Arguably the most critical link between the angler and the fish is; fishing line. It makes sense to invest in the best line available especially for a once in a lifetime trip or competition where money is on the line (literally). But what is the single “BEST” line available to fisherman? This is a question that is frequently asked of me and my answer is; “any of them”. But there are numerous companies that offer different products at different price ranges, how can one narrow it down? Aside from brand, you should always consider the fishing conditions. There are many different line “materials” available to anglers today and one may be better suited for a specific situation than another. In this post I will cover the popular forms of fishing line and when each should be used.
There are many kinds of fishing line, but the three most popular among bass anglers are, braid, mono and fluorocarbon. These three lines will cover any technique you may use when bass fishing. I consider three variables when choosing what line and what size to fish; cover, presentation, and visibility. Cover, will determine how durable my line must be to efficiently catch fish. Presentation; how will line type and size affect the action of my bait or my ability to present the lure to the fish. Lastly, how visible is my line to the fish and will it affect their willingness to bite my lure? Let’s take a look at each type of line and how it behaves under each condition.
Braid: braided line is a combination of filaments, “braided” together they create a very tough material. Braid has no stretch and is very thin in diameter compared to other lines of its strength. For example; 8lb braid may have a diameter equivalent to that of 2lb monofilament. Also, braid has a “thread-like” appearance that is very visible underwater. This makes a very thin, durable material that does not stretch.
- Cover: Braid excels in heavy cover, like aquatic vegetation, due to its durability.
- Presentation: As a general rule of thumb, braid will cast better than other lines because of its thinner diameter and lack of stretch. This also allows more bait action, the ability to reach deeper depths and increases sensitivity.
- Visibility: Braid is very visible and may not be a good option in clear water or open water unless paired with a “leader” line of a different material.
Monofilament: “Mono”, meaning “one” piece, has been around for a long time and is the standard measurement for most line capacity limits. Mono can be clear or even green in color and has a lot of “stretch”.
- Cover: Mono does not hold up as well to abrasions and has too much stretch to pull fish from thick cover.
- Presentation: Mono is known for its ability to stretch. This is a necessary capability when fishing moving baits. Without stretch, an angler could snatch the bait away before the fish eats it or even pull hooks free. Mono also floats making it a good option for top water baits.
- Visibility: Mono can be clear, green, red or even “chameleon” and is much less visible than braid.
Fluorocarbon: “Fluoro” is an ultra-clear material that is nearly invisible under water. It has very little stretch and holds up very well to abrasions. Most of my fishing is done with fluoro because it is incredibly versatile.
- Cover: Fluorocarbon is very abrasion resistant and holds up well in wood or brushy type cover.
- Presentation: Fluoro has very little stretch making it a more sensitive option than mono. It also sinks in water which may help achieve greater depths, but is not ideal for surface lures.
- Visibility: Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water and is the best option in clear water. I often use fluorocarbon as a leader material to braid in clear water conditions.
Finding the best line can be confusing at times. Think of the three variables when choosing what line to use (cover, presentation and visibility). Each play a part in every fishing technique, the best line for you should optimize the most important variables under the given conditions. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you next time you’re on the water.