Anglers are often guilty of making bass fishing much more difficult than it needs to be—and that especially holds true when choosing between different types of fishing line. We’re inundated with different brands, styles, colors and models; all of which are designed for very particular techniques and situations.
So how do you make an informed, yet simple decision when you’re pitching and flipping shallow cover? According to one of the best shallow-water anglers of all time, Denny Brauer believes his straightforward selection method will save you time, money and frustration.
Fluorocarbon line: What you need to know
Fluorocarbon fishing line has become hugely popular in recent years. Its low-stretch characteristics have become a favorite for bass anglers around the country.
“In the old days when we were using monofilament line for pitching and flipping, it was difficult to get suitable hook penetration due to its stretch,” Brauer said. “It was like a Slinky. But with the advancements in fluorocarbon, you’re now able to enjoy incredibly low stretch which facilitates a better hookset. Not to mention, you’ll feel nearly every movement your bait makes—bites included—while fishing.”
In addition to these performance advantages, fluorocarbon is also much less visible to fish in clear water than both monofilament and braided lines.
With these advantages, however, comes one inherent disadvantage of using fluorocarbon when pitching and flipping: Grass. Thick vegetation and fluorocarbon don’t always play “nice”.
“When you’re trying to penetrate matted vegetation, you’ll be better off with braided line,” Brauer said. “Fluorocarbon won’t slice through that grass very well due to its larger diameter, which can cause some headaches throughout a day of fishing.”
When do I use fluorocarbon?
In a nutshell, it’s incredibly difficult to go wrong with fluorocarbon fishing line. Brauer keeps it at the ready regardless of where he’s fishing.
“I use a fluorocarbon line, such as my new Seaguar Denny Brauer Signature Series Flippin’ Fluorocarbon, probably 90 percent of the time to be honest,” Brauer said. “I can pitch to isolated cover in ultra-clear water and the fish will have no idea I’m there. I know it sounds a bit heavy, but I actually prefer 25-pound test for the large majority of situations.”
Braided line: What you need to know
Although braided fishing line has gained major attention for finesse applications in recent years, it certainly has a well-cemented place in the arsenal of shallow-water power fishermen. While fluorocarbon still has just a small amount of stretch, braided lines have zero—and it’s tailor-made for close, hand-to-hand combat.
“You absolutely do not have to worry about breaking your line when using braid,” Brauer said. “Due to its thin diameter, you’re able to use 50 and 65-pound test and slice through thick vegetation and penetrate mats much easier. Because it has no stretch, you can hammer the hook home without leaving your feet on the hookset.”
It’s important to note, however, that braided line also has its disadvantages: Clear-water bass.
“When you’re targeting isolated cover in clear water, bass tend to get a bit spooky of braid,” Brauer said. “If I’m fishing water with more than 18 inches of visibility, I’m going to opt for fluorocarbon. But anything less than 18 inches, it’s game on and I’m yanking on ‘em with 50-pound braided line, such as my new Denny Brauer Signature Series Flippin’ Braid.”
When do I use braided line?
If you’re fishing muddy water with less than 18 inches of visibility, Brauer suggests giving your braided line a workout. In addition, keep it ready when you run across thick vegetation as braid is often the only option for such scenarios.
Quick tip on line life and re-spooling: “There’s hardly no need to change braided line,” Brauer said. “I fish all the time and I’ll admit; I’ll go a year sometimes before replacing my heavy braid. But when you’re using fluorocarbon, you need to be much more cognizant of your line condition. Under normal fishing conditions, I’ll change it every three weeks and if I get a backlash, I’ll change it immediately.”