There are many different types and sizes of line now, and in my opinion, they all have their place in the bass fishing world. In this article, I’m going to break down the components of each type of line and which type of line I use for certain lures.
Monofilament: Let’s start out talking about the original line on the market, monofilament line. Even though it’s the oldest line, it still has it’s place in your boat at certain times. When you fish with monofilament, you will notice that the line has a lot of give to it, or a lot of stretch in the line when you set the hook. This stretch can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how you use it. While monofilament is not quite as invisible under the water as fluorocarbon line is, it is more invisible to the fish than braided line (we’ll get to that later in this article). Monofilament also floats, which is the main reason I use it for the lures I do. The lures I throw with monofilament line are topwater baits with treble hooks (poppers, walking baits, etc.), and I throw monofilament as my leader material for a Carolina-rig. I use monofilament line for topwater baits like these because it is has enough stretch in the line to not rip the treble hooks out of the fish’s mouth, unlike braided line, and it also floats, unlike fluorocarbon, which makes it easier to fish topwater lures on monofilament. The reason I use monofilament for my Carolina-rig leader material is because it floats and it can absorb some of the shock of the hook-set because of its stretch properties. Because the line floats, it will keep your bait slightly above the bottom of the lake while your weight drags the bottom (attracting fish) when fishing the Carolina-rig, and, like I said, it absorbs some of the shock of a hook-set, which helps you not rip the hook out of the fish’s mouth. Another reason to use monofilament, especially if you’re just starting out, is the price point. The monofilament I use is Berkley Trilene Big Game Monofilament line, and you can buy a 900 yard spool of this line for somewhere between seven and ten dollars. Monofilament line gives you a great bang for your buck.
Fluorocarbon: The advances in this line have taken tournament anglers by storm in recent years. With this line being almost completely invisible to the fish underwater and much more sensitive than previous monofilament lines, you can imagine what a big deal this line was and is. This line is a very versatile for a variety of lures simply because of this increase in sensitivity and decrease in visibility, but it also has very, very little stretch. Because of this, the main lures I throw on fluorocarbon are jigs, Texas-rigs, drop-shots, and you can use it on many other lures as well, but fluorocarbon gets expensive fast. If you buy a 200 yard spool of fluorocarbon, you can expect to spend somewhere between $15 and $30 depending on the brand. Because it gets so expensive, I tend to use an alternate, and that alternate is co-polymer line. I tend to use either P-Line’s 100% Fluorocarbon or Seaguar’s Red Label 100% Fluorocarbon (or Seaguar’s Invis-X 100% Fluorocarbon if I’m feeling fancy).
Co-Polymer: This line, quite simply, is a hybrid line between the two lines mentioned above; monofilament and fluorocarbon. Basically, this is a nylon line, like monofilament, that has a fluorocarbon coating around the line, giving it some fluorocarbon properties, like increased invisibility. I like to always use co-polymer line when I’m using crankbaits or jerkbaits, so I don’t have to pick between the good properties of monofilament or fluorocarbon, but the price tag that comes with this line is an absolute steal for the quality! I love P-Line’s Floroclear as my co-polymer of choice, and you can expect to spend a little under $10 for a spool of 300 yards.
Braid: This line is mainly used for absolutely laying hook-sets into fish. The main selling points of this line are its sensitivity and its no-stretch property. Because of the sensitivity, a lot of people, including me occasionally in muddy water, will throw their jigs and Texas-rigs on braided line to get better hook-sets, but the main lure that I, and most other anglers, throw on braided line is a topwater frog. Since the line has no stretch, you can still set the hook no problem into a fish when they explode on your frog at the end of a forty yard cast. This line is also incredibly strong, so you can really drag fish out of cover and into the boat with braid.
Now, I will give you a breakdown of which lures I throw on certain lines.
Monofilament – Topwater lures with treble hooks (poppers, walking baits, etc.), Carolina-rig (leader material)
Fluorocarbon (expensive) – Jigs, Texas-rigs, Carolina-rigs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shot, ned-rig, wacky-rig, shakey heads, and basically anything where you are setting the hook rather than just leaning into the fish with the rod (you can e-mail me with specific questions)
Co-Polymer (cheaper): Crankbaits, jigs, Texas-rigs, Carolina-rigs, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, drop shot, etc. (same as fluorocarbon)
Braid: Topwater frogs, buzzbaits, jigs, Texas-rigs, shakey heads
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