As bass fishing continues to evolve, so does the line choice and there is a major role for the three major line types: fluorocarbon, monofilament and braided line. One of the biggest questions I get asked is “what size and type of line should I use?” This is a good question and can improve your fishing, but the reasons why to use each type of line is just as important. In this article I will overview my line selection for the two major bait categories, reaction baits and baits fished on the bottom.
The three major types of line all play a big factor in my arsenal when fishing reaction baits. Monofilament for instance has fallen out of favor for many bass anglers, but there is nowhere where it is as vital as reaction bait fishing. Fluorocarbon and braid also play a big role and along with mono, they cover all of your reaction bait needs.
MONO: There are three times when monofilament is my first choice; topwater, shallow diving crankbaits and jerkbaits in extremely cold water. Since mono floats, it is perfect for topwater fishing and shallow cranking, it doesn’t drag down your baits and will help you get a true action for your lures. If I was to just pick one line for topwater and shallow crankbaits like squarebills, it would be 15-lb Seaguar Senshi in the green color. Senshi is smooth casting, thin and very limp; all of these characteristics make it perfect for fishing a topwater or squarebill. Mono also has a slight stretch which helps to absorb strikes with reaction baits with treble hooks like topwaters and shallow crankbaits.
When the water is in the high 30’s or low 40’s, I will use 10-lb Senshi for jerkbait fishing. The floating properties of mono allow the bait to suspend better in the cold water and it remains excellent for casting in all temperatures.
BRAID: Braided line is also a great choice for some reaction baits. Topwater frogs are an obvious choice due to the heavy cover, but braid also excels for buzzbaits and other topwaters like prop baits. My top choice is 50 or 65-lb Seaguar Smackdown since it is so smooth and easy to cast. One thing I do is to use a short (12- to 16-inch leader of 15- to 20-lb mono) to keep the braid from wrapping around the blades of the buzzbait or props on a prop bait since braid is very limp compared to mono and fluorocarbon. Personally, I prefer to stay away from braid anytime I am using lures with treble hooks just because it has zero stretch and can rip the hooks out of the mouth of a fish.
FLUORO: Fluorocarbon is a good overall choice for most reaction bait applications. Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon in 12-lb test would be my one pick if I could only use one to cover all of my needs. It’s thin enough to not negatively affect your crankbait maximum diving depth, light enough to get good casting distance and strong enough for bigger fish. My general rule of thumb is to start with 12-lb fluorocarbon and go up to 15-lb, if I am fishing around heavy cover or drop down a size to 10-lb, if I am fishing very clear water or trying to get a crankbait or jerkbait to dive a little deeper.
Fishing jigs and soft plastics along the bottom is almost always done with fluorocarbon in my boat. If I am using baitcasting gear, it will always be straight fluorocarbon.
With spinning reels, nearly all of the time I will be using 15 or 20-lb Seaguar Smackdown braid as my main line with a leader of 6 or 8-lb Tatsu fluorocarbon connected with a double uni knot. I have made the switch to braid to fluoro for many reasons; better casting distance, more sensitivity and fewer headaches from line twist that happens with spinning reels.
When I am pitching jigs or soft plastics, 17-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluorocarbon is my go-to. AbrazX, like it sounds, is very abrasion resistant. This line excels around docks, submerged wood and rocks. The abrasion resistance gives me more confidence I will land my fish, but I still retie after every fish to be safe. Football jigs, swim jigs, Texas-rigs and casting jigs can be used on 15-lb test in just about any situation. 15-lb is still thin enough to get long casts, but will be enough to get a big fish to the boat without any trouble.
One change I have made in the last year is to switch to a high visibility color, like yellow or my braid. Most brands have either a bright yellow, green or white braid to choose from and it is amazing how much better you can see the thin line against the water and also detect bites.
One thing I always advise people to do is to check out the line diameters of the line instead of just relying on what the pound test says on the box. If you have never done it, you will be amazed at the differences between brands. I like Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon for these applications and just to give you an example, the diameter of 15-lb test Tatsu is comparable to many other brands’ 12-lb test diameter, essentially allowing you to fish a line size higher without affecting performance.
Selecting line can seem like a complicated process, but by determining when to use each line and where you can get the most out of your baits and catch more fish. A few pound test sizes in braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament will cover all of your bass fishing needs.