By Mark A. Burks
Monofilament, super braids, fluorocarbons, copolymers. Back in the day (did I just say that?), choosing a fishing line came down to three choices: Stren, Berkley Trilene, or the cheap junk on the bottom shelf. Even back then, I stayed clear of that bottom shelf!
These days, there are over a dozen different manufacturers making several dozen types of lines, it’s enough to make one’s head spin! Don’t worry; I’m not going to go into THAT much detail. This week, I’ll just stick to some basics.
If you remove tournament anglers, guides, or extreme anglers from the mix, what you have is your weekend angler. The bread and butter for the line manufacturers, you’re the ones who actually keep them in business!
What I’m getting at is: you don’t have to rely on the same narrow set of choices anglers had to back in the day (there it is again). Not everyone fishes the same way, and not every angler needs the same properties from their lines. That’s why I’m focusing on monofilament and co polymers this week.
If you are primarily a bait angler, one who uses worms or crickets, then monofilament will suit your needs. It’s forgiving, and some companies even make fluorescent lines. The clear/blue lines from Stren, Berkley, or Sufix Elite react to UV rays from the sun, and will glow bright blue. Stained water is what the clear/blue lines were made for, the same goes for the salt.
If you’re favorite technique requires you to watch the line for any subtle twitch, this is your line. Stained water is what the clear/blue lines were made for, the same goes for salt water.
The primary disadvantage with any monofilament line is excessive line stretch, especially if you’re fishing plastic worms or grubs. These lure types require a bit of sensitivity in order to feel the strike, which can be very subtle in deeper water. If you happen to be fishing a crankbait, then the extra stretch will be to your benefit (some brands exhibit as much as 30% stretch).
The brands to look out for are Stren (Original, Magna-Thin, High Impact)…Berkley Trilene (XL, XT, Solutions, Sensation, Big Game)…Sufix (Elite, Siege, Pro Mix).
All the lines I just mentioned have quite a bit of stretch, with the exception of Berkley Solutions and Sufix Pro Mix. These are monofilament lines specially formulated to have less stretch than standard monofilament line. Remember, in order to get less stretch, you will give up easy handling and limpness…both trademarks of the standard monofilament lines.
Now, if you want even less stretch that the specialized monofilaments, I’d suggest a copolymer line. Monofilament and copolymer lines look the same, and feel the same. The difference is a copolymer line is formulated from two or more polymer/nylon resins, while monofilament has only one.
Copolymer line will give you less stretch then mono, but will be slightly stiffer. The brands to choose from are as follows: P-Line (CXX, CX Premium, Floroclear, Voltage)…Silver Thread (AN-40, Excalibur)…Vicious (Ultimate, X.A.C.T). The P-Line also features an added twist-they’re all fluorocarbon coated, making them even less visible in clear water, and to wary fish.
Here’s my advice on how to choose your fishing line….1) If you’re a multi species angler, going out on the weekends with the family, or fishing to get away and decompress from a hectic work week, or are primarily a “worm dunker”, go for the standard monofilament. You’ll experience fewer issues with your line. 2) If you’re a bit more serious (aka fanatical), or like to fish lures deeper than usual, opt for a copolymer. These will give you more advantages such as greater sensitivity, and in a few cases, decreased visibility. 3) If you’re a dad with youngsters on the bank, opt for the clear/blue monofilament. You’ll find them easier to keep track of where everyone’s line is located, and the kids will get a kick out of watching the glowing blue line take off when a fish swims off with the hook in its mouth!
Well, hopefully I didn’t get too complicated with this subject. Just imagine if I had added fluorocarbon and super braided line into the discussion! Be glad I didn’t, because I’d still be typing this up!