Back in bass fishing’s good old days there was just one type of fishing line: monofilament. You either fished with thick, stretchy, buoyant monofilament – which had the sensitivity of anchor rope – or you didn’t fish.
Then in 1993 pro angler Randy Dearman introduced the bass fishing world to braided line by winning a BASS event in Texas. In that groundbreaking event, Dearman wrangled bass after bass out of flooded bushes with “braid.” He pitched jigs into the thickest bushes without the slightest fear of breaking off, thanks to the new line.
Shortly after braid made its entrance to the marketplace, the drop-shot gurus from the West Coast brought us something called fluorocarbon, a completely different type of fishing line than either mono or braid.
Since then the fishing line aisle at the sporting good store has become inundated with dozens upon dozens of different braids, fluorocarbons and monofilaments. You just about need a degree in “Fibers and Filaments” (if there is such a thing) just to make sense of it all.
Over the last decade traditional monofilament has sort of taken a back seat to braided line and fluorocarbon, and for good reason. Compared to classic mono, both fluorocarbon and braid provided tremendous advantages in the sensitivity, low-stretch and abrasion resistance departments.
But over the last couple of years, vast improvements in monofilaments have been quietly closing the gap on those advantages found in braid and fluoro, which is the primary reason I’m resorting back to monofilament this season.
Thanks to Vicious Ultimate Fishing Line, which is actually a copolymer monofilament, I’ll be spooling up with mono a lot more in 2010 and here’s why:
For starters, the sensitivity, low-stretch properties and abrasion resistance of this new super monofilament from Vicious is now up to par with most fluorocarbons on the market. But the primary reason for going back to mono is superior cast control. Since mono has so much less line memory than fluorocarbon, it flows off the spool effortlessly with far fewer backlashes.
So anytime casting accuracy is critical, I’ll be using mono. Things like flipping and pitching, especially light-line flipping in the 12- to 17-pound test class, will be all mono for me.
Also, when skipping docks, there is nothing better than mono. Trying to skip a baitcaster with coily fluoro is a non-stop exercise in picking out backlashes.
In addition, mono still has a bit of stretch to help absorb the shock of hooksets, which is a huge bonus when setting the hook in short-line situations.
I’m also going to mono for all spinnerbaits, crankbaits and topwater walkers and poppers.
Again, the supreme castability improves accuracy to specific targets and the stretch allows for better shock absorption between the bite and hookset. As for the topwaters, the buoyancy of mono is a must to make poppers and walkers work properly.
While I’d like to move totally back to mono for all my fishing, I can’t because there are still some applications where fluorocarbon and braid outshine mono.
When casting Texas rigs and Carolina rigs in deeper, open water – like ledge fishing on Kentucky Lake or casting a worm at Okeechobee – Vicious Fluorocarbon will get the honors. The faster sink of fluorocarbon is a big plus in these situations.
Also, I’ll spool fluoro when jerkbaiting for smallmouth or ripping a lipless rattling crankbait over grass – a non-buoyant line is a key with these lures as well.
And finally, fluorocarbon is still the best when fishing deep with a spinning rod.
As for braided line, I’ll spool Vicious Braid when I’m swimming a jig, punching vegetation mats with a big weight, fishing a topwater frog or reeling buzzbaits over heavy vegetation.
So there you have it, that’s my basic break down on when to use monofilament, fluorocarbon or braid.
I’m guessing that in 2010, monofilament will be used for about 70 percent of my fishing while the other 30 percent will be split between fluorocarbon and braid.
And one last thing: no matter which type of line you use, a good line conditioner like Real Magic will work wonders in keeping line slick and limp, especially between fishing trips. But we’ll explore the importance of line conditioners in another tips column soon.