February 1, 2009
Fishing line seems to change each year with manufacturers vying to be at the top of the market.
I have personally tried the majority of the lines out there and there are some that have been better than others.
When I began fishing tournaments in the 1980s, the two big line brands at the time were Berkley and Stren.
Berkley had my attention with the Trilene XT and XL lines. Those lines are still a big seller.
But as the years have come and gone, so have line preferences. Today, my preference for fishing line depends on what lure and rod and reel combination I use.
I have become as finicky as a fish when it comes to line.
I swore off fluorocarbon line a few years back when I lost my favorite spinnerbait to a normal cast. I had spooled Berkley Vanish on a reel and was throwing a spinnerbait on that combo.
I had caught a 2-pound fish and after releasing the fish, checked my line and made another cast. The spinnerbait flew approximately 50 yards and the line broke.
Not only was I mad that the line broke for no reason, I checked the end of the line and noticed the line did not break on the knot. I put the rod down and picked up another rod.
When I got home, I pulled the line off the reel and threw the line I had pulled off and the remaining line on the spool in the trash.
It wasn''t until I went to the FLW Championship in Birmingham, Ala., a couple of years ago that I changed my opinion of fluorocarbon line.
There was a sales representative there, doing what he was trained to do, make a sale. I went over to his demonstration with a preconceived disgust in my gut when I saw he was demonstrating fluorocarbon line.
The representative was showing off the Gamma brand fluorocarbon line and I waited for his demo to conclude. I walked up to him and he asked if I had seen the demo. I responded that I had and explained what had happened to me with the spinnerbait fiasco.
I told him I had no confidence in fluorocarbon line due to the bad experience with Berkley Vanish. He reached in a box and pulled out a brand new spool of Vanish.
He asked me to tie a knot onto a wooden peg and I did. He grabbed the other end of the line with his bare hand and with little to no effort, broke the line.
He then pulled out his spool of Gamma and asked me to tie the same knot. I tied the line to the wooden peg and looked at his spool to make sure he was using the same weight line.
He put a leather glove on his hand and began pulling on the line. It took extreme pressure before the line gave way and when it did, it sounded as if a .22 caliber rifle had been fired.
I will honestly say I was impressed.
I bought a spool of the line and when I got home, I spooled it up. I took it fishing a few days later and it was everything I had seen and then some.
The fluorocarbon line is so sensitive, I was setting the hook on everything I came in contact with. Add a tungsten weight on your rig and you can tell if you are contacting a stick or rock. I can close my eyes and just about picture everything the lure touches.
Now for the downside of fluorocarbon line, the memory of this line is something that takes getting used to using.
There are products on the market that will help you like Reel Magic and Kevin Van Dam Line and Lure Conditioner.
Line memory is at its worst in the winter months. The cold temperatures do not allow the line to get very limp and add wind into the equation and you have a challenge.
I will say for crankbaits and soft plastics, I use fluorocarbon line. In clear water, there is not a line better than this.
My brand recommendations are Seaguar Inviz-X, Vicious or the new Berkley 100 percent fluorocarbon line. If you try fluorocarbon line, be careful of the knots you tie. They have to be made carefully and keep the line wet. Fluorocarbon line does not like the Palomar knot very well either.
Kevin Forrester is the outdoor writer for The Commercial Dispatch. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.