Big walleye on Light Line!

Big Walleye on Light Line!
Pat & Heather Yohn of Richfield, MN

The most frequent fishing question that I get asked in the field is "What kind of fishing line do you favor?" As most anglers know, there are scores of line choices out there and I have been basically a monofilament fan for decades. I have also had to revise my line presentations for bass and walleyes, especially in the metro regions, to try and get an advantage over the angling masses. Here is my personal scoop on why I believe in monofilament and very light line in all my presentations:

1.) 6 .lb Test Mono Universal Choice

Success for me and my clients on the water has been incredibly ramped up the last 5 years or so since I began downsizing my line diameter. 8 .lb test was a staple for me for years and I now stick to 6 .lb test hands down. The reason is fishing pressure and the educated status of the game fish in central Minnesota. People don't realize the importance of light mono because everyone is so distracted with trying to find the perfect style of line whether it's braided, mono or fluorocarbon. You can drive yourself nuts trying to find the perfect fit. Since I have switched to 6 .lb exclusively, my catch rate has increased and the size of the walleyes and bass have increased dramatically.

2.) Stretch is Good !

I love the stretch characteristics of mono. I believe the stretch factor is very forgiving of mistakes by the angler. I see these mistakes all the time with amateur clients who are not well versed in detecting bites and implementing good hook sets. The stretch of mono gives the angler sort of a delay time to make corrections. You can't do that with braided lines. The "shock" factor with mono is also helpful when trolling crank baits as the shock and stretch helps with a good hook set and once again allows the angler to be a bit off in his or her game and still put fish in the boat.

3.) Downsides of Light Line

First and foremost, I want walleyes and bass..period. I end up sacrificing many nice northerns that easily bite off my 6 .lb test but that's alright. They are not my intended target anyway. My boat has had great success bringing in large walleyes and even larger bass with 6 .lb test with a few refinements. Always make it a point to retie your connection knot to your bait after every couple of fish. Once you get into this routine it will be very automatic. If your drag is set very loosely you can still get a hook set and be ready for the last minute "power-dive" of the fish at the boat. Many fish are lost at the boat as amateur anglers panic and have no clue where their drag is set. Once you pay attention to the drag settings, you'll never be surprised by the last minute dive and you'll have no problem landing large fish with ease. If you have a good morning on the water, chances are your 6 .lb test line will have some wear and tear plus stress from the action. I make it a point to always keep 80 yards on each spool and re-spool new line every two weeks. This keeps the line fresh and ready for action. If you get lazy and leave this light line on for long periods you'll have break off issues. The vast majority of anglers leave their 10 to 14 .lb test line spooled season after season which is a classic mistake.

4.) Light Line Makes for More Natural Presentation

I throw a lot of jigs with plastics, Power baits and jerk baits and have found the action on 6 .lb test line is monumentally superior to heavier line. The lighter the jig and the lighter the line the more natural your presentation will be. Heavy line tends to retard the action of most baits and yes, in milfoil or heavy cover heavy line has it's place. If you are not convinced, just put your buddy in the front of the boat on a spinning rig with test line and you stick with 6 .lb. The results will be dramatic especially on our heavily pressured lakes here in central Minnesota. Not only will the presentation and action of your chosen bait be superior but you'll boat 4 to 5 fish to every 1 of your buddy.

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