How to choose the best fishing line based on bass fishing conditions
My last post on spinnerbait fishing, seems to have triggered a lot of email questions on the best fishing line to use; so today I'm going to try to address some of those questions.
How to Choose the Best Line Size
The right line size to use depends on fishing conditions. In general I like to spool my reels with the largest strongest line that I can get away with.
Water clarity and line visibility are the first factors to consider when choosing line size. The more clear the water, the easier it is for the fish to see the fishing line and be spooked by it. If you fish stained or dark colored water heavy fishing line may be best.
The Best Line For Clear Water
When fishing very clear water such as found on most deep highland reservoirs and using slow moving finesse baits such as plastic worms jigs, or dropshot riggs, I often go down to line as small as 8 lb test; sometimes even 6 lb if not in heavy cover. I have experimented a lot with the best fishing lines over the years and I have come to the definite conclusion that It doesn’t seem to matter as much with faster moving reaction type lures but overall in clear water, the smaller the line size the more bites I get.
Some anglers seem to be programmed to believe that it's just impossible to pull big bass out of heavy cover unless you use big, heavy fishing line. This simply is not true. That being said, when conditions call for the use of light line sizes, there are a few ways to help compensate for the light line.
1. Use tough abrasion resistant line. One of the best fishing lines I've used for this situation is Berkley Trilene XT (extra tough) this fishing line has a very tough coating on it that resists abrasion when fishing in heavy cover. Just for the record I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Berkley.
2. Always keep the drag on your reel set light enough to compensate for light line. The drag is what makes it possible to land big bass on light line. Even the best fishing line in the world is going to break on a big fish if your reels drag doesn’t do its job.
3. Check the line for nicks or damage by sliding it through your fingers , from the lure 6 feet up the fishing line every 10 casts. If you feel any roughness or nicks in the line cut it off and re-tie above the damage. One small nick in your fishing line can be the difference in landing a big bass or losing it.
The Best Type Of Fishing Line
Even with all the advanced fishing line technology today, monofilament fishing line is still one of the best fishing line choices; and still used by most bass anglers in most fishing conditions today. Three factors are the reason for this. Low visibility, strength, and it's lower cost than most of the new high tech lines.
Mono line has a higher stretch factor than most of the new line types. Stretch in fishing line does take away some of it's sensitivity; however stretch is not always a bad thing. mono with its high stretch can be much more forgiving for mistakes; such as a reel drag set to tight or a bad hook set when a big bass is on the line. For most all round fishing situations Monofilament is my personal choice for the best fishing line.
Braid is one of the hottest new line technologies on the market today. This type of line is extremely strong with very small diameter. Braid is one of the best choices for heavy cover in stained or dirty water conditions. With its high strength small diameter it can also be very good in relatively clear water.
Braided line has no stretch at all, making it very sensitive; this is one of the best lines for fishing finesse style baits in vegetation. In my personal experience, the biggest drawback with most braided line is, I have found it to be far from the best line for heavy wood cover because of it's low resistance to abrasion.
Fluorocarbon line is one of the best new fishing line technologies that has been introduced in many years; especially for clear water fishing conditions. This line becomes almost invisible in the water. It has great abrasion resistance, good strength, low stretch and is in my opinion and experience, the best fishing line available for fishing any type of cover in clear water. The only drawback to fluorocarbon is the price. It cost is on average about 50% more than mono.
The Best Fishing line Color
Line color, like lure color is a big controversial subject. Many anglers these days swear red fishing line is best; others, myself included, don't buy into the theory that red line is less visible under water than other color lines. I've experimented with red line, and have found it to be neither an advantage or disadvantage over clear line. My thought on the subject is, if the color red is so invisible under water, then why are red colors on lures and hooks marketed as being so effective?
When it comes to fishing line color, my goal is to keep my line as invisible to the bass as possible. So I match my line to the color water that I fish. i.e. green water green line clear water clear line. Dirty water doesn't seem to matter much.
Now that being said, hopefully this will help you with line selection based on conditions. However I have my own ways of doing things that work for my bass fishing. This doesn't mean that my ways are best for your particular fishing conditions on your water; and I encourage you to keep an open mind and experiment to find the best fishing line for you, in your waters.
Until Next Time