Hold on and Wait!

Hold on and wait is short story about fishing todays high tech lines and hooks.  Unlike the opening statement, we often find ourselves on an adrenalin rush and are often overly eager to slam the hook into the jaws of a fish. Hold on and wait because your set up will help set the hook for you and those milliseconds allows you to figure out what the fish is doing.

Our new technologies and quality control should put our minds at ease if we remember what and why developments have improved every fisherman’s catch.

First, I want to talk about hooks.  Today we only see heavy shanks in certain bass or saltwater applications or with the good old bait holder hooks.  Other that, much of our fishing is done with high tech, thin wire hooks.  The Berkley Fusion hooks are a great example of extremely durable and super sharp hooks we use today.

I still check every hook for that telltale sharpness as I drag a point across my thumbnail.  Now I find fewer and fewer hooks requiring a sharpening coming straight out of the package and none from the Fusion family.  This gives me the confidence that the hook will penetrate without a massive strike from the fishing rod.

When you combine the hook technology with today’s myriad of fishing lines, you can customize the way the hook reacts to your catch.  This might sound a bit off but not so. The lines today are all different.  As much as many misinformed anglers are nay sayers, fishing lines are all constructed in slightly different configurations and certainly many different polymers found amongst monofilament lines.

Mono filament lines are extruded from tiny balls of plastic polymers made in Japan.  Each polymer has different characteristics when melted and extruded as a fishing line.  An angler using Berkley or Stren for examples will see advertising on the package that states better knot strength, more supple, more abrasion resistant or more sensitive as examples.  Believe it when you read the advertising on the package because that line has those characteristics and no two are the same with different packaging.

An angler can choose a line suited for purpose instead of buying line just to fill a reel.  As an example, I use Trilene XT, Trilene Sensation and Trilene Transoptic lines a lot. I don’t cast much so I am not worried about a soft casting line like Trilene XL.  But I do use lines made specifically for ice fishing and cold weather.

Although many anglers are getting better educated, you might ask me why I use certain lines.  In the case of Trilene XT, I like the extra toughness when I am trolling.  I am not worried that it might be .001 inches greater in diameter than a similar strength Trilene Sensation.  I just want a stout line that will absorb a hook set at speed and take the scuffing as the hook is trolled.  In the case of Berkley Sensation, I use it for long line rigging.  This line is a bit stiffer and more sensitive than a Trilene XL and telegraphs a light bite or subtle weight very well.  Also, my experience with this line has given me the confidence of a better knot strength, which is not ever mentioned in corporate advertising.  Trilene Transoptic is similar to all my high visibility lines.  The line has a distinctive ability to turn from a bright golden brown in sunlight to a clear line under water.  When I am jigging, I use a lot of high visibility lines.  I can see the line better when a fish inhales the bait and I can follow the line in bright sunlight as a fish starts moving around with the hook in its mouth.

I remove one step in my jigging presentation with Transoptic that I often do with high visibility solar green and yellow lines.  With high vis solar green and bright yellow lines, I often tie on a short section of clear monofilament or fluorocarbon line to the hook to give the high vis line some separation from the hook.  This is not required with Transoptic.

Monofilament lines that are stiffer are usually manufactured as a co polymer.  This means they are built with a combination of two polymers.  Softer lines are not.  That is where you see the descriptors, announcing abrasion resistant, sensitivity, knot strength, etc.  Line that are soft and supple like Trilene XL are great for all around fishing but lack hooking power if the hook is laid out a great distance from the angler.  It is surprising what little effort is applied to the hook point with a softer, supple line.

And that brings us to todays super lines like Spiderwire, Berkley Braid and Spiderwire.  Again these lines are manufactured with different processes although the basic Dyneema fibres are used.  These lines have transformed the fishing industry as we know it today.

They are made with zero stretch, extreme sensitivity and extremely thin diameters to the point where anglers and manufacturers have to adapt.  I do remember receiving and field testing some line that would eventually be sold as Berkley Nanofil.  It was ten pound test and the diameter of the line was .0009 inches.  One of my comments was that our reel manufacturers had to improve the tolerances of their products because the line was almost as thin as a human hair.  When the product came to market I noticed that the company had added some thickness to the product.

When these lines came out, anglers were caught flat footed.  They were revolutionary products, a bit expensive and nearly indestructible.  Many anglers spooled these lines on a reel as if they were dealing with monofilament lines.  The first snag, backlash or strike on a fish often caused the line to drop down into the wraps of line on the reel.  The lines were so thin that they got bound up deep in the spool and could not be loosened or found to correct the problem.  But those lines really sent a message to the fish on the end.  With great breaking strength and no stretch and angler was sure to drive a hook into the sweet spot of a fish.

There was no mistaking the advancement of fishing lines led by Spiderwire.  But since then, we have had to show and explain to anglers how to spool these lines, prevent spinning on the arbor as well as develop tools to cut this line and rods and reels to accept this novel change.

If your reel is not designed for super lines , you have three options.  First, you can put a wrap of electrical tape on the arbor and cinch your superfine down to prevent slipping.  Second, you can tie on regular monofilament line and make a few wraps.  Connect the two lines with a uni knot and continue to load the spool.   Finally an angler can tie the superline on to the spool and then put a tight wrap of electrical tape over the line and around the spool before filling the spool.  Superlines are very slippery and anglers need to know how to combat this feature on the spool.

The best way to install a superline from start to finish is to turn the reel drag to maximum and get a damp wash cloth.  Run the line through the wash cloth and squeeze the line as hard as you can and crank the handle to load the line.  Superlines must be installed on a spool as tightly as possible to prevent the line from dropping between wraps during a snag, hook set or fish strike.  If you fish a lot, you may have to release the line behind a boat or in current and retighten the line on the spool mid year.  These lines will last for years but it is the angler that will determine this longevity.

Lastly, superlines need special tools to cut and trim.  The Dyneema fibres used in the line construction are extremely durable and tough.  Their original purpose was used for stitching patients with joint replacements.  I have a number of additional tips in different articles that deal with superlines to make the best use of the line with the least amount of concern.  Look for those tips and tactics.