LeBlanc: Trying to find the right fishing line can be a challenge

An angler can walk down the fishing line aisle of any tackle shop and instantly become totally confused and possibly end up walking away empty handed, babbling, or just throw up his hands, grab a spool, and walking away hoping for the best. Not only are there many different brands, but the number of different products within a brand name can truly baffle the average person who wants to go fishing. So let me offer a few facts that may help with the line search.

Basically there are three basic types of line that most anglers use: braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon. Today, I will stick with monofilament as that can be confusing enough for one offering. To identify which is the best one to pick is like asking which is the best shotgun, it all depends on the intended use, what the angler is use to, what rod and reel are to be used, and any built in prejudices that have grown to be conceived as fact in the mind of the user.

A term that one will often hear mentioned when speaking of monofilament is memory. Memory is the curl that monofilament line will get in it when it is left on a roll whether on the factory spool or on a reel. If anyone ever tells you that a given monofilament line has no memory, you need to look at them with the same expression you would give someone trying to sell you the bridge over the Neches River at Port Arthur. What most anglers want in a monofilament line is as little memory as they can endure.

All monofilament line will adopt a memory on the spool from the manufacturer. If severe enough, some of that memory will stay with the line when it is transferred to a reel. Then as the reel sits in the heat with the line wound tightly it will adopt more annoying memory. In a cheap line the resulting memories can be a contributor to all kind of annoyances such as slack line curling over the rod tip.

Let me point out one important fact here, a backlash is an operator malfunction not a function of anything else. It can be caused by wrong tension adjustment or a couple other items that the angler has control over including inexperience. Now anyone can get a backlash, but the more you use a rod and reel the less that will occur. If you all of a sudden start to get a multitude of backlashes on a bait casting reel after you have recently changed line, memory may be a contributor.

Sufix line has been around for about a half century and they have started to spool their monofilament on larger spools so it will lie more smoothly and therefore create less memory while sitting on the shelf. Also they are claiming a formulation that helps to keep the annoyance to a minimum.

To farther confuse the issue there are many colors of monofilament line. Just about everyone who is supposed to know about line will tell you that it makes not one bit of difference as to what color line one uses. The color is for the angler and not the fish. I have heard a few folks say if they are going to use a bright red or orange line they like to put a leader on it, but the manufacturers tell me it makes no difference to the fish.

Where colored line comes in handy, for instance, is when you are crappie fishing the crappie will sometime come up from under your bait to take it and you will feel no tug as the bait is raising and line becomes slack. If you are watching your line, you can see it as it goes slack more easily with a brightly colored line and can react to set the hook.

As far as the strength of the line that depends on the rod and reel you are using, what fish you are going after, and how accomplished you are at not getting in a hurry to land a fish. A long time fishing guide once told me he had a lot of fun using ultralite tackle and four pound test line. He once caught a six pound bass on that rig and has also caught hybrids on that setup. If you give that a try be prepared to use a light drag and when you hook a fish you had better have packed a lantern and a lunch, because you are going to be playing it for a while.

Many bass anglers use 20 pound test line, especially in a tournament when you do not have time to mess around, but get them landed and weighed. Others use 10 or 12 pound test line as they can get more action out of lures with a lighter line.

If you are using a Zebco 33 spincast reel, a 10 pound test line is recommended, at least that is what is on the side of the one I have. My bait casting reels tell me how many yards/meters of numerous given size lines are recommended.

So don’t get too uptight about lines. The first place to look is in the instruction manual or somewhere on your reel and you will normally find all you need to know about which line to choose.

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