Tight Lines


    Geometry says that a line is the distance between two points. In fishing there are only two points I’m concerned with. Where the fish strikes and where it falls into the boat. Fisherman math again. Take that Pythagoras.

    But to get that lunker in we have to have lines of our own. Fishing lines not the other kinds. Well, there are quite a few types of line out there. If you're starting out it might all seem a bit confusing. Don’t worry, sometimes I still get confused about all of it too. But one day you’ll learn to do what all experienced anglers do. 

     “Act like we know exactly what we're doing until we either figure it out or somebody notices. Then our other skill kicks in. BS. Most of the fish in those stories weren’t really that big.”

    But hey, were fishermen not scientists. 



     Monofilament is by far the most popular. The main reason is because it’s cheaper to make. It’s made from a single strand of plastic instead of several like some other ones.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not good. I use monofilament all the time. It’s best for lighter tackle light trout fishing. It’s good for those fish that spook easily because it’s harder to see it.   

     Monofilament is strong but still has some elasticity to it. Sometimes this is good, other times not so much. It’s good if your drag is too tight and you hook something bigger than expected. That stretch will give you a little leeway. 

    That stretch also affects the memory of it. Which means you have to change it more often. But it’s cheaper, right?


      Up next are the fluorocarbon lines. These are made from a type of polymer called Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF). What all that chemistry means to fishermen is that it’s a very strong line that is almost invisible to fish. Harder to see than mono and has less stretch.

    This means it’s also more expensive. But it does last longer. Quite a bit longer. It’s super resilient to pollutants in the water and UV rays. Means it doesn’t dry rot or deteriorate from chemicals usually found in boats. Like gas and oil. There is good for engines bad for lines.

    Less stretch means it has more sensitivity. You can feel more. Not all the big ones NAIL it. Some big trout barely touch the lure. The extra sensitivity helps getting those bites. 

    This is the line the pros swear by. Just check the price and see if it’s in your budget. Will you catch more fish with it? Maybe? But it will last longer, soooooo.


    This line is created from two strands of nylon instead of the one that mono has. It’s generally better than mono. At least in some aspects.

   Since it’s made from 2 different strands it can be tweaked for different things. Usually it’s tougher than mono, has less stretch, and it is stronger. It’s still hard to see but mono might be less visible. It also has less memory than mono. It also costs more. 

   Is it worth the cost? Maybe? I don’t use it. You can make up your own mind about it down the road. As in the last thing you should try down the road.


    Braided line is like multiple lines all braided together. Is it stronger than mono? Yes. Is it better? Well? In some cases, it is.

    It does cast farther and because it's thinner you can fit more on your reel. It is stronger than mono. It is a lot more visible than mono. It doesn’t stretch as much. And it has less memory.

    So if you need a strong line, and a lot of it, and the water isn’t completely clear, then yes this would work better than mono.


 It does cost more. Not as much as it used to, but it still does cost more. If it’s worth the extra cost and you actually have that need, then by all means use it. Just remember this, there was a long time when the only line available was monofilament. And people still caught fish.,

   For that matter people used to use lines made of sinew to catch fish. Look how visible that is. Fishermen are pretty good at what we do. Catching fish.


     The only time and place to use the fly line is fly fishing. Don’t try putting this on your spin caster and think it’s going to work well. It won’t. But I’m pretty sure there are people out there who have tried this. I’m surprised I haven't, not all my ideas are great ones. I try to keep those quiet now and just share the good ones publicly. 

    Yes, I do still have bad ideas. Everybody does. Unless you stop having ideas. As fishermen and outdoors people we never run out of new ways to do things. Not yet anyway. I don’t see the day coming anytime soon when we have it all figured out.


    As unlikely as it seems, the fishing line has memory. Well, fishing line memory is the uncanny ability of the line to want to remain spooled, or in the shape it was on the reel. And it sucks.

     If you pay attention you can see it starting to happen and change lines then. If not, you’ll make a cast one day and all you’ll have is a mess to cut loose and change. 

    The lines have different amounts of memory that I covered in the line section. Rinsing off your lines and reels when you get in will help cut down on it. So will keeping them kept out of the sun when you're not using them.



    Line strength is simple. Bigger number means it holds more weight. With line it's called the lbs test. Which means when they tested it, it could hold that much weight before it broke.

     This is not the maximum weight of a fish that you can catch with this line. Things like drag and rod pressure will let you catch fish a lot bigger than your lbs test.

   For bass and trout I usually use 8 to 10. Sometimes I like to go really light, like 4 to 6, and use light tackle. This is finesse training and a whole lot of fun. Great way to teach people it’s not just about muscling in a fish. Sometimes it takes a delicate touch. Like a lot of other things in life. You’ll have to learn those on your own. I only teach fishing and outdoors. Relationships aren’t my strong suit. So I've been told.

When to change

    At some point you WILL have to change lines. This is unavoidable. There is no exact way to know how long it will take. It depends on the type, how you take care of it, and how often you use it.

   When it starts to break easy, change it. When it starts to keep the shape of the reel, change it. Uncomfortable with it, change it.


    Change your line at home and dispose of it in the trash. If you absolutely have to change it when fishing. Store it in something and take it with you. There is already too much stuff outdoors that doesn’t need to be there.

   And if you see some when you're out. PICK IT UP! A little effort from everyone will go a long way. Try to keep in mind you are a steward and a guest to these places and treat them as such.

   We are supposed to leave it better than we found it. The outdoors and the world in general. I know I will, I pray you do the same. Then generations still to come can enjoy these wild places too. They might even find them better than we did. It’s up to us.


Enjoy the outdoors, Life is out here!