Does line color significantly impact your overall fishing success? You can bet your boat it does!
“Out-of-water line visibility plays a big role in tracking lures and baits in a trolling spread”
Visit any tackle retailer nowadays and you’ll notice a wide array of different monofilament colors, with catchy labels claiming the color has been formulated for a particular purpose. Through decades of research and development, leading line manufacturers have in-fact invested a great deal of time and money towards stacking the odds in our favor.
After all, the more fish we catch the more line we purchase. To complicate matters a bit, if we took a poll today, the results would reveal there are as many opinions amongst the sport fishing community as to exactly which line color is the most effective as there are available hues.
The purpose of the variety is actually two-fold. First and foremost, while submerged, the color of fishing line is the first line of defense (no pun intended) in concealing the crucial link between you and your offering. Equally as important, out-of-water line visibility plays a big role in tracking lures and baits in a trolling spread, or keeping close tabs on small baits in stained backcountry waters.
We’ve heard for years that scientific studies on light absorption and underwater color dissipation prove that different shades in the light spectrum are filtered out as depth increases. Red, which really stands out above the surface, is the first line color to practically disappear, leaving nothing for the fish to see other than the lure or bait. Do the results of these studies mean we should all top off every reel with red line regardless of how and where we intend on using it? Not so fast.
Though red is the first color to dissipate, the vanishing act doesn’t really take place until approximately 24” to 36” below the surface, depending on water clarity that is. Since that’s the case, then stalking the crystal clear vistas found on Florida Key’s and Bahamian flats require an altogether different approach. Clear, or maybe a light pink line would be the way to go.
Throwing soft baits in an algae stained environment, a shallow water angler would probably be best suited with a green tinted line that does a good job of blending in with the natural surroundings. The aforementioned are only a few of the scenarios where sticking with one color line regardless of intended use, may not be so colorful after all.
The answer to the question of what really is the best color fishing line should now be clear; there is no one, single best color.
To grasp it all, let’s take a closer look at a few distinguishing characteristics each line color possesses.
Options in monofilament today aren’t only limited to the colors of the rainbow, but also include a full range of visibility factors and distinct shades designed for specific applications. Keep in mind we’re discussing running lines and not leader material. That’s a different story altogether.
Hi-Vis fishing line was introduced to meet the demands of fishing conditions when high visibility is necessary, such as at night or when anglers must keep close tabs on the line to detect subtle strikes. Hi-Vis fluorescent fishing line first hit the market more than forty years ago and have been a big hit ever since. The line’s easy-to-see factor provides excellent control from the angler while still retaining low-vis qualities when submerged.
Bright yellows and fluorescent blues are the most popular Hi-Vis lines amongst big-game tournament crews who spend the majority of their time trolling. The high visibility factor is extremely helpful in monitoring multiple lures or baits in a trolling spread.
When it's more important for your line to be completely invisible to the fish than visible to you, such as when hunting sensitive bonefish or keen eyed permit on gin clear flats, low visibility shades which tend to blend in with the natural surroundings would be a good choice. Clear fishing line, often referred to as white, is the natural choice for these conditions. Clear line is transparent so it excels in just about any underwater situation and is an excellent choice when attempting to fool finicky fish or as an all purpose approach.
Hues of low visibility green are ideal for matching backcountry, shallow water conditions which often have a green or brown tint due to algae, sediment, or other factors. Take into consideration there is also usually a backdrop of underwater weeds or shoreline vegetation. Even clear water often has a faint green tinge. Green tinted line excels in these environments and is especially effective on line-shy fish or when fishing heavily pressured shallow water areas.
Lo-vis pink is the lightest shade of red and as a result, disappears the quickest. The color is a great choice in many different applications when fishing in well light conditions and happens to be a favorite leader material color.
Regardless of color, there are two ways to achieve line invisibility underwater. Fluorocarbon mimics the refractive quality of water. Multi-colored camouflage line on the other hand does the opposite. The blend of colors breaks up the ‘line’ in the water and hides it against the background - at least from the fish’s point of view.
Whatever your favorite line color is or wherever it is you ply your craft, the quality of your fishing line is even more important than color. If your serious about increasing your success ratio on the water, that distinct bright blue fishing line you often see in your local K-Mart “Blue Light Special” bin for a dollar a spool, well, that would be an invitation for disaster. Stick with quality monofilament lines from your favorite leading manufacturers.
Discussing the myriad of colors in great detail would require a much lengthier process. The above was just a quick reminder that often there is no one perfect play in the diversified game we play. Look outside the box and never be afraid to experiment. That’s how new tactics, techniques, and favorite colors are recognized.
Catch ‘em up!
Caring for fishing line:
*Before each use check your line for nicks or areas of abrasion that may cause weakness.
*After every fishing trip, cut off approximately ten feet of line and retie. Even if you don’t have reason to believe it may have been frayed, the precaution is worth the effort. It’s an important step toward eliminating tackle failure.
Revolutionary new fishing line changes color before breaking:
If you’re a competitive tournament angler, I’ve got some great news for you. American chemists have designed a blend of polymers which change when exposed to stress. What does this mean for the angler? This new, technologically advanced line actually changes color when it has been subjected to too much stress, warning the angler that it is in danger of breaking. If parts of the line appear green and mis-colored, it should be replaced. Don’t get too excited though, as these new fishing lines will not be on sale for a while. First, the change of colors needs to be visible under normal light conditions, not only under ultraviolet light.
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