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Line Up For Walleye Fishing

By Bob Jensen - April 1, 2010
It's spring in the Midwest!! The snow and ice are gone and the robins have returned. Open-water fishing isn't far away: In fact, a good number of anglers are already out on rivers chasing walleyes and on ponds, bays, and backwaters chasing panfish. This is the time of year when many folks are putting fresh line on their reels. That's smart! Fresh line greatly increases the odds of your landing that lunker when it decides to eat your bait.

There are lots of line choices available to today's angler. All those line choices can make it difficult to decide which one is best for you. Let's consider what you should think about when deciding which line is appropriate for your fishing.

Today's fishing lines are a huge improvement from what we used to use. Most lines will do an adequate job for most fishing situations. However, some lines will do certain things better than others. If you have a rod rigged specifically for, let's say jigging, you'll want to choose a line designed for jigging. Same's true for throwing baits into heavy cover or trolling crankbaits. Here we go.

If you do a lot of finesse fishing, say jigging, rigging, or slip-bobbering for walleyes or crappies, you'll want a line that's easy to cast, has a small diameter for low visibility, and is sensitive. Trilene XL and Sensation are great finesse lines.

If you're fishing a finesse presentation around rocks and logs and stuff that's tough on lines, you might want to go to a line that's more abrasion resistant. This line might be a little larger in diameter, and probably won't be quite as supple, but it will be tougher. Trilene XT would be a great go-to line in this situation.

More and more, anglers are discovering the advantages of the superlines. Most finesse lines are either monofilament or fluorocarbon. Superlines look and behave differently than mono or fluoro. They are typically much stronger than mono when diameters are compared. FireLine is perhaps the most popular superline. 10/4 FireLine has the same diameter as four pound test mono, but the same break strength as ten pound mono. That can be a big advantage.

Superlines are also much more sensitive and provide better hooksets than mono because they don't stretch. You should probably use a lighter action rod or lighten the drag on your reel when using a superline to prevent hooks from pulling out of a hooked fish. Superlines are good when pulling crankbaits for walleyes, as they allow the bait to run deeper.

The increased sensitivity of FireLine is great for jigging, but some anglers are concerned that line-shy walleyes might not want to eat a jig attached to FireLine, as FireLine is easier to see than mono. These anglers are tying a leader of fluorocarbon or mono to the FireLine. Now you have the ultimate in sensitivity and invisibility in your jigging.

Selecting the proper line can make a big difference in your fishing success. Choose the appropriate line and you'll increase your odds for fishing success.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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