Change your line now, avoid losing a big fish later
As a follow-up to last week's discussion about summer fishing preparation we will discuss the need for fresh fishing line this week. Line from last year that has been left on your reels will have a tremendous amount of line memory and have "curls" in the line. The line will also deteriorate form exposure to light and mineral residue from last year. Changing to fresh line will reduce frustrations, and you don't want to get out on the lake and loose the fish of a lifetime due to the failure of old line.
There are three primary line options to choose from. The first is the longstanding and most popular monofilament line. The new monofilaments are smaller diameter and are a better quality than they ever have been. They do have line stretch, and at times will still create the frustrating "line twist." When you do get line twist you can cut your lure off, let half your spool out behind the boat while at idle speed, drag the line for a few minutes and reel in. Your line twist should be gone. If that doesn't solve the problem re-spool with fresh line. I still like the monofilaments and use them for most local applications. Line sizes in the 4-8lb test will serve most your needs. The 4lb will be excellent for the early season crappie and sunfish you are going to catch.
The fluorocarbon lines have been some of the more increasing popular lines to use. The fluorocarbons are a very low stretch, sensitive and low visibility line. They are a heavier line that does not absorb water so they do not have any flotation. When first introduced they were not very supple and had poor knot strength. These lines have been improved dramatically over the last two years and are a major player in the line market. They will sometimes have a slightly higher line diameter for pound test strength compared to some of the competitive monofilaments.
The most revolutionary line changes in the last few years have come from the category known as "super lines." The most common of these lines include Fireline, PowerPro, and Spiderwire. They are a no stretch, small diameter line. They are, by diameter, stronger than steel. Most are at least three to four times the strength of a monofilament line of the same diameter. These lines are more expensive at the initial cash out of pocket, but may be cheaper in the long run, as you will get multiple seasons out of these lines. They also resist line twist and have become much desired because of that characteristic. Some fishermen prefer these lines for all applications. I find that they really excel when trolling crank baits, deep water jigging, or jigging in high current situations.
There is little forgiveness with the super lines. If you feel the fish, they also feel you. You will typically need to fish a softer tip rod, back your drag down, and change your hook set. If you pick up a foot of line above water you also pick up a foot at the bottom business end of your line.
Some considerations for extending the value of your line investments, I make the following suggestions. If spooling with monofilament or fluorocarbon lines you can remove half to 2/3 of the line off your spool, tie the new line to your old line and fill the rest with your new line. You will be able to fill more spools or fill more times due to the backfill on your spool.
For the super lines, after your second season, spool the line from your spool onto another spool. The line that has been exposed will now be the deep line in your spool, and the line that never saw the light of day before will now be the line exposed on the new spool. You should be able to get four seasons or more from your super lines this way.
I have the benefit of having multiple rods for multiple situations and get to use all three of the major line types. If you don't have the luxury of multiple rods, you can at least fill different spools with different lines. Most spinning reels now come with extra spools. Simply change spools to fish with a different line. You may have to try all three line types to decide which one is right for you.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)