Fishing line tips, tricks

Over the last couple of months, I’ve done a lot seminars at boat and sport shows from Toronto to Minneapolis to Winnipeg.
During these seminars, I spend a lot of time talking about many of my experiences as a guide and some of the common mistakes people make when they come fishing with me.
I’ve spent more time talking about fishing line and some of the different types of line than anything else because I don’t think most folks realize how important fishing line is—and when to choose the best type of line for each situation.
Fishing line is the key in having a successful day on the water because it is your most important link to the fish. You would not believe how many people come fishing with me and they show up with five-year-old line on their reel.
The line has so much memory that they cannot cast 20 feet, and is so rotten they likely won’t even be able to land a fish should they hook up.
Fishing line should be changed regularly, and at the very least at the start of each new season.
There are three main types of fishing line that are common among anglers. and each have a time and place when they are most effective. The first is traditional monofilament which has been around for many years.
In recent years, two other types of line have become popular among anglers for many freshwater fishing applications: fluorocarbon and braided.
Braided line is really unique because you can get a really strong line in a thin diameter.
It also has zero stretch, so it really magnifies the “feel” an angler has with their lure. The zero stretch thing also is beneficial if you are fishing deep water or fishing with techniques that involve having out a lot of line because you will get really solid hooksets a long way from the boat.
An example of this would be fishing lake trout in deep water. You will feel bites and get a much better hookset with braid than with monofilament.
The disadvantage to braided line is it is more visible in the water, so what I do is tie on a six-foot fluorocarbon leader so I have an invisible link to my lure.
You also want to use a longer, softer fishing rod with braid to provide some added shock-absorption, as well as to help prevent hooks from tearing out because the line does not stretch.
Fluorocarbon is unique in that it virtually disappears underwater. It also is very abrasion resistant, so it is tough.
As well, it sinks much quicker than monofilament, which is advantageous for some presentations, specifically when fishing jerkbaits for bass. This line actually will make your lure run a little bit deeper, which can help put a couple more fish in the boat.
Many folks use fluorocarbon if they are fishing really clear water where fish may be able to see your line. It also is popular on the Great Lakes, where the bottom is covered in zebra mussels that just destroy regular fishing line.
The disadvantage to fluorocarbon is that is it stiffer than monofilament, so it is not as easy to handle on a spinning reel. It tends to “jump” off the spool a little more and this can cause problems.
I mentioned earlier that I like to use fluorocarbon as leader line because it is so tough. I use a J-Knot to connect the six-foot leader to the braided main line (you can look up this knot on the Internet).
Finally, traditional monofilament is unique in that it has a significant amount of stretch (up to 30 percent in some brands). Mono handles a lot better on most reels, and it is cheap and easy to replace.
I like to use monofilament for fishing hard-bodied baits with treble hooks because the stretch prevents hooks from tearing out as easily.
It is a big misconception people have that these treble-hooked baits hook fish better, but treble hooks usually are small. So, in fact, I would much rather hook a big fish on a stout single hook like a jig.

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