Take care to choose a good fishing line, and it will take care of you
Iâm not a scientist. But Iâve fished a lot, on a lot of fisheries, over the course of a lot of years. So my experiments are conducted in the real world, in a variety of uncontrollable conditions. But thatâs what fishing really is right? Trying to control and limit as much of the luck as we can in an unpredictable and uncontrollable environment right.
One variable to consider is our connection to the fish. Obviously the lure has a big impact on the connection, but how we present that lure and then more importantly after we fool the fish, how do we get the fish back to the boat. Our line is everything in those circumstances. A line that is transparent to the fish gives us an advantage on the fish because one of the clues they can use to determine our offering isnât real is removed.
Donât get me wrong, I like braid as much as the next guy and will use it in a lot of circumstances. However I also like a heavy fluorocarbon in those same circumstances. Especially when âshort liningâ bass in heavy cover.
I love to flip and pitch. Itâs how I grew up fishing. I have a real calming comfort level when it comes to fishing tight to cover with short casts. Iâm fortunate to live on a lake that allows me to test a lot of products in a lot of situations.
I spent three solid days flipping and pitching on Kentucky and Barkley lakes recently, more than 30 hours of it to be exact. During practice I spent a lot of time deciding how much braid mattered over fluorocarbon. We figured out that we got nearly three times as many bites with our fluorocarbon offerings as we did our braid offerings. It also seemed we got bigger bites on the fluorocarbon.
So come tournament time we knew what we were going to throw and what line weâd throw. We spooled up several rods with Seaguar AbrazX fluorocarbon. We made the choice on this fluorocarbon because of how it handled being sheered and scraped on heavy cover with a fired-up bass on the other end.
There are a couple things we took away from this event related to fluorocarbon. Obviously retying your line is critical when youâre fishing in heavy cover. However there are times when knowing the line is going to hold up that it really makes a difference. In our tournament, because of deteriorating weather conditions, the bass buried up in the nastiest cover they could find. Iâm talking about log jams of which âMomma Beaverâ would be proud. So we had to have confidence our line was going to hold up.
Really that confidence came in practice seeing several big bass get landed being pulled up, over and through some gnarly wood cover.
Did we break off in the tournament? Yep. But that brings us to the next point. A good knot is critical to using fluorocarbon. I think in both cases that our breakoffs occurred it could be attributed to a biting knot or a knick down close to the knot.
Want to know who fluorocarbonâs worst enemy is? Itself.
Want me to prove it? You need to tie an arbor knot. An arbor knot is a half hitch around the line that forms a big hoop. Then at the end of the tag end you tie another half hitch. This is how a lot of us attach fishing line to our spools. Cinch the half hitch down tight around the line. The slide the line back and forth through that half hitch. It coils, twists and makes jagged edges on the line. Your line will look a lot worse than if it had just drug a cinder block over a bank of riprap. Fluorocarbon because of its make up digs into itself and scrapes on itself more than mono or braid.
Thatâs why a lot of guys get bent out of shape on tying knots with fluorocarbon. Truth is you can tie a great knot on fluoro, even a Palomar knot. I know some people swear by the San Diego Jam knot. But a knot I use a lot, when Iâm not just using a Palomar knot, is a double clinch knot. Some call it a three-tag knot.
Regardless of what knot you tie, most folks know that wetting the line will help maintain strength. But for me, something Iâve learned that is even more important is to keep the knot loose until the very last second. What guys often do with a knot like the Palomar is they cinch down that first half hitch. Now the line is just cutting on itself as you pull the loop down tight. Same thing with the double clinch. If youâll keep the inner knot loose and pull the tags down slow and steady and keep all your wraps lined up in order with no crossing. Then wet and slowly tighten to avoid too much digging, your knot will be much stronger with fluoro.
Weâre going to demonstrate these knots in greater detail soon. There is no need to fear knots in fluorocarbon.
Back to my broke off fish. What happened? I got in a hurry. I tied a fast knot like Iâve tied a million times and my line dug into itself I believe. If I had slowed down a second or two, wet it and got it tied nice and smoothly, Iâm sure Iâd have a few more dollars in the bank. But thatâs fishing. My hope is every outing makes me a better angler on the next outing.