Fishing line is arguably the single most important piece of equipment used by all fishermen. It plays a key role:
• in hooking fish
• in landing the fish
Nevertheless, most anglers remain confused and uneducated on the distinctive types of line that are available, and the special properties each type of fishing line exhibits. My hope is over the next few paragraphs; I can help you understand the pros and cons of the different products, so in the future you will choose the precise line for the right situations. More than anything I want to help you catch more fish!
Monofilament - “High Stretch” line
In 1938, DuPont announced the discovery of nylon, a "group of new synthetic super polymers" that could be made into textile fibers stronger and more elastic than cotton, silk, wool, or rayon. The following year, DuPont began commercial production of nylon monofilament fishing line. This new line, primitive by today's standards, didn't catch on immediately; older fishing lines, particularly braided Dacron, remained popular for the next two decades. In 1958, however, DuPont introduced Stren, a thinner line of more uniform quality that could be used for different types of reels, including newly introduced spinning and spincasting tackle. This line was quickly embraced by fishermen, and led to a boom in sportfishing popularity because it helped make fishing much easier.
Monofilament products to this day still remain popular, accounting for more than two-thirds of all fishing lines sold throughout the country. As the name suggests, this is a single-component product. It is formed through an extrusion process in which molten plastic is formed into a strand through a die. This process is relatively inexpensive, producing a less costly product. Cost is the number-one factor that monofilament line is so widely popular. Even so, it's important to remember that cheaper brands of monofilament usually don't receive the quality-control attention, additives and attention in the finishing process that premium-grade lines receive. As a result, they may not offer the tensile strength, limpness, abrasion resistance, and knot strength characteristic of more expensive monofilament fishing lines. In other words, you get what you pay for! Cheap off-brand mono usually doesn't perform as well as more expensive name brands, so "buyer beware." If you decide to use monofilament, test several name brands and stick with those you come to know and trust.
• What baits do you fish on monofilament
1. Deep Crankbaiting
2. Top water popping baits
4. Shallow-water crankbaits
• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:
Inexpensive: Bass Pro Shops Tourney Tough™ Monofilament Fishing Line
The Best: Seaguar SENSHI – World-Class Monofilament
Braided - “No Stretch” line
Before the discovery of nylon, braided Dacron was the most popular fishing line. Dacron possessed poor knot strength, low abrasion resistance and little stretch. So it was used much less after the superior nylon monofilaments were introduced. Today braided line maintains only a very small-market interest, but it does have its usages.
In the early 1990s, gel-spun and aramid fibers such as Spectra, Kevlar and Dyneema entered the fishing line market, creating a new category of braided lines often called "superlines" or "microfilaments." These synthetic fibers are thin and incredibly tough (more than 10 times stronger than steel). Individual fiber strands are joined through an intricate, time-consuming braiding process to produce ultrathin, super strong, sensitive, yet expensive lines. Anglers who experimented with early superlines were frustrated by low knot strength, backlashes, poor coloration and damaged equipment. To many of these disadvantages outweighed the benefits of strength, microdiameter, and ultra sensitivity considering the high cost of these products. Makers of superlines have made continual advances and improvements to the raw material fibers and the process that converts them into fishing line. Coloration, castability, and strength have all been improved, overcoming some early disadvantages.
Lures do dive to deeper depths and at a faster rate when connected to superlines. And because it's smaller in diameter, superline is less visible to fish than monofilament, and anglers can spool more line on their reels; this is a great advantage for the salt water fishing man. Superlines have little stretch, transmitting strikes instantly to the rod tip, thus providing more positive hook sets. Superlines also allow longer casts, making them ideal for shore-bound anglers. High break strength and low stretch permit better handling of big fish.
Saltwater anglers do use more of the braided superlines than fresh water fishermen. Sometimes, the line is used as a backing for mono, allowing anglers to utilize small reels while increasing line capacity. Many anglers prefer the softness of braid for vertical jigging and trolling. Superlines do require a Palomar knot for best results with a small drop of superglue on the actual knot. Put mono backing on your reel before spooling these lines to prevent it from slipping on the spool. Using a Uni knot to connect the braid to the monofilament is recommended.
Do not overfill reels with braided line. Overfilling creates loose strands after a cast and which will cause more backlashes. Fill them up to one-eighth inch from the spool rim.
• What type of baits do you fish with braid on?
1. Flipping heavy cover
2. Top water baits
3. Drop shotting
4. Carolina Rigs
• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:
Inexpensive: Spiderwire EZ Braid™ Line
Moderate: PowerPro Braided Spectra® Fiber Micro Filament Line
The Best: Seaguar Kanzen™ Braided Fishing Line
Fluorocarbon - “Low Stretch” line
Fluorocarbon is a polymer that's nearly invisible in water because it is a refractor to light. It is inert, so it resists deterioration by sunlight, gasoline, battery acid, or insect repellents. Fluor also doesn't absorb water.
Fluorocarbon fishing leaders originated in Japan, where anglers are very particular about their bait presentations. Japanese fisheries are heavy pressured; so lifelike bait presentations are extremely important. Most fluorocarbon lines are invisible under the water.
Lately, the popularity of the fluorocarbon line has landed in the U.S. with many anglers. Many of us started using fluorocarbon leaders, primarily in saltwater and fly fishing applications because of its low visibility. Sales currently have increased drastically because fishermen are catching more fish with it. The original fluorocarbon leaders were stiff and very expensive, but new technologies have produced more flexible fluorocarbon at more affordable prices.
Fluorocarbon certainly offers advantages in clear-water situations where fish are heavily pressured or slow to bite. Because fluorocarbon does not absorb water, it won't weaken or increase in stretch like a monofilament fishing line. Added density makes fluorocarbon very abrasion-resistant, so it's ideal for rough conditions, and makes it sink quicker than other styles of fishing lines. Lures do dive deeper and faster. Fluorocarbon line stretches slower and less than nylon, particularly when compared to wet nylon, and it's more sensitive.
Fluorocarbon lines, like superlines, require special attention. The Trilene knot is the best to use for this type of line. Make all 5 wraps when tying the knot, and excessively wet the line before cinching the knot to prevent line weakening. Always test the knot before fishing, because the knot is the weakest place in your line.
Fluorocarbons are still stiffer than nylon, even when they are wet. This requires more attentiveness to the line when casting. Heavier fluorocarbon line is made to be used on heavy rods, strong reels and big lures. Baitcasting reels may require additional adjustment for the extra momentum created by the larger weight of fluorocarbon. Adjust the brakes on the reel to the weight of the line to maximize casting distance and minimize professional overruns.
• What baits work best with Fluorocarbon?
1. Deep water jig
2. Shallow running crankbaits
3. Worm fishing
4. Spinnerbait fishing
• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:
Inexpensive: Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon
Moderate: Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series Fluorocarbon
The Best: Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon
Fishing line doesn’t last forever that is why you need to store it properly. Heat can have effects on fishing line, but studies have shown that light seems to do even more to break down fishing line. If at all possible, try to store all your fishing lines in a cool dark space. To me, the best place would be an interior closet in your house. That will prolong the fishing line life and keep it fishing like new line every time you go fishing.
No single type of line is perfect for all fishing conditions. To choose the best line, anglers should consider the size and species of fish being targeted, water type and conditions, the type of tackle being used, and other factors. Nevertheless, today more than ever, with the many types of lines available, it's important to devote time to studying each line and its characteristics so you will have the best for each fishing situation. By doing so, you'll improve your catch rate. And catching more fish, after all, is what we all hope to do.