Choosing the proper fishing line can be just as important to an angler’s success as selecting the right lure. After all, how your line performs can influence every aspect of your fishing experience, from your cast, to your lure presentation, to hooking and landing your prized bass.
There are a few fishing line options available to bass fishermen, each with individual qualities best paired to different circumstances. Brendan Conlon, a DICK’S Sporting Goods Associate and tournament bass fisherman, has tips and tricks to help you decipher which line fits your needs. So don’t tie yourself up in knots this fishing season worrying about your gear — follow these tips for the best fishing line for your next angling adventure.
A classic line option for any fisherman, monofilament is an individual nylon fiber that is usually inexpensive and is easy to work with. Monofilament is great for beginner anglers because it is very castable and can typically be tied with little difficulty. “One of the nice things about monofilament is that it floats,” Conlon says. “So it’s a really good option if you want to throw a topwater bait or something on the surface.”
Another factor specific to monofilament line is that it has some stretch to it, and this can either be a positive or negative attribute depending on your fishing needs. Fishing line that has more stretch can allow the fish to get a better bite and hold. Because of this property, monofilament is great when using reaction baits. However, any setup requiring a stronger hookset can run the risk of snapping the line, so take some precaution before rigging.
Lastly, the diameter of monofilament is directly related to the poundage of the line. For example, 20lb. monofilament will be much thicker than 8lb. line. The stronger the line, the stronger the hookset it can withstand. But a lighter poundage can help with longer casts, so match your line to your fishing style needs.
Braided fishing line is another trustworthy option for bass fishermen. It features an extremely strong profile with virtually no stretch, making it much more sensitive to bites. Because braided fishing line is a cluster of strands rather than an individual fiber, the strength-to-diameter ratio can be much more intense. “If you look at these in comparison to monofilament,” Conlon notes, “20lb. mono is going to be way thicker than 20lb. braid.” This mean that anglers who use braid will have a thinner line to work with that is more castable and durable.
One of the downfalls to braid, however, is that it can be much more visible in water than other line choices. For this reason, braided fishing line is often used in situations where there is heavy coverage or dense vegetation. Braid also has a bit of an abrasive quality to it, so cutting through weeds is usually not a major issue.
PRO TIP: Braided fishing line can also be used with a leader setup so that anglers can reap the line’s strength and sensitivity without being exposed. A simple monofilament or fluorocarbon leader can be rigged up to really enhance your presentation.
The third line option Conlon suggests for bass fishermen is fluorocarbon. This is another strong, reactive option for anglers who want a line with little stretch and good abrasion resistance. One of the greatest qualities of fluorocarbon line is that it has the same light refraction as water, which means it becomes virtually invisible when submerged.
“When you put this on your line and you drop your bait in the water, it’s going to disappear for those fish,” Conlon says. “They’re not going to be able to see it. Obviously, that is a big advantage for any type of visual presentation.”
Also, because it sinks, rather than floats like monofilament, fluorocarbon is great for soft plastics and reaction baits. (However, it is not ideal for topwater lures.) You can also use fluorocarbon as a leader with braided line to take advantage of both when trying to reel in your next tourney winner.
These three fishing line options can help you find success on the water, and when employed in the right situations, can help your fishing stories have a successful ending. Gear up with the right fishing line and cast away with these helpful bass fishing Pro Tips.
Discover more bass fishing tips with our guides on the Best Hooks for Bass Fishing and The Five Best Fishing Lures You Need in Your Tackle Box.