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What fishing line should I use?

The million dollar question!

Putting fishing line on your reel, used to be a simple task that required only one or maybe two questions, 1) what lb. test and 2) what color?  Well those days are gone, as anglers we now have choices in the categories of monofilamentFluorocarbon and braided lines.  Once you get the proper understanding of what each type of fishing line offers, you’ll be able to properly select the fishing line for your given application and in the end be more successful as an angler.

Monofilament fishing lines is what we all began using as anglers when we were at a young age and why not, it is not very expensive and casts well.   Well now a days the applications in which I rely on mono is limited to fishing my topwater plugs on Seaguar Senshi in 15 lb. test and an occasionally shallow running crankbait on that same line.

Why I still use mono for these lures is that mono floats, so it is an excellent choice for topwater plugs.  There is also a good amount of stretch in a monofilament fishing line, so when fishing baits with treble hooks or spinnerbaits it helps you keep the fish hooked up, because the line will stretch when the fish makes a run so the hooks won’t pull out of the fish’s mouth.

The introduction of the Fluorocarbon fishing line has changed the way that anglers use and rely on their fishing line to target fish, from panfish to bass to walleye.  The initial glory that anglers were seeking to receive by using a Fluorocarbon fishing line was that it is invisible underwater, this would allow anglers to use a higher lb. test line and yet the fish wouldn’t see it.  This property also caught the attention of anglers who were fishing bodies of water that had clean water and fish that were alerted to lures by the fishing line.

Why you may ask is Fluorocarbon so popular now among anglers and how does it differ from a regular monofilament fishing line?  Well Fluorocarbon fishing lines are low stretch, meaning when you set the hook, it is going to drive the hook into a fish’s mouth.  As I mentioned above, this line is not seen underwater so it will not differ the number of bites an angler will get.  Lastly, Fluorocarbon is a very abrasion resistant line and can be fished around heavy cover and not get as nicked up as other fishing lines.

Some of the key applications in which I spool of my Wright & McGill Victory reels with Fluorocarbon line are techniques in which I need solid hook sets and high abrasion resistance.  When I’m flipping around docks, wood or rocks I’ll typically use 20 lb. test., compared to 15 lb. test when I’m dragging a Carolina-rig or football head jig.

Unlike using monofilament for shallow crankbaits, I’ll use Fluorocarbon line when I’m using deep diving crankbaits.  This is because Fluorocarbon line sinks and I’m able to achieve greater running depths with my crankbaits.

Casting applications are not the only time Fluorocarbon will shine; I also spool up 10 lb. test on my spinning reels when drop shoting or when fishing shaky heads.

For a few years there, braided line was the end all be all fishing line for some anglers, they loved the idea that you could use 8 lb. test line, but it would only have the diameter of 2 lb. fishing line.  This is one of the primary facets of why anglers use braided line.  The two other key reasons on why, including myself spool braided line, like the new Seaguar Kanzen Braided Fishing Line is that there is no stretch and it is extremely abrasion resistant.

I use braided line for three key presentations and all of them have one thing in common, vegetation.  When fishing around vegetation, braided line will actually cut through the vegetation as you are bringing a fish to the boat, thus decreasing the chance of it getting hung up.

When throwing a swimming jig around vegetation I’ll use 30 lb. test and then when I’m fishing frogs in the slop or flipping jigs into heavy milfoil or coontail I’ll use 60 lb. test.  For all these fishing situations an angler needs a line with no stretch and extreme toughness, thus why braided line is the way to go.

Now that you’ve got the information to navigate through the fishing line aisle at your favorite fishing tackle store, you can select the correct line to meet your fishing needs and be even more successful as an angler.

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos. He keeps busy fishing events across Minnesota and on the Mississippi River. Glenn's sponsors include: Ducky, Humminbird, Jeff Belzer Chevrolet, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Onyx, Plano, Rayjus, RC Tackle, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Zoom. For more information check out glennwalkerfishing.com or follow along on his Facebook Page: Glenn Walker Fishing