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Select A Line For Open Water Fishing

By Bob Jensen - March 1, 2014
Another open water fishing season is closing in. It's still a ways off, but it's getting closer every day. Maybe the most important thing you can do to enhance your fishing is to use fresh line. Fresh line will help you enjoy your fishing and catch more fish. Here's why.

Line that has been on a reel for an extended period of time probably isn't in ideal fishing form. It may not cast well due to memory. Memory is when line remembers the shape it has been in. If line has been wrapped around the spool of a reel for a long time, it might not want to straighten out as much as necessary when you are casting. Casting distance and ease of casting is not as good with line that has memory. Most modern lines have been formulated to reduce memory, but most still have some.

It could be that, due to use, you don't have as much line on the reel as you need for best performance. In a day of fishing you'll probably re-tie several times, which reduces the amount of line on your reel, and you might get snagged a few times. That reduces the amount of line on your reel. Additionally, you should cut some line off regularly just to make sure there are no nicks caused by rocks or logs or whatever. Multiply these things by several fishing trips, and the reduction of line on your reel becomes a liability. Reels with too-little line don't perform as well as reels with the proper amount of line.

However, adding line to your reel doesn't mean you need to strip all the line off the reel and start over. For most fishing applications, we're only casting or letting out maybe forty or fifty yards of line. What many anglers do is simply tie a forty or fifty yard length of fresh line to the line that's already on the reel. By doing so, you're insuring that your line that's being used is fresh. You can re-tie many times and lose some line to snags and still have plenty of fresh line. There are several knots that are great for attaching one line to another. When fishing, that knot shouldn't come off the spool. When it does, it's time to add more line. Simply cut the line at the knot and add more. By doing so, you've got fresh line all the time at a minimal cost.

Here's something that more and more anglers are doing to achieve the ultimate in sensitivity and hook-setting along with invisibility. They use the line that's already on their reel and then attach maybe forty yards of braid to that. Bionic Walleye Braid and Bionic Bass Braid are good choices: They are super strong but thin in diameter. They cast well and are very strong, sensitive, and have no stretch. To the braid, you tie a fifteen or twenty inch length of Bionic Fluorocarbon. This stuff is also tough, and it's invisible under the water. With this set-up you have a great system for jigging for walleyes or jig-worming and tubing for bass.

If you want to start your fishing season off the right way, make sure you're tying your lure to fresh line. You'll be able to handle the line better, and the line will be able to handle the fish better, and that's what we're after.

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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