[Gear Hunter] Are Your Reels Screaming for New Fishing Line?
OutdoorHub Reporters 02.24.20
For a lot of us, winter has a grip on our lakes and streams. Even if the water isn’t frozen over, the cold temps can put a serious stall in the bite, as well as our desire to go find out the hard way. One thing you can do during this time to help beat the winter blues is to re-spool your reels with new fishing line.
Power Pro Braided
One of our favorite fishing lines is Power Pro braided line.
This product is braided Spectra fibers which are extremely strong and durable. The line is treated so it is uniformly round and to retain its shape, meaning it will act like fishing line should when on your reel, rod and lure. Pro tip: be sure to use the arbor tape included on the spool. We like to throw a little friction tape on our arbor, then tie the line on that, and then use some arbor tape to secure the line even further. Also, Power Pro braided line has incredible knot strength, as long as you learn to tie the right kind of knot for this type of line.
Fluorocarbon line has low visibility, thin diameter, and very good sensitivity. It has less stretch than monofilament line, but more than braided line. It is also more abrasion resistance than mono. We’ve tested Seaguar Fluorcarbon line in the past, and were very pleased with its performance on the water. Cost is lower than some other brands, but performance is as high or higher.
Berkley line may be the most popular of all the fishing line options available. It’s a monofilament line that comes in multiple variations for different applications. For example:
Trilene XL is well known for its casting ability and reduced memory.
Trilene XT has extra abrasion resistance which helps avoid breaking your line. However, XT is a little less friendly for casting.
Trilene Big Game and Cat lines are designed to tackle the roughest jobs. These lines resist nicks and abrasions, as well as have a little less stretch than other Trilene models. They need to be replaced often and do not cast as well as other Berkley lines, but they are extremely cost effective.
A while back, I spooled a reel with 20lb. Spiderwire Superline Stealth Braid, mostly because the store I was in was having a big sale and I got it cheap. The line did great on the fishing trip, never failing while reeling in quite a few sockeye and coho salmon. I set the reel aside when I got back and it bounced around for a couple years until my son dug it out of a box and started using it. It still has the Spiderwire line on it. I’m a big proponent of changing out fishing line, but this has turned into an experiment to see how long we could go before we “had” to swap it out. I’ll let you know, as we’re still going.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of spending my summers in Alaska with my uncle’s family. He was a fishing guide and I often ended up helping out with random tasks from time to time. One of the jobs I often took on was re-spooling the reels with fresh fishing line once a week. I remember asking him once why it was necessary to re-spool so often, and his answer has stuck with me to this day; he said “if you get a knot, or a burr in the line, you know to fix it right away. But it’s the things you don’t see that can cause you to lose the fish, and often a big one.”
Now, he was re-spooling weekly (at least), but his gear gets as much use in a week as normal angler’s gear goes through in a year. In short, it was well warranted.
Monofilament line definitely needs to be changed on a regular basis, because not only can it have small nicks and abrasions you can’t easily find, but also because mono only has so much stretch available. After fighting some big fish, or snags, your 10lb mono line may now have an actual breaking strength of half that, or less!
Another strike against mono is memory. Meaning once the line spends some time on the reel, it will want to keep that shape. This can lead to snags, twists and other unpleasant stuff that you don’t want to deal with while you’re fishing.
What is the best new fishing line for me?
That all depends on you, what your fishing for, and what you expect from your line – There are a lot of great fishing lines from many brands that we couldn’t list them all.
Braided lines are amazing for fishing for big, aggressive species. Sure they cost more, but have proved to be worth it by being tough and small in diameter. A word of advice; unless you’re extremely confident with a baitcast reel, don’t use braided line on one. A “bird’s nest” with braided line is near impossible to fix – but very fun to watch your buddy try.
Fluorocarbon is a much harder material than monofilament, giving it higher abrasion resistance. It is also very sensitive, giving you great feel for light bites.
Fluorocarbon is a little pricier than mono, so just keep that in mind. Mono is easily the most cost-effective line to use, and for most applications, it works great.
Above all, remember that any day fishing is better than sitting in the office, laying on the couch or mowing the lawn.. so enjoy each and every cast.
Good luck & tight lines!