Lines and Knots

Learn what line to use, when and how to tie the perfect knot for various techniques and line types

What's the best line and rod setup when using a dipsy diver for salmon?

50-pound line (12-pound diameter) to the dipsy and using a snubber to take up the shock of having the fish hitting the bait. Then use a 17-pound fluorocarbon leader from the dipsy to the lure. This may help with getting more hits. As for the pound strength for the rod, a 15- to 30-pound dipsy rod or 10- to 20-pound downrigger rod.

What pound test line is best for bass?

Anywhere between 6- to 10-pound test for spinning reels.

When using braided line, is it better to tie it straight to the bait or to a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader?

When fishing with a topwater bait, tie the braid directly to the lure. Same goes for baits that go quickly through the water, like spinnerbaits, as line color is no longer as big an issue. With slower retrieves for suspended lures, a fluorocarbon leader is best so fish can't see your line.

How do I avoid twists when I'm putting on new line?

For spinning reels, lay the spool down on the ground and lay it so the line comes off the spool counter-clockwise while your reeling the new line onto the reel. Pause for a second and lower your rod tip: if the line lays flat on the ground, then it is going on correctly, if the line starts to twist up, then turn the line spool over and re-spool it again. On baitcast reels, make sure the line is coming off the line spool straight-at-you and begin reeling the line on to your bait cast reel. Always check to see if the line is twisting when you first start to load it onto your spinning reels. If it does, change the direction the line is coming off the spool.

When should I be using braided lines, monofilament, or fluorocarbon lines? Does it matter?

Braided Lines: Best for bottom contact baits such as jigs, grubs, tubes, Texas rigged soft plastics, or fishing in super heavy cover. Braid excels in stained waters, heavy cover, and/or deep water for increased sensitivity and rock solid hooksets.

Fluorocarbon Lines: Best for clear water presentations. Fluoro excels when used for crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop shotting and finesse presentations such as shaky head or jig fishing. Not recommended for topwater lures since the sinking properties will wreak havoc on your presentation.

Monofilament/Copolymer lines: Best when stretch is needed such as topwater fishing lures like walking baits, popping baits, buzzbaits, or chugging baits. Monofilament is also good for any horizontal presentation such as crankbaits or spinnerbaits in not-so clear waters. The floating properties of this type of line make it ideal for any open water topwater presentation or when less depth is desired on diving lures. This can be achieved by upping the line diameter causing resistance in the water.

Is there an easy way to fix the "bird's nest" that can occur when using a baitcaster?

Firstly, don't start putting significant pressure on the line trying to yank it free, as this will only make it tighter. The trick is to find the loop of line that has hooked over your lead line leaving your reel. Find that loop while the spool is free spinning and slowly work it out and away from your lead line. When you get it to the right spot, it should only take a bit of a steady pull to begin removing the rest of the tangle. Another trick is to keep pressure on the spool with your other thumb when trying to work out the remainder. This will stop the line from continually slipping under the mess.

Should I use braid, mono, or fluorocarbon line when pitching and flipping? What pound test?

When in heavy cover, using braided line at about 65 pounds is recommended. When fishing in super clear water and flipping, it is better to use a 20- or 25-pound fluorocarbon line. In general, however, braided line works best, and mono should hardly be considered.

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