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roadwarrior

Line Size for Smallmouth

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Several years ago I was with a guide on Bull Shoals Lake, the first week of June. This was yesterday, as in "you should have been here yesterday". We have a big bite going which lasted throughout the day. We started early and my guide was out-catching me at least 5 to 1 which I attributed to (1) he's a better fisherman, duh (2) it's his lake, (3) we were throwing a Gitzit that I was not used to fishing, etc. Nope, he asked what size line I was using (8 lb) and suggested I switch to 6 lb. This changed everything.

Now Bull Shoals is crystal clear but that's not exactly the answer. Same thing happen last spring while fishing with my buddy on the Tennessee River with visibility of 2-3 ft. I'm not completely retarded but I thought 8 lb might be a better choice than 6 lb due to the very rough structure in the river. Not if you want to catch fish!

So, here's the question: Taking water clarity out of the equation, why is 6lb test line so much more effective than 8 lb test when fishing for smallmouth bass?

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Ah the old "You should have been here yesterday" statement. All guides are guilty of saying that when we're trying to keep up the excitement of the day.  As for the line, 8 to 6 lb test really shouldn't make that big of a difference. The 6lb would have less visability and being thinner might help the jig be presented in a more natural mannor, but as a guide talking to you now, it's more of a confidence factor. If you believe it will catch more fish, you will fish it better , knowing it will catch more fish.

I use 10lb Stren Magnathin, which has a thin diameter simmular to 6lb. I also use a moss green which makes it almost invisable in our river here. I do that to pick up more bonus walleyes than anything else.I keep extra line on board just for the client if he wants to switch.

The guide will almost always outfish the client (if he wants to) because it's his daily backyard and other things you mentioned, him getting you to change to something he's useing will give you a confidence boost and make you focus more.thus your fish catching ratio  will be closer to his.

We do whatever it takes to get the client to catch more fish, and if we can get them to catch more fish than us, it's even better.

                      Best regards

                         L.D.

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Thanks L.D., your comments make sense.  But I take a lot of guys fishing (just for fun, I'm not a guide) and I promise you the 6 lb test line consistantly makes a huge difference.  We are generally drifting live minnows and maybe the weight or water resistance has some effect, I really don't know.

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I will never fish light jigs in river smallie waters with 8lb.  I can't cast it as well, the action of the jig is impeded, and I think the bass see it better. On really tough days like today was, I went down to four pound line after an hour of no fish with six, to catch the five that I worked hard to get. Since my eyes are no longer as good as they once were, I use a slightly flourescent line to watch very carefully. Four of my five bites were not really felt at all.  The current just seemed a tad heavier.

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          How heavy of a smallmouth will 6 pound line hold? I lost a smallmouth that I guessed to be at least 4 pounds on 8 pound line. I want to fish thinner line without lousing fish, or the ability to cast. Is this possible? Thanks.

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I have had clients land 5lb. smallmouth on 4lb line, but most of the time they break off. I try to talk them into a minimum 6lb test so they will land more fish( and they won't loose so many of my jigs in the rocks).

Like I said earlier, I use 10lb Stren Magnathin which is the aprox. diameter of 6lb mono. It gives me the strenght I want with the casting and lure pesentaion I'm looking for.

I'm sure there are other brands which will do the same thing, but when I find a line that works for me, I don't go looking for another.

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I trust L.D. on this one, but I do struggle with the difference between 6 and 8 pound line.  I could see a bigger difference if you were using 12lb and your guide was using 6lb, but there isn't much difference in diameter between 6 and 8.

As I said, I trust L.D. on this one, he's a guide and I'm not.  If he told me to use 6lb I would.

However the guide most likely has a "better feel" for light strikes than the client.  Especially when fishing for deep smallies (20+ft).  I know at Lake Erie, I sometimes have trouble distinguishing the "light hits" from multiple small rocks on the bottom, which often keeps me from setting the hook when I should probably go ahead and take a swing.

Reattacks L.D.??  By the way, where do you guide again.  I went and looked through posts but I didn't see it.

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Hi AUTgrPilot

This will be my 25th year as a guide on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, in Pa.,Guide # 05-050. The stretch I guide in is 80 miles long, thats about all the rocks,I care to remember.

It's reletively shallow, 15ft deep is the deepest spot in my stretch. And it's extreamly rocky on the bottom. Let your bait sit for 5 seconds on the bottom and you're snaged.

You're correct, sometimes the bite is so faint that it's hard to feel the difference between fish and small rocks. I always tell my clients, when in doubt, set the hook and reel like heck, or something close to that.

L.D.

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I'm trying 4 lb diameter (8.5 lb test) Yo-Zuri Hybrid during the winter months. Will report the results of this test later.

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Fellows, a winter smallie in my parts is a colder, slower moving beast. That water in the lower 40's really slows and weakens even a big sow.

They can be handled on four pound decently, but I do long for 6 when I see a 20 inch plus fat winter brownie trying to shake free. Hey, if she gets away, so what? I can catch her again next week!Rather than broken lines, I find that the jig hook will occasionally fall out because the jigs I use have smaller hooks which were "secured" on hookset, not slammed, and the 4lb. line will have a little more stretch than 6.

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I'm using a medium power/ moderate action rod and most importantly, a Gamakatsu circle hook...So there is no "hook set" just a pull. With standard shiner hooks, or jigs and grubs, I use fast action/ medium power to get a better hook set.

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Hey Butch

Mostly,I use a medium-light, 6 1/2' fast action tip.

Of the 4 rods I use daily, 1-medium, 2-med-light,1-light. All 6 1/2', all the same line.

Remember, I guide where there isn't many weeds and even less wood. I got the whole river to play them, at least before I get to the rapids.

L.D.

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I thought I might update this post with the results of my 4 lb experiment.

4 lb diameter Yo-Zuri Hybrid is 8.5 lb breaking strength, 6 = 11.9. I had great success with the 4 lb line. I'm using it exclusively on my main smallmouth rig (G. Loomis PR844S/ Shimano Stella 2500FB). I have also converted to circle hooks only, specifically #6 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks.

For my other spinning rigs, I am spooling 6 lb Hybrid. I predominately fish soft plastics on these rods and the 6 lb line has worked out very well.

(Note: I had been using circle hooks on a different rig which is medium power, moderate action. I'm now using them with the PR844S which is medium power/ fast action).

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Although I don't really think it matters, I have been using white just because I found some on sale!

My preference and suggestion to you is green, it's a better match to most water.

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I have noticed the same thing.  Fishing not only smallies but largies too(not as shy though)  Always throw the smallest size line possible.  For me unfortunately I cant throw less then 12 very many places but when I can I do.  Typically I will throw 8lb flouro for senkos, sometimes 6.  Open water fishing I agree RW go light there is no reason to use heavy line.

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No, it was a Wal-Mart in Arkansas, but each store has unadvertised specials on occasion. Just got lucky!

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I have seen the same thing.

I was fishing a tournaments On Lake Erie (my first on Erie). The guy I was fishing with was using the same lures I was, but he was using 8lb line I had 10lb line. For every fish I caught he caught 5. He kept telling me to change. I wouldn't listen. Finally he threw a spool of 8lb to me and said" Spool up Now" I did and after that it was fish for fish.

Now I use 8Lb P-line Floroclear always when fishing Erie. I tried 6# worked great, but up there we have Zebra Muscles and the 6 doesn't hold up well against them.

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The storey on Floru should make the difference between 6 and 8 nothing but I've had several experience were I got bite better with 6 than 8. So far I'm sticking to not using 4 so far.

Garnet

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I just wanted to comment on the question how big of bass will 6lb catch.  Well I started using 6lb yo-zuri this year for steelhead b/c I had such good luck last year for smallies with it and I have landed several cromeheads this year already on the river that has ranged from 10 to 16#'s.  My personal oppinion is that the line will do just about anything you want it to as long as you take your time and let your rod do the work.  Have patients.

Tight Lines

Scott

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What is the difference between 6-lb test and 8-lb test. . . Oh, roughly speaking about 0.0006" (six ten thousand of an inch) on average.  Can a fish measure that, YEP!  But, I says it was another factor -- experience.

That was a BAD GUIDE!  A guide is NEVER to fish with a customer, because it is a SIN for a guide to catch a BIGGER fish or even worse, MORE fish than a customer.  Guides are to boost the customer's confidence and make them feel like they are a SuperStar!

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That was a BAD GUIDE! A guide is NEVER to fish with a customer, because it is a SIN for a guide to catch a BIGGER fish or even worse, MORE fish than a customer. Guides are to boost the customer's confidence and make them feel like they are a SuperStar!

Not so much the case here in RI.  Many of my friends guide here on Narragansett Bay and they are paid mainly to teach and locate.  Fishing alongside the customer and explaining as you go is the standard here.  Of course, the personal request of the client is everything.  If the client asks that you strictly locate, so be it.  Customer's choice.  Often times, the captain will simply ask what the customer would like to do.

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One thing to consider is that one manufacturer's 6 lb. test will be different than another manufacturer's 6 lb. test.

I know that 8 lb. test P-Line CX is 0.009" in diameter.  6 lb. Yo-Zuri Hybrid UltraSoft is also 0.009" in diameter.  10 lb. test Berkley XL is 0.011" in diameter.

I tend to judge lines by their diameter rather than the listed lb. test rating.  I consider 0.007-0.009" diameter lines to be just right for smallie fishing.

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