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size increases. If you’re fishing in an area
with lots of sharp snags, you’ll definitely
want to make sure you use monofilament
line, or certainly at least a mono leader.
END OF THE LINE
Leaders, of course, are in their own category.
Virtually everyone agrees that braid’s no-stretch characteristic disqualifies it for use
as a leader because without some stretch
on the initial strike, the hook often rips free.
But what type of monofilament is best for
this job? Fluorocarbon tops the list for use in
leaders. Compared with other types of monofilament, fluorocarbon bends light much as
water does – which means it’s the type of
monofilament that’s least visible to fish.
The refractive index for a material indi-
cates the amount that light bends as it passes
through that material; the refractive index for
water is 1. 33. If fishing line could be made
with this exact refractive index, it would
blend in perfectly and be unnoticeable. But
the closest regular monofilament comes is
around 1. 62. Fluorocarbon, however, has
a refractive index of 1. 42 – making it con-
siderably less visible underwater than other
monos. So when you’re fishing in clear water
and pursuing a species of
fish with high visual acu-
ity, you can’t afford to use
anything other than a flu-
orocarbon leader. Unless,
that is, you can’t afford
fluorocarbon – 50-pound
test commonly costs
more than $1 per yard.
leader, on the other hand,
costs 12 to 15 cents per yard.
In dingy, muddy, or stained waters, save
your cash and go for monofilament because
in such water, fish can’t see well anyway.
The same goes when you’re fishing for species that don’t depend mainly on sight, like
catfish or carp. But when you’re fishing for
a species with keen eyesight, like tuna, or
you’re fishing in gin-clear waters, the extra
investment is worthwhile.
We’ve yet to discuss color, but not by mistake.
I saved this topic for last, because in my expe-
rience – and to my surprise – it’s one of the
least important factors to consider. I’ve tried
fishing red lines next to green lines, clear lines
next to fluorescent lines, and so on, ad nause-
am. Amazingly, the results show little to no dif-
ference. True, high-vis lines are advantageous
when you’re using a technique that requires
you to keep track of the line’s position, like
kite fishing. Yes, lines color-coded for length
can come in handy when trolling or dropping
to suspended fish at a specific depth. But
the fish just don’t seem to give a hoot what
color line you offer.
A final note about lines: whatever type
you pick, it should always be wound onto the
spool by a professional, with the right amount
of tension. Otherwise, the line can become
pinched and tangled before it ever makes it off
the spool. The folks at Island Tackle Outfitters
recommend making sure that the tackle
shop you choose for the job has a hydraulic
tensioner, which ensures the line gets packed
on with even pressure throughout the spool.
And whatever offering you might choose to
tempt those fish into biting, remember this:
picking out the best line for the job is an
important part of turning those bites into a
successful day of fishing.
BoatU.S. electronics editor Lenny Rudow is a fishing expert and the senior editor for Boats.com.
When fishing with