Fishing Line

Choosing the right fishing line will increase your odds of landing a higher percentage of fish. When I know my customers have gotten a good hook set, I feel confident they will land their fish. I made all the right preparations in advance and none more important than the line I choose to spool my reels with. In preparing for the next days trip, I check all of my fishing line for abrasion and retie all of my hooks without exception.

There is differing of opinions on line choice. Some like the monofilament fishing line while others prefer the braided fishing lines. I use both of them and I’ll explain how and why after I describe the differences.

Monofilament fishing line will stretch which has a couple of advantages 1) it gives when setting the hook preventing the angler from pulling the bait away from the fish. The same principle applies when using a glass rod vs. a graphite rod for crank baits. 2) the stretch also helps keep the fish from ripping the hook out when fighting against the stiff rod i.e. flippn’ stick. 3) It has lower visibility than braid (30 lb. mono. low visibility?...come on!).

Braided Line: 1) has very little stretch and does not give when setting the hook so you are making direct contact with the fish for a more positive and powerful hook up. 2) It saws through grass like hydrilla keeping the fish from burying up in it. 3) Backlashes are easier to pick out. 4) It floats higher in the water keeping it from sinking in the grass.

Copolymer fishing lines were developed to resist abrasion and increased knot strength. These lines promote thin diameters and low memory. Their strongest features are low stretch and higher sensitivity.

Fluorocarbon fishing lines are the lowest in visibility. It has almost the same refraction index as water making it nearly invisible. The example Doug Hannon “The Bass Professor” gave me was to take an empty glass jar with the lid screwed on tight and submerge it. This is what monofilament fishing line looks like in the water. Now take the same jar, except submerge it full of water, and see how hard it is to see in comparison to the empty jar. Fluorocarbon has a heavier density than monofilament allowing it to sink faster giving better lure control and greater sensitivity. The water absorption is minimal increasing knot strength.

I use the braid and the monofilament for all the reasons listed above and more. I have used the same 50 and 65 lb. braided line for about 7 years without changing it. When it started to look worn, I stripped it off the spool, reversed it and put it back on. When you’re fishing with a novice, especially kids, you want to give them every advantage you can. I feel by using braid it gives them a better chance of driving the hook home. Remember, before the hook has a chance of penetrating the fish, it first has to be ripped out of the shiner. At the end of the braided line I would add about 10 foot of green 30 lb. monofilament fishing line as a leader. This cut down on the visibility…yeah right! But the real advantage is it allows for just enough stretch to keep the fish from applying enough leverage to rip the hook out and makes retying your hook much easier and faster. I join the braid and mono. together with a special knot designed for joining two different diameter lines. I’ve heard it called by several names including barrel knot and uni-knot. Fishing Line Knots - The Weakest Link

Stretch in the line is not always a bad thing. I remember when braided line first came out; I was touring the B.A.S.S. Trail as the sponsor rep. for Humminbird. The first concern was braided fishing line would groove the rod guides causing abrasion and eventually cut the line. I’ve seen this happen on my own cheap rods but never on my better quality rods and then it would only occur on the tip which is easily replaced. Also the lack of stretch would rip the hook from the fish’s mouth, break rods, strip reels or even break hooks. When you use a heavy action, extra fast tip flippin’ stick, no-stretch braided fishing line and then tighten the drag down with a pair of pliers, something has to give. What the pros did was dig out their old glass rods whenever they would use braid or, like Denny Brauer, just stick with heavy monofilament fishing line which has enough stretch to act as a shock absorber. Since the introduction of these new fishing lines, improvements have been made to the new generation of rods. To avoid damage to the guides they are using better grade materials. So don’t concern yourself when purchasing a rod that you plan on using braided line on. Braided line has established itself in the bass fishing market as well as other areas and is here to stay.

Filling the spool: When you fill a spool with line always start with backing. Backing is that cheap “bargain basement” stuff you find in the closeout bin at Wal-Mart, K-Mart or any of your favorite discounts or tackle stores. All you’re trying to do here is fill the unused portion of the spool since you only need about 100 yds. of good line. If you use a high test monofilament fishing line like 20 lbs. or more it will fill a lot faster and do several reels. This will save you a lot of time and money when you replace the line at a later date. Plus it gives you a good reference point as to where you stop when stripping off the old line so you’ll always know where that 100 yard mark is.

Testimonial: Let me end with a personal experience as to how tough braided fishing line is. With the set-up I described above for shiner fishing, I have NEVER had a line break. Let me restate that by saying “never on a fish”. I had a husband and wife party out one day in late spring. The alligators get real active around that time because it is their mating season. I mentioned, on the page about drifting, how gators like bright fluorescent marker buoys. Well this gator took an interest in our bright fluorescent floats. We would have to reel our fishing line in to keep him from chomping on them. He came so close to the boat a couple of times I had to take my rod and smack the water to chase him off. I wasn’t worried about any kind of an attack; it was just to keep him far enough away so we could get our lines in. Well the lady let him get too close to her float and as she tried to quickly reel up, she snagged the gator. She started getting excited and asking me what she should do as the line was rapidly disappearing off her spool. I said “play with him and have fun just don’t try to put him in the boat”. Finally she had about enough of that fun as she could stand and handed me the rod. I locked the spool down and broke him off. All of the braided line came back. The monofilament fishing line broke below the knot that joined the two lines together so all we lost was the float, hook and shiner.

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