There are many tools in an angler’s repertoire to consider when searching for the ideal equipment to go bass fishing with. One of the most important and overlooked pieces of equipment is the fishing line. Your entire fishing setup hinges on your line being the right color, type, and strength, so what types are the best to use?
To choose what line to use for bass fishing, consider the type of fishing line. Monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines are all generally suitable for bass fishing, but each is better for different conditions, like topwater or deep. The best line is the one that best fits your needs.
You may be specifically angling to catch bass, but a good fishing line will help in any situation. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the finer points about the fishing line, as well as some general bass fishing tips to help give you an edge on the water.
Fishing Line: Does It Really Matter, and How Much?
It can be easy to overlook the fishing line in favor of new lures, bait, and rods, but the line is what ultimately helps you reel in the fish. Realistically, every single piece of tackle you own, including the line, should have a specific purpose and help you achieve that purpose as efficiently as possible. It can be easy to stick to monofilament for all your fishing, like many purists do, but does that really help you when bass fishing?
Perhaps not. Line with as much stretch in it as monofilament isn’t ideal for catching bass, but maybe a braided line would help. Every type of fishing line has numerous unique characteristics that can either help or hinder your quest to catch fish, and that includes bass.
To directly answer the title of this section: Yes, the fishing line does matter, but only to the extent that it matches your preparedness as a fisherman with your other equipment and knowledge that you arm yourself with.
Characteristics of Fishing Line
All fishing lines have different characteristics that set them apart from other types of lines, and this can be good or bad for you depending on your exact circumstances.Six of these are:
- Buoyancy. Some fishing line stays near the surface, which can be great for topwater fishing but not so great for those deeper fish. For those, heavier line sinks and stays tauter, allowing more depth at the cost of control.
- Memory. This is the term for how much your line curls when it comes off your spool. Lines with a lot of memory tend to curl and kink up quickly, making it difficult to cast far accurately and softly.
- Abrasion resistance. Most lines are abrasion resistant to some degree these days, but everyone’s had a fishing line gets cut by a stray rock. A higher-end line that specifically advertises abrasion resistance can be handy when fishing in hazardous areas with lots of rocks or other hard obstacles. This also helps prevent the fish from straight-up chomping your line to bits.
- Stretchiness. A stretchy line can be useful to have some versatility when hooking and reeling a fish, especially for those big head shakes bass like to do. On the other hand, more taut lines give you more tactile feedback and precise control over what you’re doing.
- Shock resistance. Not electricity, but resistance to sudden impacts or pulls. Many cheap lines out there can’t hold up to some of the bigger bass suddenly jerking and snapping the line – this is where you need to look into fishing line with better shock impact resistance.
- Visibility. Many folks use clear lines, which usually works fine, but if the water is clear, the fish might see your line and swim away. Depending on the color of the water, your lure, bait, and the light conditions, you may want to opt for a colored line that better matches the water’s unique color in the area you’re fishing.
Consider the Type of Fishing Line
Now that we have a good idea of what qualities different lines have, we’ll be taking a closer look at specific types of fishing lines, their pros and cons, and when you may want to employ them in your arsenal. These vary widely, but we’ll be sure to cover everything so you can make informed decisions when considering what to take with you on your next fishing trip.
Ah, the old classic: monofilament. The word is a fancy way of saying ‘single thread,’ but the fact remains that the line has become a classic beloved by fishermen everywhere. It’s cheap and easy to handle… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here! Regardless, this fishing line has been popular for over 50 years for some good reasons we’ll be listing below. Additionally, we’ll include a list of cons to help balance it out.
Pros of Monofilament
- Stretchy, which can be a lifesaver and a good line to learn for beginners, so you have extra leeway when reeling a big bass in.
- Possibly the most used fishing line in the country, if not the world, makes supply plentiful and prices dirt cheap. The price is simply unbeatable.
- Very buoyant line, which makes top fishing with simple lures easy. Also great for reaction baits because the stretchiness helps the fish get the bait in its mouth easier.
- It comes in many colors to choose from, making it easy to customize different amounts for varying fishing environments.
- Low memory means you have a lot less tangling and ‘bird’s nest’ effects from backlashes.
- Recyclable, so if you do have to cut a line, you can save it to recycle later.
- Easy to tie a variety of common knots with.
- The lightness of the line makes it very easy to cast, though with a small hit to precision in windy conditions.
- It can be used with virtually every type of reel out there; ultra compatible.
Cons of Monofilament
- Line strength is much lower than other types of fishing lines of comparable diameters. This may make it less than ideal for those big bass who like to shake and get aggressive.
- Lightweight means it can’t be cast with great precision, especially in any kind of windy weather. Don’t use monofilament if you need a long cast!
- Stretchiness can be a downside because you won’t feel light nibbles and need to put in a solid amount of effort to do anything with your lure.
- The degree of memory monofilament has combined with how light it is combined to sabotage potential casts if left spooled for long periods of time.
- Breaks down way faster than other lines, especially when exposed to direct sunlight or UV light.
- Absorbs a lot of water, which can change how it acts on a spool, during a cast, and in the water.
Is Monofilament Good for Bass Fishing?
Yes, monofilament is a solid choice for bass fishing, especially for beginners. The amount of versatility and ease of use it has are the primary reasons it’s become so popular over the decades since its inception. The stretchiness of the line helps prevent bass from spitting your lure or the hook tearing a hole in the fish’s mouth.
Monofilament has been a staple of all types of fishing and does most things very well and doesn’t particularly do anything badly. For depth or particularly tough bass, you may choose another line, but for most fishing, monofilament will serve you well.
Fluorocarbon came around during the 70s and was originally much stiffer than it is now – it used to only be suitable as a leader. The material is very similar to monofilament but is much denser. Chemically, this fishing line is kissing distance away from freon and Teflon, two household substances you may have some degree of familiarity with. Favored for clearwater fishing, fluorocarbon is here to stay.
Pros of Fluorocarbon
- Nearly invisible in most conditions, so you’ll be far less likely to spook a fish with your line. No other line is as non-refractive as fluorocarbon.
- The fluorocarbon line is extremely resistant to abrasion, making this ideal for areas with lots of rocks.
- The line is very dense and therefore sinks, helping you get into those deep and weedy areas that bass like to hide in.
- Doesn’t absorb water as monofilament does.
- Just like monofilament, fluorocarbon is easy to tie knots with and has good knot strength.
- Fluorocarbon is stiff by nature but does have a degree of stretchiness that can be helpful for that stubborn bass.
- Excellent feedback even when the line is slack, giving you that extra bit of information.
Cons of Fluorocarbon
- Stiffness makes this line more suitable as a leader and tougher to spool, but it’s technically usable.
- This line sinks, so you might want to use something else for topwater lures.
- Being stiffer than monofilament, knots are a bit harder to tie and have to be secured more tightly.
- Fluorocarbon has very high memory, making it more likely to curl and kink up at the wrong moments. Backlashes can be very painful ordeals with this line.
- This line is significantly more expensive than monofilament.
Is Fluorocarbon Good for Bass Fishing?
Fluorocarbon’s greater sensitivity than monofilament makes it easier to flip your lures through heavy weeds and make those quick decisions you need to hook a wily bass. Fluorocarbon is the line for you if you’re concerned about fish seeing your line and getting away, or if you want that extra bit of sturdiness that monofilament just doesn’t provide. Because you can stretch the line if necessary, it provides similar benefits to monofilament at a higher cost.
Braided Fishing Line
While the previous two types we covered were more or less similar, the braided line is entirely new. This heavy-duty line is made from weaving together several types of polyethylenes like Spectra and Dacron. Different braided lines with more or less interwoven strands provide varying benefits that a savvy angler can choose from to optimize their next trip to the lake.
Funnily enough, many of the pros of this line can also be considered cons under certain conditions.
Pros of Braided Fishing Line
- 4-16 strands interwoven together makes this among the strongest fishing line money can buy.
- Depending on the number of strands, can be as thin as monofilament with multiple times the strength.
- No memory, meaning this line flows off the spool with zero worries about kinks, curls, or messy backlash.
- The most sensitive fishing line for anglers who like to feel even the smallest nibble on their lure.
- Easy to cast to the desired location, even far away, with complete precision.
- Easy to use in weedy waters and cut through troublesome vegetation that other lines would get snarled in.
- This line floats and is great for topwater applications.
- Doesn’t absorb water.
- Resistant to sunlight and UV decay.
- Lasts much longer than fluorocarbon and monofilament.
- Great for high-strength lures
- Compatible with any reel but best used with spinning reels.
Cons of Braided Fishing Line
- No stretch means that you have no leeway to overplay your fish. Mistakes can and will cost you a fish, so employ this line carefully!
- It is easy to spot in the water, making it more likely for fish to spot it and get scared off, especially in clear water.
- Depending on the coating, the line may not be very abrasion-resistant.
- Knots are hard to tie, and some common knots on other lines are flat-out impossible to tie with braided lines.
- Much more expensive than monofilament.
- Colored braided lines tend to fade over time and become more visible.
Is Braided Line Good for Bass Fishing?
Braided lines can be great for bass fishing, especially in areas with lots of weeds or vegetation. It can help you pull a fish out of weed before it can get itself stuck, but you have to be careful about the fact that it doesn’t stretch like other types of lines do.
A braided line gives great precision, power, and sensitivity, but it is much more visible than other fishing lines and doesn’t leave as much room for error when hooking a fish. Just like with the other lines, you have to decide if you can live with the downsides to gain the benefits of the upsides.
What Fishing Line Is Best for Bass?
Now that you’ve got a solid idea of the different characteristics of these three lines, which one is best? Unfortunately, it’s not as cut and dry as that. Each line, as you see, has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and you may want to own all three for different conditions.
Monofilament is generally best for beginners because it’s easy to use, tie knots with, and offers a high degree of forgivingness with hooking fish. The lack of precision and exact control, not to mention it floats, makes it not that great if you want to know about every little bite on your lure. Monofilament is the cheapest of all fishing lines, so it’s never bad to have some on hand.
Fluorocarbon is great for deep water and is practically invisible, making it ideal for clear conditions where bass might spot other types of fishing lines. It’s stiffer than monofilament, has greater sensitivity, and even a bit of stretchiness to help with those stubborn bass. If you fish in clear water a lot, fluorocarbon may give you the edge you need.
If maximum precision, strength, and control are what you’re after, the braided line may just be for you. It’s more visible than other lines in the water, making it better for murky water, but the top-notch sensitivity and power it offers beat the others. That is, if you can live with the fact that you’ll have to pick your battles with fish very carefully and pay the higher price this fishing line commands.
Quick Bass Fishing Tips
Bass fishing demands you be on top of your game, which is where it’s useful to keep practicing, especially your cast. Ideally, you want a precise cast with a soft presentation that doesn’t alert the fish too much. Try using different types of lures and bait depending on the diet of your local bass – use silver if they eat shad, and small plastic if they mostly eat minnows and small fish.
Weather patterns are crucial to pay attention to. Before storms, increased air pressure makes the bass more active and, therefore, more likely to want to bite. Bass especially love to hide in vegetation like weeds and covered areas such as docks. Patrol these areas regularly for an increased chance at catching fish.
It never hurts to try new techniques, such as different rods you may not be familiar with. If you’ve never used a spinning rod before, try exclusively using one for a day or so. More familiarity with a wider range of equipment is never a bad thing!
Unfortunately, there’s no single best type of fishing line, or you’d already know about it! Thankfully, each of these three types of popular fishing lines possesses traits that make it useful for hunting bass according to your unique needs as an angler, the weather, and the water. No matter your needs, these three have you covered for bass fishing.