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What’s Your Line?

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Think about it! No other tool in your tackle box is more important than the fishing line you use. No other has also improved more dramatically over the past few years. Higher quality materials, advanced manufacturing processes and continuous improvement based on testing by pro anglers have made modern fishing lines stronger, smoother, tougher and more high-tech than ever before. Today’s new-generation of lines can be grouped into four types: monofilament, braided, fused and fluorocarbon. Each type offers its own benefits and advantages.
 
Monofilament
 
Monofilament lines are formed by extruding molten material such as nylon into a single strand. Mono lines are easy-handling and have larger diameters than other lines. They are also more buoyant, so spinnerbaits, poppers and frogs sink slower and stay closer to the surface, even on long casts. Early monofilaments, however, had high “memory,” meaning they tended to come off the reel in coils or loops after being stored for a long time. They also tended to weaken when exposed to heat and sunlight. Higher quality materials and advanced manufacturing processes have practically eliminated those problems. Today’s new-generation monofilaments are available in a wide variety of different colors, pound-test weights, and special formulas for different types of fishing and water conditions.
 
“No one offers more choice in quality monofilament line than Berkley,” says Mike Polus of Pure Fishing. “Trilene XL is an extremely versatile monofilament line that is good for a wide variety of baits and techniques”. Trilene XT is extra strong for fishing in heavy cover.
 
Big Cat has controlled shock absorbency for fighting big catfish. The high visibility solar green color lets you see the line more easily in muddy water and even glows at night under a black light. TransOptic has a special additive that absorbs sunlight, so you can see it above water but it becomes completely invisible under the surface.”

 
Braided
 
Braided lines, often called superlines or microfilaments, are made of multiple individual synthetic fiber strands joined together in an intricate, time-consuming braiding process. The result is a line that’s ultrathin, superstrong and extremely sensitive. In relation to its diameter, braided lines are the strongest. A 15 test-pound braided line, for example, may have the same diameter as a 4 test-pound mono line. The smaller diameter allows anglers to spool more line on reels. That’s a huge advantage for shore-bound anglers. Braided lines are engineered with less stretch, so they transmit strikes more quickly when fishing in deep water or slow trolling. More visible than mono lines, braided lines are available in a variety of float and sink rates. Look for one that offers the optimal performance for the type of fishing you do.
 
“Sufix 832 Advanced Superline™ changes the game,” says Matt Jensen of Rapala USA. “Unbeatable strength, fine diameter, and line consistency are the reasons Sufix 832 was selected Best New Line of 2011by Field & Stream. An advanced precision braiding process weaves together eight superstrong fibers, including one GORE® Performance Fiber, at a tight 32 weaves per inch. And because it’s both rounder and tighter, castability is amazing.”
 
Fused
 
Fused lines are also made of multiple individual synthetic fiber strands thermally fused or glued rather than woven together. Using more or fewer strands determines the pound-test. The thin diameter and strength of fused line makes it ideal for fishing in and around vegetation. Fused lines are more abrasion resistant than mono lines, but less abrasion resistant than braided lines. They often come in bright colors that you can see and watch jigs or plugs for bites. Choose a fused line when you need a slick, strong line that doesn’t have much stretch.
 
“Fused lines, like Berkley Fireline, deliver longer and more controllable casts than mono or braids of the same pound-test,” according to Mike Polus. “Low memory helps fused lines come off the reel faster and with less friction. The smaller diameter means it’s not affected as much by the wind. That improves both casting accuracy and lure control.” If visibility is an issue, Polus recommends tying on an 18- to 36-inch leader of low-vis monofilament or fluorocarbon.
 
Fluorocarbon
 
Fluorocarbon is a polymer made by bonding fluorine and carbon together. Fluorocarbon lines are water repellent and highly resistant to deterioration by sunlight. They are also nearly invisible in water, which makes them ideal in clear-water situations. Line diameter is typically the same as monofilament lines. . Fluorocarbon lines are very abrasion-resistant, so they are ideal for sub-surface fishing in heavy cover. They stretch slower than monofilament, so they’re more sensitive. They’re also denser, so lures dive deeper and faster.
 
“Vicious Pro Elite Fluorocarbon is great when pitching a worm or diving plugs in rocks or logs,” says Chris Armstrong of Vicious Fishing.”It’s tough, smooth and strong. Instead of an 8-10 pound mono, you can spool 12-15 pound Elite Fluorocarbon and go a lot deeper. This line also detects even the slightest of bites, so you’ll get more strikes and put more fish in the boat.”
 
Know More, Land More
 
Knowing the different types of line to use will help you catch and land more fish. Use the line that suites the conditions and style you fish. Remember to also respool at least one per season, or more often based on how frequently you fish.
 
Monofilament

  • Easy handling (easy casting, good on spinning and baitcasting reels)
  • Most versatile, special formulas available
  • Controlled stretch (more time to set the hook)
  • Most buoyant (great for topwater fishing)

 
Braided

  • Ultrathin (more line on the spool)
  • Superstrong (strongest in relation to diameter)
  • Abrasion resistant (great for heavy cover)
  • Low stretch (high sensitivity)
  • More visible than mono
  • Available in variety of float or sink rates

 
Fused

  • Thin diameter
  • Superstrong
  • More abrasion resistant than mono
  • Less abrasion resistant than braided

 
Fluorocarbon

  • Virtually invisible under water
  • Water repellent
  • Resists deterioration by sunlight
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Low stretch (high sensitivity)
  • High sink rate (lures dive deep and fast)

 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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