Selecting the right line is not as simple as you’d expect

2013-04-27 00:00

GOING to a fishing store is as exciting as it is daunting. For most anglers, the array of multicoloured lures is enough to stop us in our tracks. The rows upon rows of soft plastics often provide such distraction that we don’t give much thought to the basics of hooks, line and sinkers. After all, isn’t one spool of line pretty much the same as the next?

Unfortunately, selecting line is not quite that simple. Many hobbyist anglers are unaware that there are subtle differences between the different types of line. As a result, anglers often end up using the same type of line on all their rods, regardless of what type of fishing they do. This is most certainly a mistake. There is no one type of line that is suitable to all conditions.

All line has properties pertaining to the diameter, abrasion, resistance, sensitivity, memory, stretch, colour and breaking strength. Anglers should determine what techniques they will be using and what conditions they will be fishing in before making an educated choice as to which of the three types of line they should use: monofilament, braid or fluorocarbon. In order to do this successfully, anglers must first familiarise themselves with the different characteristics of the different types of line.

All manufacturers make claims about the superiority of their line over all others. If you were to go on their word alone, the marketing agents would have you believe that you needn’t invest in anything more than a spool of their 15 lb line. Forget fishing, their golden thread would deliver you a castle and a crown.

Before venturing out to your local fishing store, try to think about it like this — monofilament is the guy that everybody knows. He is always up for a party, likes to go to gym and is a great wingman. Monofilament is a great day-to-day fishing line. It offers easy handling, high stretch and it floats, making it perfect for top-water fishing. Remember that for every positive angle that a marketer uses to sell you his or her line, there are other negative aspects to consider. So while high stretch is great for absorbing shock, it also means that the line may be more abrasive and thus more likely to snap. When purchasing monofilament, you really get what you pay for, so try to get the best line that you can afford. You don’t want to kick yourself for dropping a whopper just because you were too snoep to spend that extra hundred bucks.

Braid, on the other hand, is an entirely different sort of fellow. He is the hunting, camping, multitool- wielding outdoorsman. He works hard, can always be relied upon to see you out of a tricky situation, but he likes to hold a grudge. Braid is remarkably strong and is fantastic for setting your hook. It is often used when calling barbel, because you can lift them out of even the densest cover and your line won’t snap. Due to its low stretch, you are guaranteed to feel every bit of action going on at the end of your line, but remember that its unforgiving nature can snap a stiff rod if used incorrectly. Unfortunately, braid is highly visible, so fish are able to see it.

Flourocarbon is the guy sitting quietly in the corner brooding over his beer. He is the invisible man. When he says something, you pay attention. Flourocarbon is similar to monofilament in that it is made up of a single strand of line. Its claim to fame is that it is invisible in water, which means that fish are unable to see it. It can thus be used with great success as a leader. It is very tough and holds up well against structure, and, because it is a sinking line, it is fantastic for cranking. Flourocarbon has a long memory, so best not to use it on your spinning reels.

Doing some pre-fishing planning to analyse which conditions you will be fishing in could make the difference between getting a bite and landing a fish. So take the time to determine which line is best suited to your needs.

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