Fishing line choice is critical in the summertime.
Observers wonder why tournament angler Todd Faircloth often has three or four rods lying on his boat deck, each rigged with the same lure, but what they don't realize is that while the lures are alike, the veteran Yamaha Pro has rigged them with different types and weights of lines. As bass begin moving deeper and tighter to summer cover, Faircloth knows choosing the proper line for the conditions he's fishing can be critical to his success.
"Few issues today confuse bass fishermen more than line choices," says Faircloth, "especially since now we have to pick not only the line weight but also the line type, too. Years ago, all we had was monofilament, but today we also have braided andfluorocarbon lines, and I use all three types practically every day.
"Each line has distinct characteristics, so over the years I've determined which lines I like best for the types of fishing I do. I spent a lot of time on the water comparing lines, and I think it's something every serious bass fisherman needs to do."
Perhaps the hardest fishing line decision Faircloth made was to stop usingmonofilament. He'd been fishing that line for more than two decades, but now he uses mono only when he's making short casts to specific shallow targets like docks and brush, or underneath overhanging tree limbs and branches.
"With that type of fishing, I use a topwater popping plug almost exclusively," the Yamaha Pro continues, "and because I'm making short casts in fairly open water and want a lot of lure action, I tie the popper with a loop knot that works best with monofilament line.
I also need more stretch in the line to absorb my hook-set at close range, and 15-pound monofilament provides that better than fluorocarbon or braided line, neither of which have much stretch at all."
While braided line does not stretch, it does offer other advantages Faircloth likes when he's flipping plastic worms and creature baits into heavy veg- etation.
Braided lines are extremely strong despite their small diameter, and will literally cut through hyacinths and hydrilla if a big bass runs after be- ing hooked. Even though he uses 50-pound test braid, the line is also very sensitive so Faircloth feels strikes easier.
"I also use braided line when I'm fishing lipless crankbaits, because I can make longer casts to cover more water," he adds, "and since this type of line has no stretch, I will usually get a good hookset even when a bass hits at the end of one of those long casts.
"I also like braided line with the lipless crankbaits because I normally fish them right over the top of shallow vegetation, and if the lure gets snagged, I can rip it free and just keep reeling. I use 30-pound braid, too, so it isn't going to break."
For essentially all his other types of fishing, including using jigs, deep diving crankbaits, Texas and Carolina rigs, and even drop-shots, the Yamaha Pro prefers fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon is extremely sensitive, has less stretch than mono- filament, and is practically invisible under water. Since fluorocarbon also sinks, crankbaits dive slightly deeper, and plastic worms are easier to keep on the bottom.
"This is when people see me with several rods rigged with the same lure," laughs Faircloth, "because I'm using different line weights to determine which performs best for that particular type of fishing.
Normally, I use 15-pound test fluorocarbon most often, but in deeper water with smaller lures and finesse-style presentations I will go as light as 6-pound line, while in heavy cover I may use 25-pound line. There is a lot of difference between 6, 8, and 10-pound fluorocarbon line, so I rig them all to see which I prefer under the conditions I'm fishing.
"Fluorocarbon line had been in use in saltwater fishing for a number of years before it was intro- duced in bass fishing," concludes the Yamaha Pro, "and honestly, I was not impressed with the first fluorocarbon lines I tried. Since then, manufacturers have made a lot of improvements in them, and today these lines are a critical part of my fishing."