Any discussion regarding what fishing line a fisherman should use must be prefaced by saying that all fishing lines will catch fish. While there is no arguing that, there most certainly is a vast amount of room for refinement and opinion. What follows is a few of my opinions on fishing line. I've tried a number of different lines - certainly not all of them, but enough of them to feel reasonably comfortable in my choices. So, here goes and let the debate begin!
A few years ago, my fishing reels - too many of them by the way - were spooled with about a dozen different sizes, brands and types of fishing line. I decided that needed to be cleaned up. I had too many variations of line. It was too confusing, especially when I started paying more attention to the benefits, limitations and applications of today's fishing line.
I spent a full fishing season paying close attention to how various fishing lines performed. In the process I made some decisions on what lines to eliminate and what lines needed more evaluation. In the end, I made the choice to stick with one brand of line rather than confuse the issue by using multiple brands of line.
Yes, quite expectedly - and I'm sure to the delight of line manufacturers - I had to purchase new line to replace some line that really wasn't in need of replacement. Some of the new lines are getting a bit pricey too. Then there are the "new and improved" lines that hit the market each year. An example is Spiderwire's new Fluoro-braid, touted to be a sinking braid. Other companies, like Suffix, make a similar line with a similar claim.
As it turned out, I like the new Fluoro-braid and how it behaves. Is it better than standard braid? When it comes to pitching cranks and spinnerbaits, I have noticed a difference in depth, but probably nowhere near what is claimed. There are a ton of variables to consider though - such as line test, weight of lure and diving ability of a particular crankbait.
The species of fish being targeted and under what conditions is also a huge consideration in line selection. The guy pulling pike or bass out of the weeds with strong braid likely won't have any success with that line trying to catch walleyes in the Missouri. Lighter line in monofilament or fluorocarbon are excellent choices in the Missouri where low visibility line is important.
Fortunately, many spinning reels on today's market come with a second spool. That makes it easy to have a couple of line choices available at all times. It also makes it relatively easy to experiment with a different size or choice of fishing line rather than packing an extra rod and reel.
What many fishermen are looking for is the perfect, all-around fishing line. You know, one that works for walleyes in clear water and pike or bass in a variety of conditions. I don't think that line exists. A compromise used by some fishermen is to tie on a lengthy mono or fluorocarbon leader to heavier braid when necessary.
What I like to do is have three or four fishing rods ready to go for each trip. That gives me some line options and saves time getting back in the water if I get broken off in a fishy spot. Another thing I've found is that it is always a pretty good idea to have a second rod ready to go as a follow-up if you miss a fish at the boat. Bass guys pitching spinnerbaits or crankbaits usually have a tube or a worm ready to follow up when necessary. Muskie guys often have a big tube rigged and ready to go for a follow up bait.
Of course, all this "precise" selection can become overwhelming and take away from the real purpose of fishing, which is to enjoy yourself. Fish have been caught on every kind and size of line imaginable. The most important thing is to wet a line - any kind of line - and have fun doing it.