Match your line to the conditions when searching for walleyes

The challenge facing any angler today is not so much deciding which type of cover to fish, but rather, which type of line to use. Regular monofilament with stretch? Braided line without stretch? A fusion line with a little stretch but thinner diameter? Maybe even a combination, such as a braided line with a virtually invisible fluorocarbon leader? What color the water is may also determine what color your line is as well as tensile strength.
The way I choose the line to fish with on a day to day basis has to do with the technique that I will be using for the day. Just a few years ago there were only two or three major manufacturers of fishing line, and all that was available was nylon monofilament. We chose line almost entirely by its pound test rating. If you were fishing heavy cover you chose a higher pound test because the line diameter was larger; but if you were finesse fishing with small lures you chose a lighter pound test because that line had a smaller diameter.
Today there are probably a dozen major manufacturers of fishing lines, and monofilament is just one of the choices. There are also super strong braided lines as well as fused lines with extremely small diameters.
In most jigging situations I prefer to use a monofilament line that gives me some stretch. The reason for this is that I am directly over the fish when jigging and I want the line to give a little if the fish decides to run. This allows me to get the fish to the surface especially if I am using light line like 4 to 6 lb. test. The fish can also run and yet not get off because there is no slack in the line. Many fish are lost at the boat, so you want a line that gives you some leeway at the boat and will help the fish to stay hooked. The line that I depend on is simply Berkley XT or Tournament Strength. I do want my line to be abrasion resistant especially while jigging in and around rocks. I also want it limp so I can cast it a long way. Most of the time I choose Berkley XT Solar so I can watch my line. This is important to be able to see the bite before you feel it.
In trolling situations with snags, I will probably stay with the monofilament line. I again like the stretching features of monofilament when trolling, in and around snags because you can retrieve your baits by going back over the top of where you first snagged up. The fish stays hooked longer and I don’t have to keep a steady retrieve on the fish. Sometimes superbraids like Fireline will dig your snag deeper. And then, because the line is so tough, you’ll need a pool cue to break off. So, stick with mono when trolling around snags. That is not to say that when you are trolling you should only use monofilament line. I will periodically use lead core line. I like lead core line because it gets my lures down to the bottom and keeps them in the strike zone longer. I have used lead core on open flats and it works very well. It has a high tensile strength and very low stretch. Keep in mind with the low stretch you have to keep your hand on the rod at all times. When the fish is hooked it is a steady retrieve all the way back to the boat.
In rivers or in stained water where finesse isn’t as important as a clear lake I also Berkley Fireline Solar. Berkley Fireline is another no stretch line, but it gives me the properties of monofilament because I can cast it in heavy cover or troll with it on planner boards. 20 pound test Berkley Fireline has the diameter of 10 pound test monofilament line, which makes it ideal for trolling. It gives the lure a natural presentation, while the increase of strength allows me to use it in abrasive areas. The solar aspect of the line gives me the visibility that I need as well. Solar Fireline will allow me to detect strikes as they happen or give me a visual reference to let me know that a fish has struck my offering from a planner board presentation. The high visibility line is also great when fishing with kids or elderly people because you can help them watch their line.
One line that is beginning to make its presence known in fishing is fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon is a material first used in the fishing industry a decade ago by offshore tuna fisherman who hoped to improve their hookup ratios. Fluorocarbon line has almost the same refractive index as water and essentially becomes invisible when submerged.
The advantages of fluorocarbon line are that it doesn’t absorb water and it has a very high tensile strength. In fact, as you diminish the size of the diameter, the strength of line increases. It is also very limp, which explains why it has been used by fly fisherman for years. If finesse fishing is your favorite technique, then fluorocarbon is something you should definitely consider. My fluorocarbon line of choice is Berkley Vanish. In clear lakes and reservoirs it has been a great tool for fishing pressurized fish. In fact, I almost won a recent major fishing tournament using Berkley Vanish. Believe me, these fish identify line colors and quickly learn to get a case of lockjaw.
A great deal has changed in the fishing industry over the last couple of years. Now the fisherman must match his/her line to the conditions that they are fishing as well as the presentation they intend to use it for.
Line selection today is as important as the lure, hook, and bait you tie on to it. Try sampling one of these fine line selections next time your preparing for a fishing outing. Good luck and keep me posted on any luck or further questions regarding fishing line selection on the web at

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