Matching Your Line to Every Bass Catching Technique

Matching Your Line to Every Bass Catching Technique I truly believe that when a specific technique or lure is matched with the proper line, the ultimate and perfect combination can be attained.


Fishing line

With all the line options available for today's fisherman, it may surprise you that during my younger years fishing the bass tournament circuit I exclusively used one line – Trilene XT. There were some extremely rare occasions in the spring of the year, (tossing real light, tight wiggling crankbaits), when I would switch to Trilene XL. Years later I again turned to XL when I needed crankbaits to run down to depths of 20 feet.

   It's important for the beginning angler to recognize that most of my success resulted from just those two lines; Trilene XT and XL.  And truthfully, I could have use XT exclusively - I would have simply dropped down to a smaller pound test until I found the line diameter I needed.

   Keep that in mind as we talk about selecting the "best" line for the following techniques and baits: Spinnerbaits, Crankbaits, Topwaters, Texas Rigs, Carolina Rigs, Drop-shotting, Pitching, Flipping, Blade Baits and Spoons.

   Any angler longing to perfect these techniques and lures will discover that there are some subtle but important advantages to understanding all the pros and cons of today's vast choices in fishing line.

   Most modern lines fall into three basic categories; monofilaments, superlines/braids, and fluorocarbons.  Each group has unique characteristics concerning strength, stretch and visibility. So, let's go down through my favorite baits and talk about what would be the best line to select for that bait and why.


When it comes to throwing a spinnerbait, the choice is simple; in almost all circumstances, I use a monofilament line.  I prefer a tough line like Trilene XT. 

   While monofilament is my choice for 90% of my spinnerbait fishing, there is one exception; fishing in heavy aquatic vegetation. When I am running a spinnerbait over the top of hydrilla, milfoil, or throwing back into thick lily pads, I switch to a braided line or superline, like Spiderwire or Fireline. 

   And the reason for using a braided line or superline is because of its amazing ability to cut through the aquatic vegetation. Mono will get wrapped up in the grass but not slice through it, often forcing me to go get the fish. Too often the fish will pull off by the time I get there.

   However, if I am fishing spinnerbaits around open water, wood, boat docks, or any other structure other than grass or aquatic vegetation, my preferred line is monofilament.

   Note: It is important to point out that monofilament stretches, allowing a heavier rod to be used. But braided line or superline does not stretch. Therefore, when fishing a spinnerbait on these lines, it's important to switch to a lighter rod. Fighting a big bass requires some "give" in the presentation to prevent fish from coming unbuttoned. A lighter rod makes up for the lack of line stretch by absorbing some of the shock, increasing my chances of fighting that big bass and getting it to the boat.

   Let me also point out, that setting the hook too early with a spinnerbait will lead to a lot of missed fish.  The natural stretch in monofilament gives an angler an advantage by providing a slight but very important delay in the hookset. To accomplish that same hesitation with braided or superline, I use a softer or lighter rod. It helps to create that little bit of pause during the hook set so the point has time to dig in.


If I am fishing crankbaits I prefer fluorocarbon for the simple reason it is neutral. By that, I mean it doesn't float, and allows your baits to dive a little deeper.  Line selection for crankbait fishing is simple - across the board I'm going to fishing with fluorocarbon.


When fishing topwater baits, I prefer a line that floats. This is where monofilament has the advantage.  And naturally, a bigger diameter line floats even more. I like to use a heavier line because it floats and makes my topwater baits perform properly.

Texas Rig

Unlike topwater, a floating line creates problems when Texas Rigging. This is especially true when making long casts. A floating line creates an unwanted arch in the water and all that slack makes it hard to get a solid hook set. 

   When throwing a Texas Rig, I prefer the neutral characteristics of fluorocarbon because it provides a direct link or straighter pathway through the water to my bait. Eliminating the slack helps produce a rock-solid hook set.

Carolina Rig

The reels I use for Carolina Rigging are filled with Fireline. A weight is slipped over the end of the Fireline which is then tied directly to a swivel. From the swivel, a clear fluorocarbon leader is tied on that goes to the bait. The only exception to a fluorocarbon leader occurs when I want my bait to float slightly off the bottom. That's when a monofilament leader comes in handy. 

   Whether I use Fireline or Spiderwire Stealth, the sensitivity of these lines improves my ability to read the makeup of the bottom, detect structure, and discern a subtle bite. So keep it simple; use either a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader but Fireline or Spiderwire Stealth as your main line.


I prefer fluorocarbon when I am drop-shotting for two reasons; first, I have a little better sense of feel than monofilament . Most of the time I am fishing light line in 12 to 30 feet or even deeper - so the increased sense of feel  that fluorocarbon provides can be critical at times. 

   And secondly, I like to fish the drop-shot in clear water, and fluorocarbon is the clearest line on the market. I know of no transparent line that is smaller in diameter and clearer than fluorocarbon.

Flipping and Pitching

When I am flipping or pitching I stick with monofilament; specifically Trilene XT or Big Game. 

   The exception comes when I am flipping and pitching into heavy aquatic vegetation. That's when I turn to Spiderwire Stealth because it cuts through that grass. 

   I also get a better hook up with Spiderwire Stealth than with other lines. If I'm tossing a big 1 ounce Eco Pro Tungsten weight in an attempt to punch through heavy grass, monofilament will meet with a lot a of resistance.  As a result, the pounds of pressure placed on the tip of the hook during a hard hook set is greatly reduced with monofilament.

   I personally feel that fluorocarbon is just a little too brittle for flipping into that heavy cover.  Nor is it as good a shock absorber as monofilament. And, like monofilament, fluorocarbon doesn't cut through the grass. 

   So stick with monofilament unless you are in heavy vegetation. Then the clear choice is a braided or superline.  And there is nothing better, in my opinion, than Spiderwire Stealth. You can also use Fireline for flipping or pitching, (I like it, but it's just a little bit stiff for me). I prefer Spiderwire Stealth.

Blade Baits and Spoons

When fishing blade baits and spoons, I tend to be fishing deep water primarily under the boat, and therefore it's important to have a transparent and sensitive line. When fishing a free-falling bait, you want the extra sensitivity, so I like fluorocarbon.

Final Thoughts

I truly believe that when a specific technique or lure is matched with the proper line, the ultimate and perfect combination can be attained that provides an angler with a slight edge. Having said that, I again want to stress that if all these combinations are not an option; rest assured, you can fish all those baits on a quality monofilament line like Triline XT.


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