Fishing Line, Part Three: Lines And Monofilament

By on May 16, 2016
King salmon caught jigging in deep water, the fluorocarbon leader was crucial to preventing tangling in the treble hooks. (Credit: Joel Krichbaum)

We’ve gotten into my two favorites, lines and monofilament. And while they have a ton of uses by themselves, they also work great in combination. So many times there are situations where you need the low-stretch properties of braid and the invisibility of fluorocarbon.

It’s a pretty simple process really, it just takes a little practice to be comfortable tying braid to a fluorocarbon leader. I use a double uni knot for this process, although there are others that work well too. The uni knot is very simple and really easy to pick up on if you have ever tied an improved clinch knot before. I’ve really never had an issue with the knot breaking, but I also don’t fish for days straight without retying it. There is no doubt that going through the rod guides so many times can weaken the fluorocarbon part of the knot.

The length of fluorocarbon I add to the end varies. I ideally shoot for around 4 feet of leader. But in the interest of saving time in areas where I think I’ll constantly have to retie from nicked line or snagged lures, I’ll double or triple that.

The situation I most commonly use this in is finesse fishing with spinning equipment. The no-stretch braid allows for great sensitivity and hooksets, while still maintaining stealth with the fluorocarbon. Often, finessing requires light lures and braid makes it much easier to cast a 1/8-ounce shaky head a long way.

You may run into some issues when trying heavier tackle and the leader combo. Line breaks can be more common since such a small leader of fluorocarbon can’t absorb the shock from braid and a powerful hookset. You can still fish it this way, but keep in mind you don’t need nearly as powerful of a hookset with the braid-to-fluorocarbon combination.

A finesse bait like this Nemesis Baits Shakey worm is ideal for a braid to fluorocarbon combination. (Credit: Jeff Elliott)

A finesse bait like this Nemesis Baits Shakey worm is ideal for a braid to fluorocarbon combination. (Credit: Jeff Elliott)

There are also times I’ll use this combination even though I know the fish would bite the same on straight braid. The stiffness and slipperiness of fluorocarbon is much less apt to tangle in treble hooks when vertical jigging or casting spoons and blade baits. You’ll save yourself a ton of headaches and be more efficient fishing if you take the time to tie up a leader.

Lastly, we get to monofilament, which has the most stretch and least sensitivity of any of the lines.

For someone who fishes around vegetation a lot, those are not the qualities I want in a line. In different parts of the country or for different anglers in my region, it still may be a big part of their game plans. However, for me it is never the best line for the job. The best uses for it are baits with treble hooks like crankbaits and topwater. The stretch once again helps to delay the hookset and provide cushion on strong runs. Mono also floats so it also helps to get great action out of topwater baits. If I didn’t have so much confidence in my topwater setup, I would think about switching from braid to mono.

There are also many fluorocarbon-coated monofilaments on the market. They end up being a little more manageable like monofilament but have some of the abrasion-resistant properties that fluorocarbon does. They also tend to be easier on the wallet and are great for the angler who wants more performance on a budget.

Hopefully this three-part series on fishing line clued you in to several things that will help make you more efficient on the water. Fishing line is the ultimate connection between a fisherman and the fish. It’s something that if used to your advantage will no doubt help put more fish in the boat.

Top image: King salmon caught jigging in deep water, the fluorocarbon leader was crucial to preventing tangling in the treble hooks. (Credit: Joel Krichbaum)

About Jeff Elliott

Jeff Elliott is a 2014 Bassmaster Team championship qualifier. He has 75 tournament wins, including the 2012 Detroit Lions/Kevin VanDam Charity tournament. He is a seven-time points champion and a Bust'in Sticks TV show champion.

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