How often are you fishing a lure and know that you are not throwing it on the right pound test? Too often probably if you are like me, and simply don’t want to strip all of that line off to replace it with smaller or larger line. If you know the line size is not ideal and you fish it anyway your conscious is at war because it knows that optimum utility is not taking place. Each bait has a line size that allows it to perform with the perfect action, whatever that line diameter is for each bait is what you want every time you fish a different bait.
Before I explain how to choose the correct line size for lures remember that you are looking for long term results by amassing a whole lot of “little things” that characterize your style. No one thing that you do or learn or change is going to make you an ultimate fisherman, but by learning one “little thing” at a time and putting them all together you will become an ultimate fisherman.
A little bait needs little line to be fished properly. Small crankbaits perform best when fished on tiny line because the line does not hinder the lures action. Line creates resistance in the water like friction, the bigger the line the more resistance it has. A small bait cannot compensate for the resistance and looses action because of it. A Model 3A Bomber for example can be fished on 17# test and will dive to about 4 or 5 feet and have moderate vibration. On 12# test the same bait will dive about 6-8 feet and have considerably more action. On 8# test the bait will give you everything it has to offer. Depths of 10 feet or more and more action than with any other pound test. The more action a bait has the more noise a bait makes. Noise because of the rattles and also because of the vibration.
OK so baits perform better with lighter line but what about cover? Well this is where your common sense comes in. If you are fishing shallow timber flats with stumps everywhere you may not feel comfortable with small line. Beef up in this situation then or you can use the small line and accept the fact that you could loose some fish if one wraps you up. You have to weigh the risks. If you think that you will get more bites with lighter line because the bait performs best with small line then fish small line and take the risk of loosing fish in the cover. Remember, you have to get the bites before you break any off. Sometimes line selection is the difference between getting bites and not getting bites, especially in high pressured areas.
Reaction baits don’t need light line to be effective. Vertically presented baits like jigs and crawworms need big line. The object is to drop the bait straight down onto a bass. Heavy line is not going to have much of an effect on the action of a jig falling straight down. Also the fish can only see the bait if the lure is being dropped right onto it and the fish won’t even see the line. Of course heavy line is need here because of the close range hookset and the heavy cover this style is used in.
Here are some matches that I live by in my tactics.
shallow divers 1-3 feet – 8-10#
medium divers 3-12 feet – 10#
deep divers 12 feet+ – 12#, ultra deep depths can be achieved by using 8# or 10# on big crankbaits
spinner baits 1/4 oz – 12#
3/8 and 1/2 oz – 14#-17#
3/4 and 1oz – 17# and up
rogues 10# and 12#
jigs around heavy timber 20#-25#
small jigs (1/4oz) 12# – 17#
topwaters 12#, around hydrilla 20#
carolina rig 17#
I hope this helps you in choosing the right line and catch more fish.
Bill Cannan Professional Fishing Guide – Lake Mohave
– Lake Mohave