You might not have thought it, but choosing the right carp fishing line can have a massive effect on your carp fishing. Your line connects you to the fish in every way, from how it casts, sensitivity to bites, sink rate, visibility, strength in the fight, and so on.
However, understanding the differences between lines isn’t easy, and finding the best carp mainline is a big challenge. It requires a lot of research and testing, which can only be done on the bank fishing.
Carp anglers are always looking for the best carp mainline, and two stand out among the pack over all the rest! So let’s compare them against each other to determine which is the best.
Our 2 Best Carp Fishing Lines
Fox Exocet Carp Fishing Line
Gardner Tackle GT-HD Carp Fishing Line
Fox Exocet Fishing Line
The Fox Exocet is an awesome fishing line. It is a monofilament line, meaning it is made from a single strand of high-quality nylon, which ensures excellent overall strength and abrasion resistance. This means it can handle snags and larger fish with ease!
Despite being very strong, the Fox Exocet also has a thin diameter, which allows you to pack more onto your reel spool, reduces both drag in the water for better bite sensitivity, and drag in the air for longer casting distances, too!
It is a supple line that is easy to handle, which makes knot tying simple, and its knot strength is excellent, too, so you won’t have to worry about losing any fish due to that! The line also comes with low memory, meaning it doesn’t coil up or cause tangles.
The kaki coloured line is also designed to have low visibility in the water and blends into the environment almost seamlessly. Fish find it hard to see and, therefore, don’t spook, and it lays well camouflaged on the bottom!
Another excellent feature of this carp fishing line is the sink rate. This line sinks quickly and gets out of the way of moving fish to provide you with a more stealthy approach.
Exocet is available in six strength choices of 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, and 23lbs breaking strains. My preference for carp is the 16lbs option, which is strong enough for most carp fishery syndicate lakes. If you fish in heavy snaggy lakes, moving up to the 18lbs or 20lbs option is advisable. All options come in a 1000 metre spool size.
There are no downsides to using the Fox Exocet line except the fact that it is a little expensive, but you pay for what you get in the fishing world.
Low visibility in the water
Hard for fish to see
Low memory for fewer tangles
Excellent knot strength
Allows knots to be tied easily
Awesome abrasion resistance
Great casting distance
A little bit expensive
Gardner Tackle GT-HD Fishing Line
The Gardner Tackle GT-HD Fishing Line is slightly different from the Fox Exocet as it is a copolymer line. This means instead of being made from just nylon like monofilament, it is made with a combination of materials.
In this GT-HD line’s case, the use of a copolymer was used to reduce the stretch in the line. Monofilament is notoriously stretchy, which helps when fighting a big fish as it provides some give, but reduced stretch provides a more direct connection to your bait for better bite indication right through to your bite alarms.
By having a more sensitive line, you will feel the more subtle bites from any carp, which can only be a good thing and hopefully lead to catching more fish.
You might have thought that using a copolymer to reduce the stretch of the line may impact other features might be compromised, but this isn’t the case.
This carp fishing line has excellent abrasion resistance and is strong during a fight. If you get snagged or caught up in weeds when playing a fish, chances are the line will pull through, and you’ll land the carp.
It is an easy line to tie knots with and has good knot strength, making it very reliable for specimen fish. Also, its low memory reduces tangles, plus casting with it is a delight – you will find longer casting distances and better accuracy with this on your reel spool.
Gardner GT-HD comes in a single colour, low-viz green, and is available in three sizes. Again, like the Exocet, the 15lbs test is the best option, but it’s also available in 12lbs and 18lbs options.
This truly is an amazing carp fishing line that has it all and comes with reduced stretch for better bite sensitivity. The only downside is that with all these features, it does come at a cost!
Reduced stretch for more sensitivity
Subtle bite indication
Very low vis in the water
Hard for carp to see
High knot strength and great abrasion resistance
Smooth and supple
Low memory and great for casting with
If you are resistant to change from a monofilament line to a copolymer, Gardner GT-HD is also available in a monofilament version. You will lose the bite sensitivity and the less stretchy nature of the copolymer. Performance wise the mono version will work almost just as a copolymer.
So Which Line Is Best? Fox Exocet Or Gardner GT-HD
Comparing the two lines is going to be down to individual preference. Specification wise they are very similar, but a few considerations between the two can be made.
In my tests, I found no difference in the knot strength between the two lines. The Palomar knot is the best to use for both lines as this knot will hold strong and not weaken the breaking strain and is one of the easiest knots to tie.
The Fox Exocet 16lb line has a diameter of 0.331mm, compared to the slightly thicker Gardner GT-HD 15lb line, which is 0.35mm. This means you can get around 8% more line on your spool using the Exocet line.
The Fox Exocet comes in a 1000 meter spool for all breaking strains, and the Gardner GT-HD has different lengths depending on the breaking strain you choose: 1150m (12lbs), 1030m (15lbs), and 830m (18lbs)
Exocet is slightly cheaper than the GT-HD; the manufacturer’s recommended pricing for the GT-HD is approximately 5% more, which is insignificant.
In my experience, either is a great choice. The GT-HD copolymer line will produce slightly less stretch and a marginally improved bite sensitivity over the Exocet. Carp anglers tend to stick with what they have used for years and never change. In comparing the two lines, neither has a significant edge over the other.
If you want to do your own comparisons, fix one rod up with Exocet and the other rod with GT-HD and see how you personally feel about them side to side. Ensure you do this with the identical rod, reel, and terminal tackle to get a true representation.
What To Look For In The Best Carp Fishing Line
Here are some key considerations you must be aware of when choosing the right fishing line when targeting carp.
Abrasion Resistance, Strength, & Knot Strength
No one wants a weak fishing line that breaks on snags or mid-fight with a fish, and it would simply ruin your day, wouldn’t it?
Look for lines with solid abrasion resistance; these options can handle being dragged into snags or weed beds and still hold onto a fish afterward. Abrasion resistance is a good measure of general strength, as is knot strength. Ensure the line ties reliable knots that don’t come undone under pressure.
Visibility & Diameter
The less likely a fish is to see your line, the more chance you have of catching it, so low visibility lines are a must when you are looking to use the best. Check the colours and reviews to ensure your line choice is low vis in the water; camo green, khaki, and dark tan seem to work best.
Another consideration is the diameter. A thinner line is harder for fish to see, and it casts a lot better, too, as it has less drag; however, you don’t want this to compromise the strength of the line, so it is always best to find a balance.
Stretch & Memory
A line with a lower stretch provides a quicker and more efficient energy transfer from one end to the other. This not only means you will be able to detect more bites, but it will also improve your casting distance. Plus, when fighting a fish, you have more control since the line doesn’t give as much.
Memory describes if or how much a line remembers the shape it was last in, like on your reel spool. Lines with lots of memory will coil up and cause tangles, whereas lines with low memory will straighten out and be a joy to fish with – so low memory is key!
If you want to know more about the important aspects of fishing lines and how each compares, why not check out my category of articles regarding line and braid.
Thank you very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and have discovered how these two lines match up. They both truly are wonderful lines to fish with that will take your carp fishing game to a higher level and, in turn, help you catch more fish.
Steve is a seasoned angler whose lifelong passion for fishing has not only shaped his personal life but also laid the foundation for Positive Fishing—a community where he and his team of dedicated fishing enthusiasts share their love for the sport. With an impressive repertoire of skills honed over five decades, Steve has mastered both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Steve holds a special place in his heart for the mighty Carp and the elusive Tench