I have to admit, this article comes at the suggestion of one of my clients (one of my favorite clients if you ask him), but once he posed this idea I started recalling how many times I have been asked about what fishing line to use. And understandably so, walk into any tackle shop, look online or flip open the Bass Pro Shops catalog and it can be overwhelming with so many choices. Now I am not claiming to be an expert on line, in fact I do not even know what companies are talking about when they start breaking down the molecular structure of their line…..I am simple weekend warrior, what can you expect? However, I am fortunate to spend a lot of time on the water which has given me the opportunity to gain some insights and experience. Sometimes learning through bad experiences, so here is a little of what I have learned.
It can be as simple as you want to make it. This really applies to all aspects of fishing, not just line selection. Can you use monofilament on every rod you have for every technique and still catch fish? Absolutely! Plenty of fisherman do, and do it quite well. There is not absolute right or wrong answer to what line you choose, it is very much related to each person’s fishing style, comfort and personal preference. Have you ever read a fishing forum where someone asks what is the best rod, or rod action, line or lure? There is typically 100 different answers in the comment sections, and everyone answers with what they have found works best for them. Are you successful catching fish using monofilament only, than stick with it! If you are tackle junky like me than read on!
Dont skimp on your fishing line. I know guys that will buy high-end rods, reels and lures but want to buy the cheapest line they can find. Yes, I know it can get expensive but this is your only connection between you and what could be the fish of a lifetime. Are you going to be happy that you saved a few bucks if that line fails and you lose that fish? If you want to save a few dollars you use backer of cheaper mono to reduce the amount of line you are putting on. Quality lines will have less spool memory, resulting in less backlashes and cobwebs. Quality line will also be more abrasion resistant, fishing the shallow rocky and snag filled rivers that I do, this is important to me. When it comes to a brand, there are a number of manufacturers that make quality line, however my preference is Seaguar. Not only is Seaguar the leader in producing fluorocarbon lines but they have the finest monofilament and braided lines as well.
Spool your reels properly. Save yourself time and headaches on the water by taking a little care when respooling by making sure the line is coming off of the spool the same direction as it goes on your reel. For a spinning reel this is the line coming off of the face of the spool, not by putting a pencil through the spool and spinning it off. Hold your reel as you would if fishing and slowly turn the handle to see which way it turns, than match up your line of spool so the line is coming off the same direction. If you are unsure if you have it correct, stop after five – ten cranks on your reel and let the line go slack between your rod and spool of line. If it immediately twists together than you have it backwards, simply flip the spool of line over. Remember the label on the spool does not always match up to the correct direction you need it to go on your reel. For a baitcaster it is much easier, put a pencil through the center of the spool, again noting the direction it comes off in comparison to your reel….and start reeling with your rod pointed at the spool of line.
Mono, Fluoro, or Braid? Here is the simple breakdown.
Mono – neutral buoyancy, generally the most manageable, least expensive, has the most stretch and is the least sensitive. This si a great all around option, and as mentioned could be sued for every fishing technique if you choose. I use Seaguar Senshi green in 8lb, 10lb and 12lb test, and this is the most sensitive mono I have ever used. Because I am fishing hoarder, I do have multiple rods set up for the same technique but with different lines but here is how I like to use the Senshi.
8lb – for tubes, senkos, hair jigs and other small jigs. When water temps are warmer, and sensitivity is not as important I will use.
10lb – for crankbaits and jerkbaits
12lb – for spinnerbaits and topwaters
Fluoro – sinks, very little stretch, very sensitive and the least visible of all the lines. I use Seaguar Invisx in 8lb and 10lb test on my spinning reels and 12lb (and greater) Abrazx on my baitcasters. Fluorocarbon has the reputation of being unruly but that simply is not the case with these lines, in fact the Invisx is so supple it handles and casts just as mono does. If you find you have a hard time feeling light bites on tubes and jigs, the added sensitivity of this line is just what you need. Yes, braid is more sensitive but for a river angler dealing with dozens and dozens of snags and lost lures it is a huge time saver not having to deal with tying a leader to braid. If you ever really want to treat yourself to an amazing product than try out the Tatsu. It is rather expensive so may not be a line for every day use for the river angler and the amount of line we go through, but all I can say about this line is WOW! Honestly I was not sure how Seaguar could improve upon the Invisx but somehow they did, you have to try it to understand. Now that I have I will always have a rod or two spooled up with it
8lb – for tubes, senkos and small jigs. For light bites, cold water the sensitivity is amazing
10lb – jerkbaits. Because the line sinks it can help get smaller jerkbaits a little bit deeper and the sensitivity is a plus for slack line fishing
12lb – I use more for lake fishing than on rivers
Braid – floats, zero stretch, the most sensitive, longest casting, strongest line in comparison by diameter, most visible and the longest lasting. I use Seaguar Kanzen in 15lb and 20lb, not counting some heavier braids that I use for Pike fishing. Oh, and Seaguar if you are reading this, would love to have a high-vis braid in the 15-20lb class! When you need the ultimate in sensitivity, braid is what you need. Last fall while fishing in Canada the bass were biting so lightly it was basically undetectable, until I picked up my rod with braid. I am certain I would not have caught nearly as many fish that day if I were not using braid. Because it is more visible it is best to use a fluoro leader, particularly in clear water, but I will tie direct in stained to muddy water. Just remember because it is basically zero stretch you may need to lighten your hookset or use a slightly softer rod.
15lb – tubes, senkos, jigs and jerkbaits for the ultimate in sensitivity
20lb – topwaters. Use a mono leader to help prevent the braid from tangling on the hooks
Again, keep in mind you may need to adjust to your fishing stye and comfort, but this is what I like to use. Hopefully this helps demystify all of the line options some if you had any questions. Please feel free to comment below, and follow along our fishing adventures on Facebook and Instagram!
See you on the water, Scott