Care and choice of line can be the key to success

Line is normally treated with contempt when it tangles breaks or fails, the fine is often blamed. Here are a few tips to improve your "˜luck'.

Many anglers treat their lines with absolute contempt; this one part of the tackle can mean the difference between landing and losing a big one. While the hook is important, a fish is rarely lost because the hook breaks, it is usually the line that breaks.

Buying a spool of monofilament and using it for three or four seasons is asking for disaster if a big fish should strike. Chances are you will be on your own and all you will be able to do it tell of the one that got away.

Most anglers buy their line by breaking strain, generally from 2 to 7 kilogram. What is equally important is, an many say more important is the diameter.

Breaking strain can vary enormously for given thickness, the better lines are usually substantially thinner.  Thinner line is more manageable, harder for fish to see, easier- longer casts, lures work better, lures run deeper and you can fit more line on your reel. The only down side is the extra cost, but it is certainly worth it.

Thicker line creates more drag in the water and anglers will usually find it harder to detect finicky bites.

Strength is something not many anglers think about. Most monofilament stretches around 20- 25 %, this absorbs the shock of a hard fighting fish. Try this and you will see how hard it is to break. Thread your rod up with around 10 metres of 3 kg line and attach the end to something solid. Now give it a good hard pull, yank it, tug it, see it didn't break! Lines usually break at the knots, not the line. Most of the lesser quality line are stiffer, and inherently exhibit a "˜memory'. This is when line tries to take on the form it was when it was on the reel and it stays in coils.

Limp line allows you to cast further, and hopefully swim your lure, or bait past more fish.

Line colour is always contentious; all the makers claim an advantage in different colours. Green, brown and clear are all supposed to be better. One thing is clear though, a depth increases the colour is less important as the light decreases, so perhaps it isn't important. Some anglers use fluoro line and still catch plenty of fish. TIP: Use a clear 60 mm leader on the end.

Abrasion resistance is something to consider, especially for saltwater, shore based anglers. A line must have the ability to withstand the occasional brush with rocks and sharp teeth. This is then a compromise, as the stiffer line excel in this department. Atippet can often be used to get the best of both worlds.

Every now and then retrieve the line through your fingers, feeling for nicks and cuts. Any rough patches should be cut out.

When you do replace your line write the date, brand and breaking strain of the line on the back of the spool with a waterproof felt pen. Replace it at least every two years, more often if used a lot. It is very cheap insurance.

The connecting link is where most problems occur. Knots are more important than most realise. Poor knots retain around 50 % the breaking strain of the line.

Many anglers have been using the same knots for years and some are poor excuses for knots. The strongest knot for attaching a lure/ swivel/ hook to a line is the Trilene knot, it has almost 100 % knot strength.

It is important when trying this to put the end back through the two loops, and remember to lubricate it- saliva works well.

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