Choosing line for Bass Part 1
One of the biggest challenges in bass fishing is knowing what bait to use, where and when. Further compounding the sometimes overwhelming options is knowing what line to use with each bait selection. Opinions vary and certainly my guide is not meant to be an end all to the conversation but it has served me well over the years. I hate losing fish, so much so I’d almost rather not get the bite; even when I fun fish I still lament lost fish. There are two big factors that contribute to lost fish, hook and line the later we will discuss in this series. Choosing a fishing line to me should be dictated by a couple factors not specific to the technique; the species you are after, the average size fish you expect to catch (not because I am scared of breaks but because of hook penetration) and the size and type of hook on the bait. To me the technique is a secondary factor and you can make adjustments in other areas to accommodate how the line effects the technique. I choose line type and size based on my much effort it will take to drive a hook and keep it penetrated during the ensuing fight to the boat or bank. Over the years my selection processes have changed because I have realized better tools for the application as my experiences dictated.
I’m going to break this into a series because it will be too much to read at once, so I will go over baits and techniques in chunks. But first, I want to take a look at and explain the three main categories of lines so we have a better understanding of their characteristics. Doing so helps to arm you with the base knowledge to make selections with.
Braid is the oldest of the line classes and probably the most misused. Breaking strength typically well exceeds pound test rating and the diameter is relatively small for the rating. This line has zero stretch, high abrasion resistance and zero absorption. Due the lack of absorption and material, it also is highly buoyant as well as opaque and highly visible underwater. . Because of its abrasion resistance, it is most used in areas with a lot of cover but that also means it’s put in situations it’s probably not best suited for. A wide range of materials make being selective important when choosing braid. One of the biggest plus’s to braid is the ability to leave it on the spool for a long length of time because it is not as susceptible to wear and tear and has zero memory.
Monofilament line is the most used and accessible of the line classes and second oldest coming after braid. It’s also the most inexpensive because the process of making it is the least costly. Monofilament is literally a single fiber of plastic in which the process of making it dictates color, size and tensile strength. Formulas have adapted over time to change properties to fit our advances in techniques, but largely mono is mono. Mono is great for budget friendly, every day fishing with most techniques especially if typically fishing shallow water. Mono comes in several colors so those with vision impairments can use high visibility monos and see the line. Hook tying is easy with mono because there are such a wide range of knots that work with mono and the heat generated by the knot does not adversely affect it. The drawbacks to mono is it’s stiffness which causes spool memory and it’s stretch, especially after it has absorbed water. Also mono does not have the abrasion resistance that braid or fluorocarbon has.
Fluorocarbon, the newest member of the team, though similar in appearance to mono has several different characteristics and advantages. This line is denser in physical properties but not appearance than mono, meaning it is largely transparent in the water. Also due to its density and hardness it sinks in the water and is more abrasion resistant. This line does not absorb water and most fluorocarbons do not have the inherent stretch that mono does. Over the years fluorocarbon has become wildly popular and the options are many when choosing the line at the store. A couple drawbacks to fluorocarbon however is there are applications that sinking line is not a plus and it does not hold up well to heat and sunlight. Great care should be taken when tying knots to avoid creating heat at the knot point. Due to its stiffness and lack of memory it can be difficult to manage on spinning reels. It is also the priciest line in the offerings making it less popular amongst other game species.
In the next installment, we will start looking at specific techniques and bait selections and how at assess lines choices for each.
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