What's your line?
The opening scene from Meredith Wilson’s musical "The Music Man" begins with a group of traveling salesmen asking about Harold Hill’s line of work. “What’s his line, what’s his line?” the first group asks. “Doesn’t worry about his line, doesn’t worry about his line,” the others reply. Fishermen, however, especially serious ones, do worry about their line – their fishing line.
Fishing line is perhaps one of the least expensive components of fishing tackle and probably one of the most overlooked. Recently, when I went to replace my old fishing line I was confronted with a bewildering choice of monofilament and braided lines that appeared to fill every possible fishing need. Since I was going to do some bass fishing the first thing I looked for was a line with good abrasion resistance. Experience shows fishing around old stumps, rocks and other heavy cover can quickly scrape and scuff a line to a point where its breaking strength is greatly diminished. In years past, I lost several big fish because the line broke, weakened by abrasion. Fishing line manufacturers' representatives tell me a microscopic nick in a monofilament fishing line can reduce the strength of the line by as much as 50 percent.
Another factor I had to consider was the line material’s ability to hold a knot. When tied in a knot, monofilament line pulls against itself and has a tendency to cut into itself because of the pressure of the knot. A super-tough line made of Spectra fiber can slip if it isn’t tied properly. A good line should be pliable enough and have enough inherent material friction that the knot does not pull through itself and become untied. A good monofilament will provide strength equal to the pound test rating provided a proper knot is tied.
I’ve found there is no easy answer when choosing a new line. Keep in mind there are lines for every fishing situation and at times multiple lines will serve better than trying to adapt a single type of line to every fishing situation. I use a different line for my spinning and baitcasting outfits because each requires its own type of line. Attention to detail is what makes a good fisherman and good fishermen change their line often. Fishing line is one of the most inexpensive components of a fisherman’s tackle. Why take chances and let the big one get away?