Saturday, June 26, 2010

Choosing The Best Fishing Line

 How to choose the best fishing line based on bass fishing conditions

My last post on spinnerbait fishing, seems to have triggered a lot of email questions on the best fishing line to use; so today I'm going to try to address some of those questions.

How to Choose the Best Line Size

The right line size to use depends on fishing conditions. In general I like to spool my reels with the largest strongest line that I can get away with.

Water clarity and line visibility are the first factors to consider when choosing line size. The more clear the water, the easier it is for the fish to see the fishing line and be spooked by it. If you fish stained or dark colored water heavy fishing line may be best.

The Best Line For Clear Water

When fishing very clear water such as found on most deep highland reservoirs and using slow moving finesse baits such as plastic worms jigs, or dropshot riggs, I often go down to line as small as 8 lb test; sometimes even 6 lb if not in heavy cover. I have experimented a lot with the best fishing lines over the years and I have come to the definite conclusion that It doesn’t seem to matter as much with faster moving reaction type lures but overall in clear water, the smaller the line size the more bites I get.

Some anglers seem to be programmed to believe that it's just impossible to pull big bass out of heavy cover unless you use big, heavy fishing line. This simply is not true. That being said, when conditions call for the use of light line sizes, there are a few ways to help compensate for the light line.

1. Use tough abrasion resistant line. One of the best fishing lines I've used for this situation is Berkley Trilene XT (extra tough) this fishing line has a very tough coating on it that resists abrasion when fishing in heavy cover. Just for the record I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Berkley.

2. Always keep the drag on your reel set light enough to compensate for light line. The drag is what makes it possible to land big bass on light line. Even the best fishing line in the world is going to break on a big fish if your reels drag doesn’t do its job.

3. Check the line for nicks or damage by sliding it through your fingers , from the lure 6 feet up the fishing line every 10 casts. If you feel any roughness or nicks in the line cut it off and re-tie above the damage. One small nick in your fishing line can be the difference in landing a big bass or losing it.

The Best Type Of Fishing Line

Monofilament Line

Even with all the advanced fishing line technology today, monofilament fishing line is still one of the best fishing line choices; and still used by most bass anglers in most fishing conditions today. Three factors are the reason for this. Low visibility, strength, and it's lower cost than most of the new high tech lines. Mono line has a higher stretch factor than most of the new line types. Stretch in fishing line does take away some of it's sensitivity; however stretch is not always a bad thing. mono with its high stretch can be much more forgiving for mistakes; such as a reel drag set to tight or a bad hook set when a big bass is on the line. For most all round fishing situations Monofilament is my personal choice for the best fishing line.

 Braided Line

Braid is one of the hottest new line technologies on the market today. This type of line is extremely strong with very small diameter. Braid is one of the best choices for heavy cover in stained or dirty water conditions. With its high strength small diameter it can also be very good in relatively clear water.

Braided line has no stretch at all, making it very sensitive; this is one of the best lines for fishing finesse style baits in vegetation. In my personal experience, the biggest drawback with most braided line is, I have found it to be far from the best line for heavy wood cover because of it's low resistance to abrasion.

Fluorocarbon Line

Fluorocarbon line is one of the best new fishing line technologies that has been introduced in many years; especially for clear water fishing conditions. This line becomes almost invisible in the water. It has great abrasion resistance, good strength, low stretch and is in my opinion and experience, the best fishing line available for fishing any type of cover in clear water. The only drawback to fluorocarbon is the price. It cost is on average about 50% more than mono.

The Best Fishing line Color

Line color, like lure color is a big controversial subject. Many anglers these days swear red fishing line is best; others, myself included, don't buy into the theory that red line is less visible under water than other color lines. I've experimented with red line, and have found it to be neither an advantage or disadvantage over clear line. My thought on the subject is, if the color red is so invisible under water, then why are red colors on lures and hooks marketed as being so effective?

When it comes to fishing line color, my goal is to keep my line as invisible to the bass as possible. So I match my line to the color water that I fish. i.e. green water green line clear water clear line. Dirty water doesn't seem to matter much.

Now that being said, hopefully this will help you with line selection based on conditions. However I have my own ways of doing things that work for my bass fishing. This doesn't mean that my ways are best for your particular fishing conditions on your water; and I encourage you to keep an open mind and experiment to find the best fishing line for you, in your waters.

Until Next Time

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spinnerbait Fishing

Tips & Techniques on Spinnerbait fishing for Bass

In my last post Night Fishing, I touched on spinnerbait fishing in that particular application. since then I've had several request for more info on bass fishing with spinnerbaits; so today I'm going to talk more about the subject. There's a lot of information that you should know about this lure, so this will not be my only post on this subject.

Spinnerbaits or blade baits are one of, if not the, most versatile lures that a bass fisherman can have in his or her tackle box. And they don't just come in many different sizes and colors, but there's also a couple different types that you should know about and add to your tackle.

First I'm going to talk about the component of this lure that gives its name to get those of you that may not be familiar with spinnerbait fishing educated on the different blade types. The best spinnerbait blade to use depends on the fishing conditions. If you would like to know more about how to approach fishing based on conditions, you need to see Learn to Think Like a Bass

Spinnerbait Blades

Colorado Blade

The Colorado blade as you can see in the photo is the shorter more round shaped blade. This blade gives of more vibration but less flash than the willow leaf or Indiana blade; and typically works better in low light or dirty water situations where the bass are more dependant on hearing or picking up on vibration through the lateral line than finding prey visually.

Indiana Blade

The Indiana blade is a happy medium for vibration as well as flash. This is a blade that you should consider in most any spinnerbait fishing situation

Willow Leaf Blade

The willow leaf gives less vibration, more flash and the shape mimics a bait fish very well. This blade is typically best in clear water situations where a more natural looking lure works best.
All the different types of blades can be mixed and matched on a single lure as well, when using the

Safety Pin Spinnnerbait

This is the most common type of spinnerbait used for bass. These come in weights from 1 1/2 oz down to 1/32 oz and lots of different blades and blade combinations. As you can see, this type bait has a stainless steel or some brands such as the terminator have a titanium wire arm which the blade and swivel are attached to. This arm also acts as a weed guard making the lure much more weedless and more suited for fishing in heavy cover such as brush grass or stumps. I use baits with both the stainless wire and the titanium. Personally I prefer the titanium; because when they bend they snap back into place. However they are quite a bit more expensive.

Inline Spinnerbait

This type of spinner bait is normally smaller and usually can be found in sizes 1/32 up to 1/2 oz the inline as you can see doesn't have an arm and is more commonly used for trout or pan fish than for bass. However don't be put off by this fact. The inline can be a deadly bait for bass in situations of very clear water, heavy fishing pressure, or when bass are feeding on smaller bait fish; which calls for a smaller profile lure; and should definately be incorporated into you spinnerbait fishing tackle.

Spinnerbait trailers

It's common practice and usually a good idea to ad a trailer to your spinnerbait. A trailer is simply added to the hook on the lure to give the bait a little more or different action or larger profile. There are many different types of trailers available in different sizes, with different actions. However I personally prefer to use a pork chunk or pinch a 6 inch plastic U tail worm in half and use the end with the U for a trailer.

Trailer Hook

A trailer hook is commonly added to the hook. This is simply a common type hook with an enlarged eye which slips over the point of the primary hook. Personally, I only ad a trailer hook if I'm getting strikes but having a problem hooking the fish; as the extra extended hook takes away much of the weedless aspect of the bait. However the trailer hook can be very useful in situations that don't require a weedless bait.

Spinnerbait Tactics

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, Spinnerbaits are one of the most versatile lures used by bass fishermen. They can catch bass at any time of year, in most any type cover, or structure shallow or deep. I have caught fish on this lure in 8 inches of water and as deep as 50 feet on brush, rocks, grass and clean bottom as well.

Slow Rolling

This is a very effective spinnerbait fishing tactic and one of my favorite tricks for deep water bass. I normally like to use a heavier weight bait for this method. I use a 3/4 oz if I'm fishing depths down to 15 ft. Deeper than 15 I go to a larger 1 oz spinnerbait. The reaseon for the heavy bait is because I want to keep the bait down on bottom.

I typically use the slow roll method when fishing on structure such as ledges or points. I cast the bait up on the structure, let it sink to the bottom. Then I reel just fast enough to make the blades on the bait spin without losing contact with the bottom. You always want to keep the lure bumping into rocks, stumps or whatever is on bottom. If you're not beating the paint off the head of your spinnerbait, you're not fishing it correctly.

Bump and Flutter

This is a spinnerbait fishing technique that I use often when fishing shallow cover such as grass, weeds or brush. I will normally use a lighter weight bait for this; a 1/4 to 1/2 oz. Cast the lure into the cover and reel; when you feel the bait hit something stop your retrieve and let it flutter down on a tight line counting to 5, then resume and repeat. The strike will usually come while the bait is falling so be alert.

Pump and Fall

This is another very effective deep water tactic. This method is deadly on deep ledges, bluff walls or steep banks.

I cast the lure up to the bank or out on the ledge and let it sink to the bottom. Then I slowly pull the rod tip up from the 9 o clock position to the 11 o clock position and then let it fall back to the bottom on a tight line; then real up the slack and repete all the way back to the boat. Again the strike will often come when the bait is falling so be alert and ready to set the hook.

Burning the Spinnerbait

This is a tactic that seems to work very well in clear water and windy conditions and has been extremely productive for me on spotted bass on points or humps in the fall season. I normally want a 1/4 to 3/8 oz bait and a single or double willow leaf blade for this spinnerbait fishing technique. Also, a high speed reel helps. 6:1 or 7:1 gear ratio.

Simply make long cast up onto the structure and real the bait back very fast keeping it just below the surface no more than 3 inches. In clear water, bass will often come up from very deep water and nail the bait like a mack truck using this technique.

Spinnerbait Color

The same color principals apply to this lure that apply to all the others. I plan to devote a post to talking about lure color sometime soon but for now you can get more tips in the post Best Bass Lure.

The key to successfully getting a bass to strike a spinnerbait is to make the bait act erratic or different from every thing else in the bass environment; as is the same with many other lures . Always keep your bait bumping into obstacles, hitting the bottom, or change retreive speed. Keep experimenting until you figure out what the bass want and capitalize on that.

So no matter what time of year, or what kind of conditions you may encounter on the water, always keep spinnerbait fishing in your list of bass fishing tactics.

Unitl next time