A Buyers Guide To Modern Fishing Line

Make a clean connection with modern fishing lines!

There are so many choices when it comes to high quality fishing lines and how best to use them for your favorite game fish. From monofilament to braid, fluorocarbon to wire, our store stocks all the lines you'll need to make your day a success. Here are some facts and tips from our experts to help you make the right line selection – and make it work!

Remember, whichever choice of lines you make, we will be glad to have our talented staff spool up your reel(s) for you. 

The braid revolution 
Braided lines were actually the first fishing lines used, with everything from horse hair to linen providing the threads woven to make a line. When DuPont introduced Dacron in the post-WWII era, braided lines reached a peak of strength and diameter unseen before. Then the same company's invention of the nylon polymer and the subsequent introduction of monofilament made all the early braids antiques.

Towards the end of the last century, innovations with aramid fibers such as Spectra and Micro-Dyneema created a new generation of so-called "super braids" that offered an incredible leap in the combination of line diameter and breaking strength. For instance, a modern braided line listed at 20-pound test has the diameter of 8-pound monofilament. The first thing you realize is that a reel can hold more than twice as much braid as mono, line that is more than twice as strong!

Braids soon became popular and reel manufacturers scrambled to adapt their products to handle the increased demands placed on a reel's internal machinery by the stronger line. In the tug of war known as fishing, something has to give and you want it to be the fish, not your line or reel.

Backing, main line and leader
When filling your reel's spool, be it spinning or conventional, the first choice is whether to start off with what is called backing. Since in many styles of fishing only the top 100 yards or so of line ever come into play, it makes sense to first partially fill the reel with a different material than the main line. To top things off, when the technique warrants or the species demands, a leader is added and is literally the end of the line!

Straight mono
One of the simplest ways to rig your reel is to fill it completely with an extruded plastic line, commonly known as monofilament. This method is very popular with smaller spinning, conventional and baitcasting reels. Simply tie on a hook or lure and it is time to fish. When the line at the top of the spool gets nicked, twisted or just too short, remove a little more than half of the line off the spool, tie the remaining end to some fresh line and respool. 

Braided lines should be a major part of your fishing strategy.

Straight braid 
There are situations and fish that call for immediate strength and pulling power. If you are lucky enough to know where to go to get into such a battle, then spooling up with straight braid could be the answer to landing more fish. The key is matching the line diameter to the fishing technique and using a strong connection to the lure or hook. One of the best is a doubled Uni-knot

Braid as backing 
Modern braided lines make excellent backing, yet once again take the concept to an entirely different level. Here's the thing we have found: braided lines are so thin that the knot used to connect it to the main line is small enough to go through the eyes of the rod guides without hanging up. That means you don't need to be worried about the backing coming into play and you can maximize your reel's line capacity.

For example, a reel that would hold 225 yards of 20-pound test will hold 500 yards of 50-pound braid. Now, do you go 50/50 braid and mono, or push the envelope and spool up with 400 yards of braid and then add a length (often called a top shot) of 20-pound that fills the reel? We'll help you make that decision, but here's a hint: run into a marlin or a tuna and you're going to want a bunch of line on your reel.

Fluorocarbon – now you see it, now you don't
Another modern innovation is fluorocarbon fishing line. Basically put, fluorocarbon is another extruded plastic product, yet differs in the fact it is created with resins the diffract light rays and make the line practically invisible underwater. Imagine how much more realistic an invisible leader makes a lure or bait look!

Fluorocarbon can now be used as a main line.

Fluorocarbon is generally more expensive than monofilament and at first was sold only in lengths suitable for use as a leader. Since then line manufacturers have come up with fluorocarbon formulas that are suitable as main line, although not necessarily cheaper!

Find the right combination 
Let's look at some real life situations and how best to approach them. Take the combination of 50-pound braid and 20-pound mono discussed above. Say you know that the fish you are going to catch will be too much to handle on 20-pound. All you have to do is strip off the mono and replace it with, say, 40-pound. Yet the fish you are after can be finicky, so you decide to add a four-foot piece of fluorocarbon as the leader. Now you have what is essentially a brand new outfit and are ready for battle!

Perhaps bass are the target and finesse is your game. A 10- or 12-pound braid has a diameter of 2- to 4-pound mono, so you will probably have to pad the spool with some thicker backing before you add your braid main line. Pair that with 8-pound fluorocarbon. Don't worry about price. The pros have found that all you need is to tie on enough so that the knot is next to or on the spool.  Since you have so closely matched braid and fluoro, the knot will not even be noticeable as it goes through the guides and soon you will be in the water with a stealthy, highly sensitive line system.

The Uni-to-Uni Knot is a versatile way to connect fishing lines.

Downright knotty
As noted, our friendly staff will be glad to show you how to make the connections between backing, main line and leader or even do it for you. We have found that one knot will do the trick for piecing the entire combo together – the Uni-to-Uni connection. An important tip for increased knot strength is to double the number of wraps (10 instead of 5 times) when using the braid tag end, and using a doubled line for the braid when connecting to heavier monofilaments and leaders.