Remember when you were younger and you wanted to head out for a day of fishing? You thought little of the tools you were using, you cared was that there was line in your reel, a rod in your hand, that tiny two-tray tackle box and your best friend (your dog) at your side. Add a couple of sinkers and hooks and you were in business. It didn’t matter to you what kind of line you had, as long as you had some you knew that you’d have the best fish regardless of their size or type. Most fishermen have long outgrown this notion and have a stash of tackle, rods, reels and every type of filament tucked away ready to pull out at a moment’s notice for a day of fishing.
Today’s tackle industry offers a wide variety of fishing line types. For most mainstream fishing needs (such as freshwater, offshore, and saltwater), there are three basic categories of fishing lines: monofilament, fluorocarbon and braided. Each serves a unique purpose and has its own exclusive characteristics.
Monofilament line is perhaps the most used – simply put, it’s the least expensive, it’s readily available and it’s sufficient for most type of fishing. Monofilament offers pliability which can be a great benefit. If you have a fighter on your line that simply doesn’t want to be caught, monofilament is strong and has enough give to allow you to reel him in.
The biggest problem with monofilament line is that it tends to spiral off of the spool while you cast, and the springy coils caused by this “memory” turn into knots and similar negative effects. The stretch can also be a problem, especially when you are trying to pull a largemouth bass from thick weeds, or trying to keep a big striper from ducking between rocks and getting away.
Some of the issues with monofilament line can be avoided by switching to a braided line – though braided lines have their own issues. One of the most significant pitfalls to the braided line is its visibility. Braided line is best if used with a low or non-visibility leader or the fish will have too much warning! One of the best things about braided line is unlike its cousin the monofilament line it doesn’t have a great memory and is far less likely to develop knots as a result of coils and kinks. Another great thing about braided line is that it is very thin and also very strong. An eight pound monofilament line is about the same diameter as a thirty pound braided line – and it is great for fishing for small mouth bass or trout. Due to braided lines low abrasion resistance it is not the best line if you’re going to be fishing in an area that will cause your line to rub a great deal.
Initial marketing efforts of fluorocarbon lines were challenging – many anglers felt that its rigidity made spooling a challenge and that casting was problematic. Once fluorocarbon lines were enhanced, many fishermen discovered that this now popular line solved more problems than it caused. The fluorocarbon line is nearly invisible underwater which makes it perfect for those shallow waters and is also effective in deep water that’s clear. Many elect to create their leaders from fluorocarbons because it is highly abrasion resistant.
Each kind of line available today is a different tool for you to use to make fishing easier. When used correctly, each will help you catch more fish too. So, I suppose that fishing was much simpler when I was a kid, but then again so was my overall familiarity and knowledge of fishing. I could have probably continued to fish in that simple manner, but the desire to learn and catch bigger and better fish reeled me in. As I fished and began to learn more and more about fishing, I discovered the advantages of choosing the right line, lure color, etc. Fishing may not seem as simple as it once did, but I sure am glad that I understand how to utilize the tools that are available. They have certainly helped me add fish to my freezer.