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What's My Line?

By Russ Bassdozer

"What's my line?" That's a tough one to answer.

Three major line types - braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament - are available today in many brands. There are several hybrids and copolymers out there too. Each it seems has different specifications and properties. No two the same (or so it seems). Even proven formulas apparently are periodically changed - for better or worse. No wonder it can be difficult to choose what line to use.


Braid has hardly any stretch and heightened sensitivity. It excels in very weedy waters. Fishing in a lot of salad bowls? Garnish your reel, either spinning or baitcasting, with braid.

Where I don't use braid is in rocks. Most anywhere you will get snagged in rocks will part braided line quickly. Even many snags that you may be able to wiggle out no problem with mono or fluoro may part braid easily in rocks.

In wood, braid can be problematic too. Braid tends to cling on and wrap up in soggy bush or tree branches. Braid will not part easily when snagged in wet wood - but dig into it, often deepening the dilemma.

However, many anglers favor braid even around rocks or wood for:

  1. topwater
  2. spinnerbaits kept in the mid to upper water column.


For baitcasting reels, fluorocarbon like Yamamoto's Sugoi brand is usually a pleasant, abrasion-resistant, low-stretch sweetheart. At least one exception is topwater, where buoyant mono or braid behave best. There are two kinds of Yamamoto Sugoi fluorocarbon for baitcasting, appropriately labeled casting (general usage) and flipping (heavy cover).

On spinning reels, a third kind of Yamamoto's Sugoi fluorocarbon, labeled dropshot line excels. Don't let the label fool you, it's not just for dropshot but general usage (except topwater). Caveat here is it's only available in 5, 6 and 8 lb test. For higher line tests, mono tends to get the affirmative head wobble for spinning reels.


For spinning reels, for all topwater antics, for equally mixed environments of weeds, wood and/or rocks intermingled, many anglers throw mono.

Name Some Names

I have already mentioned the Yamamoto Sugoi fluorocarbon which comes in three formulations - flipping, casting and dropshot/spinning fluorocarbon. In braid, I currently use Stren Super Braid. I opt for Trilene XL as a general usage monofilament. I go to Trilene Big Game when I need a more abrasion-resistant monofilament. Those are the six lines I currently favor after having tried most brands of line on the market.

Line Color

If it's available, I like to use light green line. Most water has a  greenish color, and often there is a backdrop of underwater weeds or shoreline vegetation. However even in clear water, there is often a faint green tinge and a light green line is not a bad choice for those situations.


For many purposes, I use a unique variant of Uni-Knot. I tie five turns for mono. I throw in six turns (one extra) for fluoro. I find braid requires ten turns and even then, I keep a close eye on knots tied with braid as they may slip if not watched closely.

Spooling New Line

How to spool new line is the same for baitcasters as well as modern spinning reels that have anti-twist rollers. Most guys get it right with baitcasters - put some kind of rod through the center hole of the line spool, have an assistant hold the line spool horizontal (like on a baitcasting reel)  and have the line come off the bottom of the line spool. Many don't realize this is the exact way to spool up modern day anti-twist spinning reels too. Check your instruction sheet that comes with a new spinning reel, guys.

After spooling up with fresh new mono, you need to tie it to something that won't budge, walk off more than a cast - and stretch the line. If you don't do this, new mono will be springy and problematic until it gets stretched by a snag.

Untwisting Line

During usage, especially on a spinning reel, line can get twisted and unmanageable. Clip off any lure or terminal tackle. Let line out behind an idling boat (800 rpms). Engage the reel but wait several minutes before rewinding so the force of water pressure against the line unscrews any twists. If you have not a boat, wet the spool in fresh water then walk off more than a cast over a grass field (a parking lot, rocky dirt or sidewalk will grab, pinch or abrade the line). Pinch the line above the spool between your thumb and index finger while you rewind the wetted line back onto the reel. This will remove twists and loops.

Hope it helps you line up some options.

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