Tackle Tips

Keeping a Line on Fishing Rods and Reels

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Notating line sizes on various rods and keeping up with their shelf life can diminish mishaps  

Bass fishing is all about connecting with the fish. A good angler has to be able to find the bass by understanding their tendencies related to the fishing and the seasons. Then he has to make them bite. Once he makes them bite he has to keep them hooked up while playing them to the boat and landing them. In all of that, the line is probably the most critical link between the bite and the livewell in fishing.

If you fish a lot then you’ve probably had one of those “slumps” that avid anglers often discuss with disgust. Those slumps where you’re continually breaking off on fish. It makes you question everything about how you fish. Am I using bad line? Am I using old line? Am I setting the hook too hard? Am I not retying enough? Am I fishing too aggressively?

It makes you start changing your mechanics, how you set the hook and even the knots you tie. Often the culprit is nothing more than the line breaking down from sunlight, heat and age, something that can easily be remedied if you change your line a little more frequently. If you’re like us, you buy a lot of line and keep all different pound tests, different colors and different types around for various different fishing scenarios.

No one fishing line does everything we need it to do. Some lines are better at resisting abrasion. Some lines give us a little more distance on casting. Some lines could winch an old Toyota Tundra out of a mud hole.

We find that having lots of options and then keeping up with those options on our reels has reduced a lot of the frustrating line issues that can occur.

One way we do that is by using line tags to help us keep up with the line on our rods. We might put 14 pound mono on a rod for cranking shallow. It could also work for a topwater rod. We definitely don’t want to pick up that rod with 15 pound fluoro on it and start chucking a Rapala X-Rap Walk around as we’re going to be fighting the tendency of sinking fluorocarbon to pull the nose of the bait down.

So it helps when you have a rod locker full of rods to put a removable tag on the rod that lists its size and type so you can grab the right tool for the job. Several products like Line-Rite and Reel Stix offer already printed tags to keep up with your line on your different combos. We’ve found a waterproof marker and a small label work equally well and we like being able to put the date on our tag as well. So we know how old the line is on a combo.

We also might jot down a laundry list or keep   a spreadsheet of which combo has what line on it. I like the spreadsheet because I have more than 30 combos to keep up with and remember which rod has what line on it can be a nightmare. I can also notate brands, dates spooled, if it has backing, and more so that if I do have a particular problem with one, I have some data to figure out what was going on with that line.

Have we as anglers caught bass on old junky line? Sure. But the bigger question is how many big fish have we lost because of a line issue? For us, one is too many. So we’re pretty particular about keeping up with our line. What other things do you do to keep up with your favorite bass fishing, walleye fishing or panfishing line?

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