Fishing Line: Size Matters
This article looks at why the size of the fishing used is important. It discusses both the use of line that is too small and too large.
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All people who fish have the story about the big one that got away. Most of these stories end with the line snapping just as the fish was either near enough to see in the water or after the monster broke water a few dozen yards away and bolted for the open sea. No one likes to miss the chance to catch any fish because of a broken line.
The obvious solution to this would just be to use a larger and stronger fishing line. However, there is more to catching a fish than just having strong fishing line. The angler has to weigh several options when selecting the right line for the task. Bigger is not always better.
Part of the thrill of catching fish is the risk that the fish might somehow win the fight. Many people enjoy the challenge of having to do battle with the fish before landing it. Unless you are a commercial fisherman or are desperate for your next meal, it is not likely that you really want to just haul in a fish. The give and take of the battle is more than half of the fun. Even the bragging is better if you can announce that you caught a whale using an ultra-light rig.
Some lures and tackle will not work if the line is too large. These devices sometimes rely on the flexibility and weight of the line to augment their action in the water. Of course, if you are just going to lash on a piece of steak and drag it along to find sharks, bigger may be better.
Some reels are not designed to handle large line. Their drag mechanisms have a limited amount of tension allowed. It will utimately just keep the reel from working and may damage it to try to use excessively large fishing line. When fishing in an environment where you are not just trolling, you need to be able to cast your line. Heavier line will not always allow for long casts. Even if you tie a multiple pound weight on it, you still may not reach you goal with your casts.
Large line is more visible in the water. A fish that has been caught a time or two becomes savvy about fishing line. If the fish sees the line too clearly, it will not attack the bait. Lighter lines sometimes become invisible in the water. While the visibility of the line is not a huge problem, it can make the difference between a day with a lot of action, and one with a hit here and a hit there.
In short, you need line strong enough to contain a larger fish if you are trophy fishing or really need to land some fish. However, you should try to match the line to your equipment for best results. If you intend to use multiple leaders and heavier weights, up the ante on the line accordingly.