Big Game is Good!
I am satisfied with the Berkley Trilene
Big Game. I'm not going to recite the long list of
same old reasons why some people say one line is slightly better
than another. Just suffice it to say that I am more than glad
that I've settled on Big Game as my line of choice for both
freshwater and saltwater fishing. If you use some other line, it
is a simple test to buy a 1/4 pound of Big Game and compare it
yourself. Even if you don't like the Big Game, you can still use
it up (the line will not go to waste). But if you do like it
better than what you currently use, then you'll be glad you made
the comparison! Why not take the test?
I like consistent use of line across
multi-applications. As part of finding what's my
line, I also tested two special varieties of Big Game called
"Inshore" (formulated for saltwater casting) and
"Flipping" (formulated for close-up heavy freshwater
cover). I never thought the special advantages of either of these
lines outweighed the advantage of using the plain old Big Game
consistently across most of my saltwater and freshwater fishing.
My application gamut runs from finesse fishing small lures for
with 10 lb. test; spinnerbaits and crankbaits on 12 and 15;
pitching heavy cover with 20; surfcasting plugs, tins and jigs
for stripers, blues and weaks in surf and bay on 15 or 20; all
the way up to livelining long eels for huge stripers in raging
tidal rips with 25 lb. test. To me, learning to excel with one
line (i.e., Big Game) is better than learning (or worse, not
learning) how to deal with the peculiar properties of a whole
host of different lines for a whole host of different
applications. Catching fish is a challenging pursuit, and the
more I can do to reduce the complexity and increase the
consistency of the gear I use, the better I can hit my goal of
"catching" fish instead of coping with the
technicalities of "fishing" with the gear.
Line Color. I like to use green
line. Especially when the water has a greenish color. Also,
whenever there's a backdrop of underwater weeds or dense
shoreline vegetation. When I go fishing out West in the deep,
clear, weedless impoundments there, I tend to respool with clear
line for those situations.
Always remember that your success at bass fishing - with jigs,
worms, most soft plastics - is based on "line
watching". You will "see" most hits in the line
before you feel them. An example of this is that most good guides
will detect when their clients get bites and tell them when to
set the hook by watching their client's lines. So, what matters
most is that you can see the line move when a fish hits it.
Therefore, the color of your line does not matter as much as the
ability for you to see the line tick. In this regards, Big Game
comes in a color called "Solar Collector" which is a
high visibility line. You can see every hit with this line, and
if you fish at night, it is the one to use. I have also used this
hi-vis line during the day, catching as many or more fish than my
partners using regular lines. Do hi-vis lines cut down on strikes
in clear water? Even in clear water, I do not believe a hi-vis
line cuts down on the strikes you get. It does not seem to matter
much to the bass that I catch.
Cold weather line. Only one small
problem is when the weather gets cold enough to wear gloves while
fishing. During the tag end of the season, the Big Game will
consistently break at moments you pressure a fighting fish - not
even a big fish either. Fortunately, there is a special Berkley
Trilene "Cold Weather" line that remains resilient and
works well for me whenever the gloves go on.
Other manufacturers' lines. I also
tested the Tectan and the P-Line monos (and a whole bunch of
others) which are frequently touted by people who say they are
"better" monofilament lines, typically for freshwater.
In my tests, it was hard to find a better line at a better price
than Big Game. Whether other lines are truly better or not, I
clearly chose to stick with the Big Game for consistency. Also
because any time I need a spool in a pinch, I can go into any
store that sells any tackle and buy Big Game there at a cheap
price. I can't get some of the "better" lines except
via mail order and at much higher prices per spool (plus the
shipping/handling surcharge). So, Big Game is more than
"good enough" for me. At some point, tackle becomes
"good enough" to get the job done - rather than always
striving for tackle that is the "best". At some point,
your personal ability to find and catch fish transcends the gear
that you use - regardless of whether that gear is more than
"good enough" or it's the "best." Now don't
get me wrong, I like to use the newest and "best" stuff
as much as anyone else. But I fish with a few guys who have a
humbling habit of reminding me what really counts most. They are
"better" or "as good" fishermen as I who can
routinely outcatch me on "worse" tackle than I.
Thin mono lines. I use thin line
primarily in freshwater where I need extra casting distance
and/or more sensitive feedback as to how the lure is working on
the retrieve. Extra distance counts with ultralight jigs (between
1/32 to 1/8 ounce), and sensitive feedback counts when working
freshwater lures like 1/4 oz. spinnerbaits and 1/4 oz.
crankbaits. Even with such light lures, I often use 12 lb. test
(rarely dipping to 10), because bass are feisty critters that
like rugged areas. For example, last week I was fishing the
Connecticut River right under the dam at Holyoke, Massachusetts.
It's a great place. The river bottom is mostly hard rock
composition with natural rock points and ledges that make current
rips in the main river channels, plus many man-made hydroelectric
and factory outlets emptying into the river. These outlets are
like huge concrete caverns, and all sorts of fish stack up inside
them. I caught lots of smallies in the main rips and caverns,
plus a few largemouth, crappies, rock bass, white perch, yellow
perch and big bluegills in the caverns. Point I wanted to make is
that I was using an ultralight rod/reel with a 1/32 oz. jig/grub
- with 12 lb. test. Even still, the two biggest smallies of the
day broke my line. If I need more casting distance (or sinking
depth) with such light jigs, I merely add a splitshot or two up
the line at times, rather than downsizing the line strength in
order to get distance or depth.
For whatever it's worth, I tried all the "thinnies"
out there and Trilene "Ultra Thin" was the best for me.
Unfortunately for me, they stopped making it this year, and I am
now using its apparent replacement, Trilene "SensiThin."
When I couldn't buy 12 lb. Ultra Thin at the store, I would
sometimes have no choice but to buy the 12 lb. Stren MagnaThin -
which I never liked. However, I have recently heard that there is
a new formulation of Stren MagnaThin, but it really hasn't hit
the shelves in the stores near me, which still have dusty old
boxes of MagnaThin from who knows when. But if I do see some
fresh boxes of Magnathin come in next spring, I'll remember to
try it again based on the recommendation I got.
By the way, there are only a few factories in the world that
have the expensive machinery required to exude and produce all
known brands of mono. So, although there are many dozens of
different monos out there, they are all being manufactured in
only a couple of places, a major one being in Germany.