Eenie, Meenie, Miny, Moe……

Every year, before open water arrives, I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about the tackle I might use in the upcoming season. I often begin with my choices for line. There are so many types, and so many options within each type, that it can be very hard to choose. Monofilament, copolymer, the various super lines.


Once I choose a line type I am still faced with the question of color.


And let’s not forget about the line test weight. That will undoubtedly make or break (sorry!) my year. All these choices do matter and I play around with different combinations often. After all, I don’t want to be the one responsible for some poor bloke losing his job because line sales are in the toilet. What I want to know is what the many great fishermen that call Vermilion Bay Lodge their fish camp of choice think about all this. I don’t want to have to make these decisions alone. So, let’s hear it!

22 thoughts on “Eenie, Meenie, Miny, Moe……

  1. Call me old school but I keep coming back to Stren clear blue and the Stren walleye line as my go to line. I have tried others and still find that Stren is my best bet and also notice I catch more fish with the Stren walleye line. I also say stay as light as possible in test. 6lb for walleye is plenty light enough. Trolling I have been going with 8lb instead of the 10lb Stren.

  2. Gee, I think I have to agree with Perchmaster. Probably because we are both old bastards and change is difficult! I would go with 6 pound trilene for 80% of my fishing. I have tried various co-polymer lines and they are worthless, in my opinion. Muskie fishing I have moved up in the world to Power Pro 80 lb. test…..I still like 30 pound dacron though. Like your post Mr. Teal River!

  3. I'm new to the walleye game but find that I like 4-6lb Trilene XL in clear or Stren Original in Hi-Vis Gold for jigging and live bait split-shot rigging and slip bobbers. For trolling I have been pleased with 10lb. Power Pro and Fireline. Great depth and feel with minimal line length. Do you pros think the line visibility issue is a big one when it comes to clear water walleye? I really have not seen a difference with muskies, no matter what the water conditions are. One thing, though, no stretch line on a stiff muskie rod can make for short fights if you're not careful!!! On the other hand you can really make a lure dance with Power Pro, etc., as compared to mono. And retying knots is an after thought with super line braids, which is good, since I try to keep my thinking to a minimum.

  4. Hi everyone, I don't know how to originate a post so I'm sneaking in the back door here to tell the world that today (Jan. 31st) is Gord's 55th birthday. Let him have it…..Bill

  5. Hi Brad…You bring up an interesting topic that I routinely wonder about. I've tried many lines over the past 50 years while fishing lakes rivers and streams. This includes mono, dacron, lead core, co-polymer, and fluorocarbon as well as fused and braided superlines. All these lines have worked to connect me to fish.

    I've settled upon super lines for just about everything these days. This includes spinning, casting and trolling applications. I use 10# Berkley FireLine on a medium-light or medium-power spinning rod for casting, rigging and jigging. I add a 3 foot fluorocarbon leader of 10# test between the FireLine and lure. The FireLine has the diameter of 4# mono and it is very smooth, sensitive, tough and durable. I like the smoke color.

    I beef up to 14# FireLine for a casting reel and medium-power rod. It casts very well and can handle a 3 oz. bottom-bouncer as well. The lightest tap from a walleye is easily detected, even in 40 or more feet of water.

    Andy and I use this same line on our trolling rods, too. It works perfectly on our planer boards with both stickbaits and crawler harnesses. And it will take a three-way with 8-10 oz. of lead and big spoon down to 80 feet in search of big lakers. We use a 15# test fluorocarbon leader in this application.

    Today's fishing lines are very well made. But learning how to use them in the applications that are most typical on the water is very important. Line is a tool, just like a rod and reel are. Once you really understand how your line actually functions as you fish with it, fishing success increases. Or, you begin to see limitations in the line that justify making a change to a different product.

  6. Professor, I'm glad to hear that you have done well with Fireline on your baitcasting outfits. I have wanted to try a low test super line for baitcasting and wondered how low I could go and still get good casting characteristics while minimizing line diameter to increase trolling depth. I believe I will give 14lb. Fireline a try this year. Thanks!

    P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GORD! You don't look a day over 55.

  7. It's really only 8 in dog years.

    From the Professor's comment…"Line is a tool, just like a rod a reel"…..Can I add New Mexicam to that list?

    Thanks Bill!

  8. Gord…Please do not associate New Mexicam with my list–it is intended strictly to make a point about fishing in response to Brad's questions.

    I feel that what you're doing is, at best, ambiguous. Are you saying that Bill is a tool? Or that he's just like a rod and reel? Please remember that Bill is a loyal customer and he deserves better. If you're trying to insult him, please do it properly.

  9. Professor, the New Mexican has a thick hide but regardless of that, in no way was I trying to insult him by calling him a tool. Like a rod and reel though, he has a way of "casting" his off topic comments into the still waters of your fishing line analysis. Besides, he once called my John Deere AMT a "$10,000 wheelbarrow"….this coming from a man who used to fly a shopping cart suspended from a parachute.!

  10. First off HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gord!!!!
    You guy's heard it here first Gord agreed with me, think it might be only a handful of times you will see that. HAHA!!
    I don't like the fireline myself I think it does not produce fish like the mono lines.
    You might want to downgrade your test to 8lb you might see a difference in your catch in my opinion.
    This topic is turning out to be a good one so keep your opinions coming guys, we should be able to carry this one on for a week or so.

  11. Hi again all,
    Sorry to break ranks again and stray from the real topic but I really don't know how to start a new one.
    Thanks Professor for coming to my defense regarding the tool deal. Let me put Gord's remarks in context. As I have mentioned in the past Gord and I have known each other for so long that I can remember when I was taller than him. For about three dog years I had to coach and assist the young man to bring him to his current level of excellence. This included but was not limited to baiting his hook, picking up his fish, and digging his worms. I suppose that is how he could consider me a tool. It's OK. It made both of us happy.
    Regarding line color, Gord always said it's really cool to have your line match your eye color. I've seen him use both blue and red depending on the previous nights activities.
    Later, Bill

  12. There's been a few times where we have gone all the way back into Caribou Lake for smallies and someone has brought a reel spooled with fireline. They catch half the fish, unless they use a mono or flourocarbon leader. These fish are wiley.

    Regarding Bill's accusation on line colour. He likes to match his line to the color of his eyeshadow. I have a picture of Bill holding a walleye while wearing panty hose….Don't make me dig it out Bill!

  13. When fishing for walleye I find the mono the way to go. If trolling at VBL, I'll take the braided almost every time. We would never would have landed the huge Muskie last year on 8lb fire line or mono.

    Here in Kansas where the fishing sucks, I prefer to simply use beer and drive around until a fish jumps in the boat.

    Happy Birthday Gord!

  14. Teal River Brad…You are wondering about the type of men you have put in with. I often ask myself the same question, and I keep coming back to the same answer, courtesy of The American Heritage Dictionary. Bizarre: strikingly unconventional and far fetched in style.

    Please don't be frightened–we are mostly harmless anglers who love to fish out of VBL. You're integrating beautifully and are a welcome addition to this motley crew.

  15. I offer a reference on fishing line. The In-Fisherman 2011 Gear Guide has two very informative articles on different kinds of lines that would have meaningful application on Eagle Lake and elsewhere. Both are well written and are supported with evidence-based research. It's on the magazine rack now.

  16. I will second the fireline option and go one step further…try the crystal. If you are trolling or jigging in deep water, this line will cut through the water with minimal drag. Can they see the line? Not if you are using a leader. Preferably fluorocarbon.

  17. Neil,

    I only have a picture of the Professor holding my musky from last year because we wanted to get a quick release after a lengthy fight. The Professor will vouch for the fact that this fish was wrapped in my 10 lb crystal fireline, made several runs, and never broke the line. All while bottom bouncing for walleyes.

  18. Andy, not trying to be a smart-ass (Gord handles that department), but do you think the color/appearance/type of main line matters if you use a fluorocarbon leader? How does everyone attach the leaders to the various main lines?

  19. Hi Brad…I use back-to-back Uni-Knots to connect FireLine to a fluorocarbon leader. It's very effective and the knot has never failed to hold. It's perfect for this application.

  20. Just to jump in (and not be a smart ass) I've used a surgeons knot to connect leader material (See animated knots link in side margin to view the surgeon knot). Unlike Andy and the Professor, my preference is to keep it as simple as possible, so most times my line is my leader, hence the 6 pound mono that I like.

  21. Gord, I'm with you on the keep it simple concept. But I may try the leader idea when trolling with a super line in the clear water of Vermilion Bay and points west. I'm not convinced its needed but I respect the opinion of you verterans, so I'll check it out.

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Testimonials

On behalf of the Boyes Group, I would like to pass on our sincere thanks for hosting the Muskie Madness Week and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at VBL and had a great time!! This was our 7th year on Eagle Lake and we have stayed at a few other lodges but VBL takes the cake hands down! You can definitely count us in for next year. I’m happy to see you post some of my pics, they turned out well. Thanks again Gord for a wonderful week of fishing and your stellar hospitality, you run a first class operation, we look forward to seeing you next year!

Trevor Benner

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