We have all stood in front of a shelf in retail store looking at all the different options; yellow, green and even invisible ones.
The packaging becomes even more overwhelming because every box is better than the one next to it and offers so much more than last year’s model. Feels like we are buying cars. As you walk down the shelf you read the different descriptions and advantages and notice the price differences between the seemingly same products. Well, there are differences and it may not be what you expect. (No brands or labels will be discussed in this article because it is not the point of all of this.)
The application normally determines the choice of “string” or fishing line we will be buying, but this has been discussed at length, to death. Let’s just speak about application, for a little bit as a refresher and then never again.
For cranking – it was always believed that monofilament or copolymer was the best option.
For top water action – same thing … mono or copolymer.
For soft plastic worming – the belief was always that fluorocarbon was the one for that job.
Braid – never sure whether if it was best for top water action or awesome for worming.
Well, time to explain some things about fishing line to keep in mind when buying or choosing the best line to use. The most important things about lines are trust and feel. Think about it; if it does not feel right on your reel you don’t feel comfortable in casting.
Spinning reels (coffee grinders)
Choosing a line that does not drive you into the cooler box to find your inner peace. Why do we always get a line that twists and never gives you the distance you are after? There are many reasons for all of this.
Spinning reels work best with 10lb line or lighter and in saying that, the box or packaging, becomes important. In the world of line manufacturing, Japan normally produces a very high quality line and normally comes at a different price as well. The advantage of this is that you could probably get away with casting a 7lb line instead of a heavier 10lb line… distance sorted.
A higher quality line comes of the spool easier because they tend to be rounder in shape and lies better on the spool of your reel. In other words it does not flatten out and will give extended life span which improves the affordability of sometimes more expensive lines.
Bait casting reels
These reels initially were developed to cast a heavier line without all the line twists because spinning reels just could not do the job. Unfortunately bass do not lie in open water with no structure so heavier line was a necessity. Control and accuracy was a by product of all this development.
So many times I have seen somebody spend thousands of Rands on a reasonable rod and reel combination but then try to go as cheap as possible on line. This will only lead to frustration.
Now let’s get to the technical stuff that will hopefully help understand what line is and where it can fit into your fishing arsenal. (Ware has a specific gravity of one – as a unit of measure)
Monofilament or copolymer
These two normally have a specific gravity in the range of 1.2 to 1.24. This means that it is slightly heavier than water. In other words the line would float and stay in the top part of the body of water in front of you. So think of casting a soft plastic worm at a tree. The first movement of that plastic will be in an upwards direction because your line is still fighting its way down. This could be removing bait out of the zone and reduces chances for that much needed bite. So, if casting monofilament or copolymer on a Mojo-, Texas- or even weightless rig, just be very slow in moving the bait for the first time.
Another interesting fact is that this line can stretch up to 14%. Think about a 30m cast… this could be a stretch of 4.2 meter. How many times have you set a hook and before you start winding that monster in, he is off? We then blame the hooks, rod and even the position of Mars in relation to the jetty we are casting at. Meanwhile, our line had something to do with it.
A good quality fluorocarbon normally stretches between 7 to 9% and has a specific gravity of 1.75. This means a better sinking line with much more sensitivity because of less stretch. This line does have a harder feel to it because the composition inside is different.
Tournament anglers flocked to this line because for so many years they believed that it was invisible under water and fish rate was picking up. The fish rate was picking up because the bait was presented more effectively in the zone. Instead of going up and out of the zone it was now being dragged through the zone for a longer period of time; obviously leading to more fish.
Be honest, does your fluorocarbon really disappears under water?
Braid has a specific gravity of 1.15 and is the real floater in the pack. The advantages of this line are different but used in the right applications it can be very effective. With almost no stretch and a very direct feel with low diameter it can be used in many applications. There has been for many years a need for something strong and thin enough to go onto a spinning reel and braid was born.
The strange part of all of this is that nylon based lines, like monofilament, copolymer and fluorocarbon, have many enemies which we need to keep in mind. The worst things for lines are UV-rays and water.
I trust that this insight on fishing lines will help readers buy and use the best string in the right way.
Written By Colin Wilmer