What's Biting: Monofilament has more than one story
Anyone who has been fishing as long as I have can appreciate the advancements made in fishing line. I don't go all the way back to the Dacron line era, but monofilament line left a lot to be desired when I first got serious about fishing, and anyone who has lost a good fish because of equipment failure, especially fishing line, knows the frustration that results.
[caption id="attachment_5963" align="alignright" width="300"] With today's technology, those line failures can be minimized with the right tackle and line care.[/caption]
With today's technology, those line failures can be minimized with the right tackle and line care. Of course, that doesn't mean you're not going to ever lose a fish again. Big fish get big for a reason, and most of the time it's because they tend to hang around those areas where there are plenty of barnacles and structures abrasive to fishing line.
For most of the year on the Alabama Gulf Coast, anglers can use leader material made out of fluorocarbon that will take much more abuse than regular monofilament. Most of the time 15-pound leader will do the trick if you're fishing for speckled trout and white trout. If you move up to redfish, you should move up to 20-pound or 30-pound, especially if you're tackling bull reds.
The familiar names in leader material are Seaguar and Ande, although there are numerous companies that make fluorocarbon leader. Early fluorocarbon line was stiff as a board. Advances in making fluorocarbon more supple has caused some anglers to use fluorocarbon as their main line, but anything larger than 10-pound test is still too stiff.
There are two schools of thought in the saltwater community in terms of the main line on their fishing reels. One group sticks with traditional monofilament because of its forgiving nature in terms of stretch. When a trout hits, the mono stretches enough to keep the hooks from ripping out of the fish's mouth. Most inshore anglers will use 10- to 12-pound test line most of the year, but when fish are finicky or the water is extra clear, a reduction to 8-pound test is in order.
Back in my early fishing career, it was all about Mean Green Trilene in 12-pound test. These days, the choices are virtually endless from traditional mono to copolymer lines that vary in toughness and castability. Look to Berkley, Ande.
The second school of thought for saltwater anglers is that line with no stretch is best because of improved hookset. These are the anglers who use braided line made of the Spectra fiber. Again, there are loads of manufacturers with their own braided line series.
The no-stretch characteristics of braided line must be offset with a properly set drag on your reel, or you will inevitably rip the hooks out of the fish's mouth. Most inshore anglers will go with 15-pound braid, although some use 20-pound because the diameter of braided line is much smaller than comparable monofilament.
Power Pro basically cornered the saltwater braided line market for many years. Now anglers can find quality braided line from Spiderwire, Seaguar, Sufix and Vicious Fishing, another Alabama company.
The key to all fishing line is that it needs to be changed fairly regularly, depending on the conditions. If you keep your rods and reels indoors after they've been properly rinsed with fresh water, you can go a couple of years without problems.
If you tend to leave your tackle outdoors, especially in the sun, it's best to check your line often, and change it if there is even a hint of deterioration.
Like I said before, there's nothing more disheartening to an angler than losing a big fish when the line breaks.