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There are really four options for choosing fishing line for crappie: monofilament, fluorocarbon, braided, and uni-filament. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation. So what is the best fishing line for crappie?
Monofilament is versatile and very popular.
- It’s translucent, making it tough for fish to see.
- It holds well to reel spools compared to other more “slippery” type of line.
- It’s super cheap. You can get a thousand yards of this stuff for just a few bucks.
Mono line is stretchy, though. This can be bad when you want your setup to be sensitive. When a crappie bites a lure tied to mono line, some of the energy will be absorbed in the line which can make the bite harder to detect. On the other hand, having a little stretch can be a good thing when hooking crappie due to their paper-thin mouths.
Additionally, monofilament line is weak for its size. If you compare the same strength (say 8lb test for example) mono, fluorocarbon, braided, and uni-filament line, you will see that the diameter of the mono line is bigger. So basically mono line is more visible than clear fluorocarbon line of the same strength.
Finally, mono line has “memory.” This means that when you wrap it up around the spool of your reel, it will remember that shape, thus creating the spiral-like look you see when you let line out.
Taking care of mono line is important. The biggest thing to remember is to not leave it in the sun. This will weaken the line and cause it to break (usually at the most inopportune time). So when choosing the best fishing line for crappie, mono can be a good all-around choice but there are definitely better alternatives.
Fluorocarbon line, like Seaguar Red Label, is practically invisible underwater due to the way it reflects light.
It is less stretchy than monofilament too, making it a good choice when sensitivity is desired.
It also has less memory than mono, so it will not curl as much off the reel.
Its stiffness can cause problems, though, by continuing to come off the spool after casting with a spinning reel. This is usually only a problem with heavier lines and over-filled spools though.
Finally, fluorocarbon line will sink quickly and hold up to abrasions due to its high density. This abrasion resistance also makes it great line when ice fishing for crappie. Of the big four types of line, fluorocarbon line is definitely my top pick as the best fishing line for crappie.
Braided line is actually the oldest type of fishing line ever used. Thin woven strands of fabric were used prehistorically to catch fish. Braided line faded out with the invention of nylon (monofilament line) but has recently begun to make a comeback.
Braided lines first big advantage is its high strength for its size. This means that you can put more line on your reel than mono and fluorocarbon line.
The second advantage is the fact that it doesn’t stretch. This means it will be very sensitive and you will be able to feel everything that bumps or bites your lure. In terms of crappie fishing, these two advantages are somewhat downplayed. Unless you are casting long distances, having extra line on the reel won’t really benefit you. And having no stretch in your line means your chances of ripping the hook out of a crappie’s mouth are high.
Like fluorocarbon line, braided line has no memory and will not curl off of the reel.
The big disadvantage of braided line has been its opaqueness. However, SpiderWire now makes a fishing line called Ultracast Invisi-Braid Superline that is translucent so this is becoming less of an issue. With most regular braided lines though, this means using a mono or fluorocarbon leader is almost necessary to avoid spooking fish.
Braided line also does not hold well to reels. For this reason, mono or fluorocarbon backing line are sometimes tied onto the reel first.
At the end of the day, braided line seems to shine best in saltwater applications. Due to braided lines no-stretch characteristic and opaqueness (for most braided line), I’d still choose fluorocarbon as the best fishing line for crappie.
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Uni-filament line is relatively new to the market. The only available option I know of is Berkley NanoFil. Berkley makes this line out of Dyneema, claiming it as the “World’s Strongest Fiber.”
This line has a diameter similar to that of braid. It also claims to cast far, have no memory, and not stretch.
The downsides are that it’s not translucent, it’s expensive, and you are supposed to use specific knots with it to prevent slippage.
This line is supposed to be great on spinning reels with small lures and jigs, making it a great potential line for crappie.
While the jury may still be out on this line, I’d recommend trying it out and seeing how you like it.
Visibility of fishing line is another option to weigh. Some lines are labeled as “high-visibility,” making it easier to see where your line is on the water and to make it easier to visually detect a bite. Usually these lines are brightly colored, which can spook fish more easily though. As with everything, you have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is best for your application.
When choosing any type of fishing line, probably the most important factor is its strength. A good general rule to follow is to buy the lightest line for your fishing conditions.
Different crappie fishing techniques call for different weights. If you are stump bumping, jigging in heavy cover or drag-lining, you probably want to have stronger line (10+lb test) so you can get out of snags. If you are fishing open water or jigging for spawning crappie, lighter line (4-10lb test) is best utilized to avoid spooking crappie. Additionally, you can get away with using heavier line in murky water. The opposite is also true. In crystal clear water fish will be able to see everything so it’s important to use the absolute lightest line you can.
There are many different knots that can be used to tie lures to line. Remember, if your line breaks, it will usually break at the knot. It’s important to tie the right type of fishing knot for the type of line you are using. This article on must-know fishing knots goes over our favorite knots for terminal tackle and how to tie them.
Many factors come into play when choosing the best fishing line for crappie. Visibility, stretch, technique, cost, and ease of use are just a few. Of the big three types of fishing line, the clear winner for me is fluorocarbon. Its low visibility in the water, ability to sink quickly, sensitivity, and high strength for its size make it my first choice when spooling up a reel.