Fishing Line Selection not Just an A or B Option

As we wrap up the open-water fishing season and start eyeing up the next, one item that each angler needs and relies upon is fishing line. Fishing line is the critical link between that fish and getting it in the boat.

Following a season on the water, many anglers will pull off the line from the past season, and in the spring, spool up fresh line for the new year. Some anglers that fish more frequently follow a more structured and regular program of spooling up their fishing reels with new line.

Regardless of when or how often you are putting new line on your reels, you want to make sure your fishing line is: in good condition; does not have too much memory; has enough line on the reel to achieve maximum casting distance; and is the correct line for that upcoming trip and the technique you’ll be using.

Getting the maximum performance and benefits out of the fishing line begins with safely storing it. Keeping your line out of direct sunlight will keep it from getting damaged and have it performing to its peak.

When spooling your fishing reels, it is a good idea to spray the spool of line with some type line of conditioner, and to run the line through a rag as it goes on to the reel. This will help reduce the memory. It is also important to have a tight drag and tension on your reels when winding on new line; this, coupled with keeping tension on the spool of line, will ensure that the fishing line is going onto your reel in a nice, neat and even manner.

You may be asking yourself, “OK, so now I know how to put new line on my reels. But what type should I use?”

Well, there are three main types of fishing line: monofilament, braid and fluorocarbon. Each of these lines has a specific reason fo using it; here is a quick rundown on each type and its key application.

 

Monofilament (mono)

Mono is what most anglers began using and it still has a place on reels today, particularly in key situations. Since mono floats, it will allow your topwater baits to perform to the best of their ability, which is why I spool up mono when fishing topwater plugs such as a popper, walk-the-dog plug or a buzzbait.

Another situation in which I turn to mono is when I am fishing a shallow-running crankbait. The reason for this, as I mentioned above, is that mono floats; this will help keep my crankbait up in the water column and allow it to roll over cover and not dig down into it.

The other reason is that mono has stretch to it, so when you hook a bass on a treble hook bait and the fish makes a powerful surge, the mono will stretch and not tear the hooks out of the bass’s mouth. I primarily use 15-pound-test mono but will go down to 10- or 12-pound in cold-water situations, or up to 20-pound if fishing around heavy cover or I need to add more buoyancy to my bait.

 

Braid

The great thing about using braided line is that you can put your bait in areas where big bass live and know you’ll have the ability to get that bass in the boat. Braided line has little to no stretch, so when you set the hook, you are getting an instant hook set on the bass. And when a bass tries to turn and bury in heavy cover, you can keep it from doing so and instead headed toward the boat. For me, braided line is an absolute must when fishing topwater hollow-bodied frogs in the slop, or when you are flipping around heavy vegetation.

My go-to braid is Smackdown from Seaguar. It comes in two colors: Stealth Gray for my flipping and frogging applications, and High Vis Green when I am fishing it on a spinning reel with a Gold Label fluorocarbon leader. As for what pound-test, I will use 65-pound for frogging and punching mats, 40-pound for fishing a swim jig and 15- or 20-pound on my spinning reels.

 

Fluorocarbon

For many anglers, fluorocarbon is the main type of line they are using nowadays. This is for several reasons:

First, it has a high abrasion-resistance; this means you can fish a bait around rocks, wood and boat docks and not have to worry about your line getting as damaged as if you were fishing with mono. Fluorocarbon has little to no stretch as well, so like braid, you can get a rock-solid hookset on the fish.

Now, what really sets fluorocarbon fishing line apart is that it will disappear in the water. This means you can get many of the benefits of a braided fishing line, but you can use it in situations where fish are weary to your line size, or where the water you are fishing is extremely clear. I like to use 15-lb Seaguar TATSU for my main casting applications, and then increase to 17-lb Inviz X for pitching and 20-lb for flipping. When I am dragging baits or fishing a crankbait, I like the castability and abrasion resistant of the 15- or 17-lb Abraz X.

Regardless of which type of fishing line you are using, the pound test affects the action of the bait and the depth it runs. When the bite gets tough due to increased angling pressure or weather changes that make the bass tight lipped, baits achieve a more natural or unrestricted movement when using lower pound test and will generate more bites or get those tight-lipped bass to bite. So, as you spool up your reels for next fishing season, keep this in mind, and be aware of when you need to spool up different line for a fishing trip.