fishing Line Color: Everything About It

There used to be a time when anglers used mostly braided fishing lines. It was black in color. Nothing fancy.

Then, boom, one fine morning, everyone started talking about why and how color of fishing line mattered. Companies started making colored braided fishing lines. Things started getting interesting.

Fast forward to today, we have a lot of options when it comes to the color of braid line. Even varieties like multi colored braid fishing line or rainbow braided fishing line aren’t too hard to come across.

Can Fish See Braided Line?

Yes, they can. Braided line has many benefits like significantly thinner diameter and high durability, but total invisibility isn’t one of them regardless of what color it is of.

Multicolor Braid Fishing Line

You might wonder what someone would ever be using a multicolor braid line for. The answer is, it’s used for precision vertical jigging and trolling. For example, you can set lures at different measurements by referring to the color changes.

Best Color for Braided Fishing Line

As I said above, braided fishing line won’t really totally disappear under water no matter what the color is. To achieve the closest result possible, make sure the braid line color matches with the color of the water you’d be fishing in. If your prey is aggressive, it would bite the bait anyhow.

Would you mind watching this video for more understanding of the Underwater Visibility Test of Braided Fishing Lines

Final Words

Using the right color of fishing line can become a huge advantage when done right. Nevertheless, at the end of the day it’s your skills and confidence that matter the most, along with a pinch of luck.

I’ve tried my best to give you some guidance on how fishing line color plays a key role in fishing.

But I want you to know that the guidelines were based purely on observations made by highly experienced fishermen and divers. Don’t think of these as some strict rules.

What works for others might not work for you. It’s best to experiment with different colors and see which one gets you the best result in a particular scenario.

Happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Monofilament/Fluorocarbon Line Better Than Braided Fishing Line?

Braided fishing line is definitely stronger than the other two types. It also has zero elasticity, which can be a good thing if you’re all about that feel. However, if invisibility under water is a concern for you, better stick with appropriate color of monofilament/fluorocarbon. It’s nearly impossible for braided fishing lines to blend in the surrounding under water.

Because of its strength, cutting braided line can be a daunting task. You may find this guide How to Cut Braided FIshing Line helpful.

Is Fluorocarbon Line Better Than Monofilament line?

Again, it depends on your purpose. Fluorocarbon is widely known for its invisibility under water, even if the water is totally clear and transparent. On the other hand, monofilament line doesn’t blend that well in the surrounding under water. If you want your fishing line to not be seen by fish, fluorocarbon would be a good call.

Which Fishing Line Should You Use for Catfishing?

When it comes to catfishing, you can’t go wrong with monofilament. It has good abrasion resistance, is strong enough and most importantly, very inexpensive. Unless you’re a big fan of the no stretch feature of braid, monofilament should get the job done.

Catfish is more of the aggressive type, they don’t really care what color your fishing line is. Having that said, you should stick to brighter colors for catfishing for a different reason. Catfish are usually found in dark, murky water. So, you need to be able to see your fishing line from above the water. Orange, yellow, neon green are some good choices.

What Color Works the Best for Trout Fishing?

If it’s a fishing line on sight, trout run in the opposite direction. To not spook them, you need to make sure your fishing line disappears totally under water. The color should be something like dark green or red or anything that camouflages well enough in the water body you’d be fishing in.

Think you could use some advice on trout fishing? Have a look at this article. 

See Also : Best Fishing Line for Trout Fishing

Ice Fishing: How to Pick the Perfect Line?

Experts often suggest using low-stretch monofilament for ice fishing. Because in extreme cold, you’ll want something that is very durable. Monofilament’s excellent abrasion resistance and durability are what make it so good for ice fishing.

If you want to know more about ice fishing lines,  check this article out.

Best Ice Fishing Line

What Color Fishing Line is Best for Bass?

Bass get spooked easily and are known to be line shy. You’ll want to go for something that has low to zero invisibility under water. Red, pink and dark green offer decent invisibility. However, if you’re going to be fishing in dark, murky water, black fishing line would be a better decision.

Keep in mind that fluorocarbon is more hard to see than monofilament under water. Hence, it might be a better choice for bass fishing.

Read more

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