When it comes to your equipment it’s hard to rank anything higher than your fishing line. Your line is not only your connection with the fish, but also a huge factor in the way your lure performs. The line plays a critical role in hooking the fish, fighting the fish, and hopefully landing the fish.
There are three main types of fishing line, and each has strengths and weaknesses within the sport of bass fishing. Selecting the best fishing line is a matter of carefully considering and balancing all the characteristics that each type of line offers. This balancing act is comprised of different measures of the following specifications and characteristics.
- Tensile strength (pound-test)
- Abrasion resistance
The key is figuring out which of these characteristics are most important for the lures and techniques you’re fishing. And conversely, which of them is not as important. This is because usually, as one characteristic increases another decreases.
For example, as a line’s diameter increases, so too does it’s breaking strength. Which is good for obvious reasons, but at the same time the line’s visibility is also increasing. This is where you have to consider water clarity to decide which is more important, strength or stealth?
Finesse fishing clear water is a perfect example of when you would sacrifice line strength for low visibility. But if you’re flipping a jig into heavily weeded areas then you are going to have to sacrifice some stealth for stronger line. At the same time you don’t want to overdo it, it’s all about zeroing in on the perfect combination.
Types of Fishing Line
There are three main types of fishing line used in bass fishing: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braid. Each one has a certain measure of each the characteristics listed above. We’re going to go through the three types and get a better understanding of where they excel and where they falter.
Starting with monofilament (mono for short) because of how often it’s used in bass fishing. This is the “standard” fishing line that everyone is most likely familiar with. Nowadays, the other two line types can be a better choice for certain lures, but mono will always have an important role to play in the world of bass fishing.
The two most important things to remember about monofilament is that it floats and it has the most stretch. The floating attribute makes mono the best line for fishing topwater lures. The stretch makes it work well with rods that have some backbone to them, but also makes it the least sensitive of all the lines.
- Most stretch
- Most buoyant
- Most abrasion resistant
- Low visibility
- Lowest sensitivity
For more info visit the Monofilament page
Probably best known for being the least visible of the three is fluorocarbon (fluoro for short). Fluoro came out many years after mono and gained huge popularity because of its two biggest attributes; it sinks and its low visibility. It’s sinking ability makes it the best line for diving lures like crankbaits.
The biggest downside of fluorocarbon is how unmanageable it can be. It’s very wiry and can be hard to control, especially right off the spool. This makes fluoro a poor choice for spinning reels, and better suited for baitcasters. But once the line has been stretched out through usage it becomes much more manageable.
- Less stretch than mono, more than braid
- Lowest visibility
- Least buoyant
- Good sensitivity
- Least manageable
For more info visit the Fluorocarbon page
The strongest of the three lines is braided line, as far as breaking strength goes anyway. Most anglers assume that it has the highest abrasive strength too and are surprised to find just the opposite. When braid is rubbed against sharp rocks it actually breaks easier than mono and fluoro would.
The main advantage of braid is the amount of tensile strength you can achieve at such a small diameter. This gives you the ability to make long casts while having as much as sixty pounds of strength. Braid also has zero stretch so you can set the hook on those long casts, and makes it ideal for certain techniques like punching or frogging.
- Strongest breaking strength
- Lowest stretch
- Most visibility
- Very manageable
- Highest sensitivity
For more info visit the Braid page
Choosing The Best Fishing Line
Choosing fishing line mainly comes down to what lures you’re planning to fish with it. Bass lures simply perform better when fished with the right line. That goes for the presentation, as well as the effectiveness of the hookset.
The chart below is designed to help you select a line for the lures you’re looking to fish. In some cases, more than one line type will work with a specific lure or technique and it’s just a matter of personal preference.
|Deep Diving Crankbaits|
|Walk The Dog Baits|
|Small Rubber Worms|
|Big Rubber Worms|
But before you select a fishing line make sure you check the recommended line specifications on the reel you plan to spool it on. All bass fishing reels will have their recommended line size and spool capacity printed right on the reel.
Same goes for bass rods, the recommended line size range will be listed somewhere near the handle of the rod. But the line type is also a very important thing to consider when pairing it with a rod because of stretch factor. This is when the power rating on the rod needs to be factored in to the decision.
You don’t want a line with a ton of stretch paired with a low powered rod, or you won’t have enough power to set the hook. And vice versa, you don’t want an overpowered rod either, especially when fishing lures with treble hooks. The key is to have the rod and line compliment each other so you have the perfect balance.
Line Stretch Factor
It’s important to understand the amount of stretch that comes with using certain lines. Too much or too little stretch between you and the fish can cause you to lose the fish. Or equally as bad, not even hook up with the fish in the first place.
The first thing to realize is that the higher the breaking strength the line has, the less stretch it will have. So a 25 pound-test line is going to have less give than a 10 pound-test line. It’s an important thing to remember when pairing the line with the rod you intend to use. You need the rod to have the right amount of power to work well with the line.
For example if you are using 10 pound-test monofilament on a light-power rod you are going to have a ton of stretch between you and the hook. If you were fishing a weedless rubber worm the chances of that hook penetrating the mouth of the bass is substantially lower with that much stretch.
Think about how much power is lost with mono because of the stretch when setting the hook. So if you need a low pound-test line, for low visibility in clear water for example, then you would want a rod with more power. The key is balancing the pound-test rating of the line with the power rating of the rod.