for beginning flats fishing - part 2
Last month I gave you information based on my experience and a little
personal opinion on Rods and Reels for flats fishing. If you have
any feedback on the comments in the article I would like to hear from
you. This month I will be looking at line and terminal tackle. I suppose
this could have all been covered in fewer words but I wanted to give
some options and provide some background information to allow the
reader to make a decision based on the unique needs for the type of
fishing and location you will likely experience.
I am not writing this article from the position of 'expert' but what
I have gathered from other anglers, read from 'experts' and then applied
based on practical experience. As much as I would like to think there
is one right answer I just don't think there is one. When I have seen
contradicting information from professionals I figured that at some
point common sense and a coin flip would have to help finalize my
choices when there was an option.
This should be simple enough, right? You just go down to the local
Wal-Mart/K-mart or bait and tackle shop and get a spool of line with
a high enough strength to pull in a big fish. Well, that might work.
But, it might not give you the best chances to catch a fish on your
outings. In fact, like so many other sports, the vendors add new and
improved products and a larger variety so fast your head will spin.
I have been around long enough I remember that some old outfits we
had as kids had some kind of braided nylon line. Then the 'new' development
was monofilament. It was strong, smaller diameter and did not soak
up water the same way the braided line did. Mono has continued to
develop to provide better performance. Modern mono line has the same
strength in much smaller diameters and less line memory. This provides
much better casting performance and more stealth when presenting your
lure. When you pick your mono today you will likely choose between
a limper, better casting line that is less abrasion resistant or the
stiffer, larger diameter of the strength you settle on. Your other
decision will be a choice of a Hi-Vis color or a clear line. This
does not seem to be as critical for most salt water angling as you
almost always will have a heavier test 'shock' tippet added to attach
your terminal tackle.
Your choices are not limited to monofilament today. Similar to monofilament
are copolymer lines which combine mono with other polymers to provide
better characteristics. A line may have fluorocarbon coating as one
brand does that may provide some of the same reduction in visibility
as a fluorocarbon shock tippet. I settled on a copolymer after talking
to staff at my local Bass Pro Shop. I have had no problems with the
You have another choice to spool up with though. Braided or 'super'
lines. These are different the the old braided lines I mentioned from
days past. These lines are braids of various polymers and as well
various methods of braiding. One of the first lines of this type,
SpiderWire, introduced lines with much smaller diameter for a given
strength. These lines may also provide better abrasion resistance.
One major difference in these lines is the sensitivity. Due to the
construction of the line there is little or no stretch. This can provide
an advantage in many fishing situations. For those who do not adjust
it can be a liability though. I have seen descriptions of anglers
pulling the hook set right out of the fish. Another consideration
for braided super lines is the cost. You will pay a premium for spooling
your reel with the line.
There are some considerations for braided line. First, all braided
lines are not the same. When I bought an outfit at Bass Pro shop and
inquired about the braided line one person suggested it and another
nixed it based on whether they thought it would cut into the guides
on the rod. If I had chosen braided line at that time Bass Pro would
not have spooled it on my reel because of guide problems. A recent
product on the market 'PowerPro' states that it does not harm guides
due to the way the braid is constructed. With the success of PowerPro
(many of my peers are using it) other vendors have improved their
lines and answered concerns. New on the market as I write this SpiderWire
has added 'Stealth' line which is impregnated with teflon. This enhances
casting, line dig in, guide protection and knot strength.
If you choose a braided line keep these things in mind. Before you
spool the line you should run on a base of mono which allows the line
to pack on your spool better. You can actually get by with only the
amount of braided line as you may cast and fill the spool with less
expensive mono. This may also provide a benefit for long running fish
as the mono provides some stretch as the fish runs out line on the
mono. Next, you should pay close attention to knots. Check any information
provided with your line or check the manufacturer web site for knot
information. As a rule braided super lines are 'slicker' than mono
and typical mono knots may not hold. The uni-knot can be used for
most but should use more turns and if possible double the line before
tying the knot. One other concern I have heard from several anglers
is that if the braided line gets nicked, either on an obstruction
or maybe school fish around the fish you are fighting it may separate.
Other new lines are out and worth a look. I hope to have the opportunity
to report on a couple in my reviews here. Stren offers a new copolymer
called 'Magnaflex' that should offer better casting and lower line
memory. Berkley has a new line that is stated to be a 'Reinforced
Polymer Matrix' monofilament providing very high abrasion resistance.
Recommendation, unless you really want to try the braided line the
mono/copolymer line will provide excellent performance and add ease
of use for attaching leaders and lures.
With all of the tackle available you might think that this section
would be longer than the information on line. It could be but I want
to just mention the basics here. And with terminal tackle it can be
pretty simple. If you have read my previous article you have in depth
information about one of my most used lures, the silver spoon. Here
is what I suggest for starting out.
You need a topwater plug. The most common is a top walking lure such
as the Zara Spook or Top Dog. They either rattle or not and some are
heavier than others. Another top water option is a chug or popping
You should have a shallow running or suspending lure. An example of
this is the Jumping Mullet or Catch 2000 (from MirrorLure).
A weedless spoon is mandatory in my book.
Softbaits of some type. These are similar to the Texas or Carolina
rigs used for freshwater bass. In addition you should have a DOA shrimp.
There is nothing quite like it and it is a productive lure that is
perfect for certain situations.
A jig head and grub. Possibly if you had only one lure this may be
it. It can be fished in so many different ways either shallow or deep
in a water column. I have heard that
this is the most productive lure of all time and is included in emergency
kits for armed services.
In each of these categories there are many options. Weight, size,
color, rattle or quiet, action, fast or slow retrieve, weedless or
not and material. Price can be a consideration and there is not guarantee
that spending more will result in more fish on a lure.
I hope to add information with more detail on various lures in future
articles. For now, if you have questions, comments or corrections...
Let me know what you think.