Best Fishing Line for a Baitcaster Reel: Bass Fishing
Selecting a fishing line for a baitcasting reel can be a tough process that involves numerous factors. As bass anglers, it can take time to find a line that we’re comfortable with and a line that we have confidence in. This post will suggest the best fishing line for a baitcaster reel, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each line option.
What You Need in a Fishing Line for a Baitcasting Reel Bass
Line is arguably the most important component of your tackle when it comes to catching bass. Below are the key features that fishing line can influence:
- Presentation: Fishing line has a direct impact on the action and overall presentation of your bait. This needs to be at the forefront of your decision-making process when selecting line.
- Hooksetting: Line is crucial for getting a good hookset and ultimately losing fewer fish. Different line types have various degrees of line stretch.
- Strength: As we know, bass love to position themselves in zones that aren’t so friendly on our tackle. For this reason, line strength plays a pivotal role in us anglers getting fish out of these zones, without being cut off.
- Less memory: When I talk about memory, I’m referring to the shape your line takes after being spooled on a reel for a fair amount of time. The less memory, the better the line comes off the reel, and the better your cast and sensitivity.
The Best Fishing Line for a Baitcaster
To give you a quick answer, the line that portrays the best in the above features (apart from memory) is going to be fluorocarbon. It is probably the most popular fishing line when targeting bass purely because many consider it an all-in-one option.
Let’s dive into the benefits of fluorocarbon, followed by potential shortfalls.
The Benefits of Fluorocarbon of a Baitcaster
Fluorocarbon is quickly becoming the mainline of choice when it comes to baitcasting setups. The reason for this is that display the following attributes:
- Less stretch than monofilament: This gives added sensitivity, as well as helps with getting a stronger hookset.
- Fluorocarbon sinks: This helps us with getting our bait into our desired water column. It also gives us more versatility when it comes to fishing different depths. We can go with a thinner diameter if we want to get deeper, or we could fish a thicker diameter to stay higher in the water column.
- It’s strong and abrasion resistant: Fluorocarbon is the all-in-one package, with abrasion resistance being one of its key selling points. This is paramount when we’re looking to fish heavy vegetation or other harsh cover.
- Invisibility: Fluorocarbon is the least visible line type, making it a suitable option for clear water and finicky, pressured fish.
These are the core benefits of fluorocarbon and the reasons why it’s such a powerful line to have as a mainline. Let’s now discuss what you’d want in a fluorocarbon to match your baitcasting reel.
What To Look for in a Fluorocarbon Line For a Baitcasting Reel
There’s no denying that fluorocarbons all over the market have varying performance features, and it can be hard to decide which line to go for. Luckily, there are passionate anglers out there (like us), devoted to finding the best fluorocarbon out there.
There are several key indicators to consider when deciding what fluorocarbon line to go for:
- Memory: This is how a fluorocarbon essentially looks after being stored on a spool for a long period of time. Fluorocarbon line is known to match the shape of the spool over time, leading to a loopy profile as it leaves the spool. The less memory, the better, and you’ll have more control of your casting as well as greater sensitivity. Low-memory fluorocarbon lines are considered more supple.
- Line diameter: This is a critical attribute that directly impacts our presentation. A thinner diameter gives our bait more freedom of motion, while a thicker diameter has more resistance in the water and thus gives our bait a more rigid action, with a slower fall. All fluorocarbons vary in line diameter.
- Abrasion resistance: Vegetation and other cover can take their toll on fishing line. You’ll want a line that can avoid fraying and abrasion, especially when pitching around heavy cover.
- Breaking strength: This refers to the pressure a line can withstand before breaking. This doesn’t mean at the knot, but anywhere on the line. 10lb fluorocarbon for example should be able to withstand 10lb’s worth of pressure comfortably, with high-quality fluorocarbons being able to handle comfortably more than the mentioned strength.
- Stretch: Unfortunately, some fluorocarbon lines don’t display the minimal stretch we’re looking for and some even have a similar stretch amount to monofilament.
These are the key factors you want to consider before buying fluorocarbon. Unfortunately, there isn’t a line that displays the best in each factor. There are, however, several lines that showcase a great balance of each. We’ve come up with 5 fluorocarbon lines that are perfect for a baitcasting reel as a mainline.
The 5 Best Fluorocarbon Lines for a Baitcasting Reel
A reminder that these lines showcase a quality balance of each core performance indicator for fluorocarbon fishing lines. A few of these lines have gone right under the radar, but it’s time for them to shine. Let’s dive in.
Sunline’s Shooter is a fantastic fluorocarbon that possesses an superb balance of the above factors. It’s also an affordable line, compared to other fluorocarbons. Where Shooter really shines is in memory, as well as line diameter.
Many consider Tatsu as Seaguar’s finest and rightly so. This line also showcases a great balance in the feature attributes around fluorocarbon, but specializes in its thin diameter, as well as impressive abrasion resistance.
It’s worth mentioning that Tatsu does have considerable stretch compared to other top fluorocarbon fishing lines.
Although not the best fluorocarbon when it comes to memory and line diameter, you’ll struggle to find a tougher line than Gamma’s Edge. This line is a fantastic option when throwing baits around the thick stuff as it excels in abrasion resistance as well as breaking strength.
However, if you’re looking for a more subtle presentation, you may want to look elsewhere.
Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai
J-Fluoro is Daiwa’s premier fluorocarbon line for bass fishing and it's a pretty underrated line. This line has an incredibly low stretch compared to its competitors, as well as an impressive balance of all the other core factors.
The is a line that simply doesn’t get enough credit. SPRO’s Essential has gone under the radar but showcases one of the best balances of attributes compared to any other line. It has incredibly low memory, as well as a breaking strength which is mightily impressive in relation to its thin diameter.
Disadvantages of Fluorocarbon on a Baitcaster
Fluorocarbon does certainly have it’s shortcomings when it comes to bass fishing. Let’s break these down so that you’re aware of them before you make your selection:
- Higher memory and line management: Fluorocarbon tends to be less supple than monofilament and this can make line management within our spool a bit more frustrating. We can often experience ‘loose winds’ within our spool, which can directly impact our casting.
- Fluorocarbon does stretch: Although it’s one of the main selling points for fluorocarbon, this line type does still stretch a lot more compared to braid. Some fluorocarbons have even been proven to stretch as much as monofilament.
- Casting distance: Because of its higher memory, fluorocarbon won’t shoot as fast as braided fishing line, so casting distance is partially compromised.
- It’s expensive: Having fluorocarbon as a mainline is a more expensive option than other fishing lines. A popular option is to spool a baitcaster with braid with a long fluorocarbon leader.
- Not as abrasion resistant as braid: Fluoro may be a lot better compared to monofilament, but it doesn’t compare to braid when it comes to abrasion resistance.
Braided Fishing Line on a Baitcaster
Braid has several benefits, but it also falls short in core areas. Let’s outline the advantages, followed by its shortcomings:
Advantages of Braid on a Baitcaster
There’s no doubt that braid has the advantage over fluorocarbon is several key areas, such as:
- Casting: Because braid has zero memory, it comes off the spool the best resulting in the ultimate when it comes to casting distance.
- Zero stretch: Braid literally has zero stretch, making it a powerful option for setting hooks whilst making long casts.
- The ultimate in strength: Braided line cuts through vegetation with ease and it’s incredibly hard to break off. This makes braid suitable for fishing the heaviest of cover. Perfect for throwing a frog in the heavy stuff!
Disadvantages of Braid on a Baitcaster
Let’s now highlight the shortcomings of braid when it comes to fishing it on a baitcasting reel:
- Visibility underwater: The main disadvantage of braid is that its the most visible line underwater. It’s not translucent and this can impact the overall presentation of any bait. For this reason, braid isn’t the best option in clear and open water.
- Knots: Tying knots with braid is an overall less pleasant process. Knots can often slip if not done well, resulting in a lost bait and/or fish.
Monofilament Fishing Line on a Baitcaster
Monofilament is a fishing line that is arguably slowly going out of fashion when it comes to catching bass. It does however have it benefits in bass fishing, along with pretty significant shortcomings:
Advantages of Monofilament on a Baitcaster
Let’s highlight a few advantages monofilament has over the other line types:
- Suppleness and line management: Monofilament is a fantastic fishing line to work with especially if you’re new to baitcasting reels. It has extremely low memory compared to fluorocarbon resulting in fewer loose winds and overall more pleasant line management.
- Stretch can be good: For some techniques, line stretch can be beneficial to a hook set. These techniques are often associated with treble hooks, where a bit of stretch can aid the hook set.
Disadvantages of Monofilament on a Baitcaster
There are however several reasons why bass anglers have moved off monofilament:
- Higher stretch: More stretch will result in it being more difficult for us to get a direct hookset, especially if we’re fishing rigs that have a hidden hook point like a Texas rig.
- Lack of abrasion resistance: Monofilament is not as abrasion resistant as high-quality fluorocarbons. This makes mono a less viable option around vegetation.
- It floats: Although this may be better for specific techniques, this is a disadvantage for most techniques where we’re trying to get our baits to the bottom.
The summarize, I’m a firm believer that fluorocarbon is the best line for a baitcaster. It does a few disadvantages especially when it comes to line management, however, you’re going to get the best when it comes to the presentation of your bait as well as the necessary performance to get ideal hooksets.