communist fishing line

Tonight I learned that I can do a far better job of putting new monofilament line on my reel than the shop at Sportman’s Warehouse. I don’t know whether they chose substandard line, put too much tension on it, or both, but I loaded new line myself by hand-cranking from a purchased spool and had it work perfectly in front-yard test casts. Kathy’s finger provided the tension. Even after several casts, the line was still in awesome shape. The line that was professionally loaded felt bumpy and rough. If this turns out well after our next trip, I’ll redo all our reels.

I chose a red fishing line, 6 pound test. I find that I see strike activity on the actual line before either my bobber or the rod, so I’m hoping that the red line will be more visible above the surface, particularly near dusk. There is supposed to be an advantage below the surface too. The theory is that red light is highly absorbed by lake water, and the blue and green spectra are what gets reflected or transmitted, so red fishing line becomes invisible at a shallower depth than other colors.

In the end I don’t expect the supposed invisibility advantage of the red line to make any difference. I fish with completely different line (2 or 4 pound test) for my post-swivel leader, which is where invisibility really counts. I’ll be trying some of the 6 pound red line as a leader on my next trip, just to see what happens.

Here’s the setup I use, in the order that they get loaded onto the line. All of the tackle is free-moving:

  • balsa wood slip float
  • small bubble float (about 5/8 inch diameter), completely full of water
  • Bullet or barrel sinker, 1/4 oz or larger
  • large enough swivel to completely stop the sinker
  • 3-5 feet of very thin leader, either regular 2 pound or fluorocarbon 4 pound
  • size 8 or 10 single hook, occasionally treble
  • just enough powerbait so the hook floats

What this rig does is sink everything except the balsa float to the bottom, but lets the baited hook float a few feet up. The extremely light leader ensures that the fish is unable to see anything except the bait. It turns out that trout can actually see quite well and get spooked by fishing line. When the fish strikes, the line can slip easily through all the tackle, so the fish may not realize it’s tethered until you’ve had a chance to set the hook. The float sitting on the surface of the lake can act as a visual strike indicator, if the strike is strong enough or the fish is very well hooked.

The bubble float filled with water gives you enough weight to really increase your cast distance. I used to only use a large bubble float filled about halfway with water, but I found that the slightest tangle in the tackle would keep the whole rig from sinking. This left the bait floating useless on the lake surface, requiring a re-cast. The balsa float rarely gets tangled, because the rest of the tackle sails ahead of it due to density. If the bubble float or the sinker gets a little tangled, the rig will still work as long as the hook is loose, because the whole tangle goes down together.

This year Utah opened the second pole permit to all waters, and I purchased one, so I will have more opportunity to experiment with different rigs. What rigs do the rest of you find effective, and what kind of fish do they catch?

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