Bass Fishing: Fishing Lines
In today's world of bass fishing there are 3 dominate types of line, monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braid or super lines. Each one has its strengths, and many of the pros insist on one kind for a given situation. But many fishermen prefer to use one kind of line for all situations. We will go over the characteristics of each kind of line and things you should consider when you are buying your next spool of line.
Line strength (test strength)
One of the things to look for when you are picking your line is the test strength. This is usually indicated in pounds, for instance 10lb test meaning the line can hold 10 pounds before it breaks. This is important to consider because the higher the test strength the wider the line is and the less you can fit on your reel. But if you pick a very low test line, if you hook a decent fish and the line may break if you or the fish pulls too hard.
Monofilament line (often referred to only as mono) is made from nylon, it is the most popular line used today. It is cheap, translucent and comes in a large array of test strengths. Since its made from nylon it stretches which many fishermen prefer so the line doesn't break as easily if the fish makes a big pull. Monofilament also floats which is great if you are trying to keep your lure near the surface. The downside is that mono with absorb water which can loosen your knots, and since it stretches it can be difficult to feel if a fish has taken your bait.
Fluorocarbon line is made from polymer and is nearly invisible when underwater. It is also very abrasion resistant, meaning it can slide over rocks and logs without fraying. Fluorocarbon also sinks, making it a good choice for fishing on the bottom because you will be able to use smaller weights. The stretch of this line is much less than mono so it is easier to feel a fish on your hook. Since the line is nearly invisible underwater, it has a great advantage in very clear water. The downside is that since fluorocarbon easily slides over rocks it can be difficult to get your knots to hold. When you buy fluorocarbon the manufacture will often have a knot that they recommend, and that is a good choice to start. It is also a very stiff line, which makes it difficult to spool on to your reel.
Braided or super lines are the newest kind of line to hit the market. It is by far the strongest of any fishing line reaching very high test strengths. There are small differences between braided and super lines and that is super lines often use a process to fuse together the smaller strains, often this is chemical or thermal process. While braids are simply woven together. These braided and super lines have very small diameters, for example a 15lb test braid may only have the diameter of a 2lb mono line. That means you can fit much more line on your reel. These lines also have no stretch so they are very sensitive and feeling fish. These lines are very often used when fishing through thick cover (thick grass, lily pads, etc) because in those situations you often need to wrestle the fish out of the cover and braided line is the best line for that job. Unfortunately braid does have some drawbacks. It is the most visible line underwater, it does come in a few different colors, but it is still the most visible. It is also the most expensive line and due to its toughness it can even damage the guides on a fishing rod (this is less of a problem with the new braids).
The last thing to think about is leaders. Leaders are a different kind of line that are tied between the lure and your main line. For example you may want to use braid to fish in heavy cover but the water is pretty clear. So a solution is to use a two foot leader of fluorocarbon so the fish don't see the braid attached to the lure.
There are many things to consider when you are shopping for your fishing line, when I first learned to fish I used braided line almost exclusively and even today it is still my favorite line. Some people will swear by fluorocarbon and others by mono. I recommend you test of the different lines and pick the one that gives you the most confidence.