Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fishing Lines : Part 1

Fishing line , something I love and also something I love to hate. Good line spooled correctly and taken care of is a joy to use. Bad line with lots of memory and twisted because of poor installation can ruin even the best day of fishing. Handling line can be frustrating at times , but with a little bit of effort and a few simple steps you can tame even the most twisted line.

There are many different kinds of fishing line. The manufacturers have tinkered with the formula for monofilament to produce some great lines and also introduced ultra clear fluorocarbon lines and high tech braided line. All of these lines have certain applications at which they excel , though there is a certain sacrifice involved when using a particular type of line.

A few notes about fishing line :
    * Pound test refers to the average breaking point of the line. This system is falling out of favor with many anglers because of the new super lines. Line diameter is becoming more important in the eyes of many.
    * Memory is a term used to describe how much a type of line tries to retain it's shape after being on a spool. The line " remembers " being wrapped around the spool and has coils in it from it's time on the spool. Higher quality lines usually have less memory.
    * Stretch is used in reference to how much a type of line will stretch during the hookset or when you are snagged. Some people prefer no stretch line and some prefer line with a little bit of give.

Basic monofilament is probably the most widely used type of fishing line. It is made by several different manufacturers and comes in several colors. It is available in high and low visibility colors and in pound sizes ranging from tiny trout fishing tippets to large saltwater trolling lines. Monofilament is generally cheaper than other types of line , and for this reason alone it is a staple of most fishermen's tackle boxes. Almost all of the common knots will work fine with mono and it's very easy to work with. It is a great all around line , but many don't like the memory and stretch of monofilament.

Fluorocarbon lines are a fairly recent innovation in fishing line. They are virtually invisible underwater and help when the fish have been pressured into being line shy. I have mainly used fluorocarbon as a leader , though there are some fishermen who use it as a main line. For me , fluorocarbon line seems to have too much memory and is prone to twisting. It can also be difficult to tie knots with , especially when it is cold. Like monofilament , fluorocarbon is available in a wide variety of sizes , but color choices are mainly limited to clear. Berkley Vanish is available in a tinted color to make it easier for the angler to see , but it is still supposed to be " invisible " to the fish. Fluorocarbon is great for conditions that dictate the use of nearly invisible line. Less stretch than mono , but more memory in my opinion.

The braided super lines take things to the next level. They are very tough with no stretch and resist abrasions that often ruin monofilament. They are also very sensitive , letting you feel every little nibble at the end of your line. What braided line gains in sensitivity and toughness it loses to visibility. Braided line is very visible to the fish , often making the use of a leader necessary. It also requires the use of certain knots because old standby's like the improved cinch knot simply will not hold with braided line. I love using it to fish lures , but I try not to use it any time when snags are possible. Some people are the opposite and like to use it to fish in heavy cover , but for me I like to be able to break my line if I'm stuck in an impossible snag. Breaking braided line can be hard on your rods/reels and also on your hands. Braided line is great for situations where you want the most solid hooksets and longer casts.

More on line later today or early tomorrow after I get a chance to take a few pictures. Feel free to post a comment about why you like or dislike any of the types of line discussed above.

Have a great day!


  1. In my many years of fishing, I have been all over the place with thoughts on different style lines. Like you say there are plus's and minus's with each. Depends on where and what your fishing for.
    I, primarily fish for trout and perch, bluegill. Mono lines seem to be where I have been the most successful.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Mel! I totally agree with you about needing to use the right line for the type of fishing you plan to do.

    Most of the time for trout and perch I use either 2 or 4 pound mono. I have used 6 at times , but it hurts the fishing.


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