Knapp: Plenty of fishing lines to choose from
The uppermost tips of the submerged tree reached up to the 20 foot level, about 10 feet above the lake floor. Dropping it next to the boat, I allowed a 1/16 ounce jig to sink for 15 to 20 seconds, enough time to drop down into the woody cover, then gingerly worked it up through the sunken branches.
I felt the light jig scratch the submerged limbs as I softly worked the jig upward. Once I had made around three revolutions of the reel handle, I stopped the slow retrieve, permitting the jig to hover over the top of the cover. It wasn’t long until a light tick was felt, at which I set the hook into a thick, 13-inch Keystone Lake black crappie.
During the remainder of the short, four-hour morning trip, Don Gariglio and I boated a dozen-and-a-half similarly sized crappies, all from deep sunken trees with lofty limbs that extended well up from the 25 to 35 foot depths.
The main components of this scenario were light jigs and fish holding near woody, snaggy cover. Light sensitive line made it possible to fish for these soft-biting fish while minimizing the amount of hangups.
Today’s anglers have a wide variety of fishing lines to choose from. This includes braided lines, fluorocarbon lines, and traditional nylon monofilament lines. By tailoring line choices based on particular fishing situations. one can make the most of the benefits each one has to offer.
In the opening situation, I used Sufix Nanobraid in 10-pound test, terminated with a three- foot piece of six-pound test fluorocarbon line as a leader. Nanobraid is a very thin, sensitive line. The miniscule weight of the light jig was enough to play the line off the reel spool without any help from me. And the line’s sensitivity enabled me to feel tree branches as the jig was worked up through them. At times, the jig did get snagged, but the combination of a light wire hook and the strong line enabled me to pull all of them free. The hook would open up slightly,but could be bent back into position easily with pliers.
I often use fluorocarbon line on baitcasting reels. Fluorocarbon has the ability to transmit strikes in slack line situations. By this, I mean that the line does not have to be taut to feel a bite.
Here’s an example. Flutter spoons such as the Lake Fork spoon can be effective on both largemouth and smallmouth bass, particularly in lakes where the fish dine on open water baitfish line shad, shiners, or smelt. The four-to-six inch spoon is cast out, allowed to sink to the bottom, and then worked back to the boat via a series of rod sweeps that elevates the lure several feet off the bottom. For the lure to be effective, it must be permitted to “flutter” downward on slack line. Most of the hits occur during the fall. You’ll feel these hits better on fluorocarbon line than with braid or nylon monofilament.
Glide jigs like Rapala’s Jigging Rap and Acme’s Hyper Rattle can be effective on walleyes as well as other species. In this situation the heavy jig is cast to a likely target (like the top of a hard bottom hump) during which the heavy lure plummets to the bottom. It is then worked back to the boat with aggressive snaps that shoot the lure four to six feet upward, after which it rapidly glides back down. Walleyes typically piin the bait to the bottom; hits aren’t felt until you attempt the next upward snap.
I’ve found nylon monofilament such as Sufix Advance Monofilament to be the best choice for working glide jigs.The springiness of the line helps propel the lure off bottom and also helps keep fish hooked up, as the dense lure is easy to shake free.
These are just a few examples of how picking the proper line for the situation can be a great benefit.
Jeff Knapp is an outdoors columnist for the Butler Eagle