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What's Your Line?

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, ID)

I've been having fun with ultra-light spin finesse fishing for almost a year now. It has been a fun journey, but picking a line is frustrating. I have bought two of the Japanese Domestic Market lines that Chris offers. I have been pleased with both of them. However, I am still confused about lines. One fisherman who I have dialogued with this year who catches a lot of trout in streams with his ultra-light spinning outfit, advocates buying a quality high volume made line, and change out your spool every three sessions to avoid line twist.

I have two high quality Shimano reels. I have been playing with lines, and I am still not settled. I thought I was settled on Sunline Troutist Area Meister. However the last two times out I have had rats nests like you wouldn't believe! On my other reel, I have been following the advice from the fellow who changes lines. He advocates replacing your line every third time you go out fishing. I bought a 3,000 yard spool of Silver Thread AN40 Copolymer line in 4 pound test for this part of my working with different lines. So far, I have been happy with the results. Since he fishes 8-10 hours a day, I have modified his advice to changing every 24 - 30 hours of fishing.

I have also been fishing with PowerPro. It is a microfilament braided line. At 15 pound test, 4 pound diameter, you have to be careful about snags. One could damage their rod. Performance wise, I have had mixed feelings. The other line I have played with is Spiderwire 10 pound test, and 2 pound diameter. Both of these lines don't have any stretch, and I have found myself over setting the hook. The nylon lines have a shock absorber built in.

So, is there a perfect line? What are your thoughts and ideas about what line to use? What have you found are pluses and minuses is the lines that you use?

Comments for What's Your Line?

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Oct 17, 2018
by: Isaiah

I would try a different small diameter super line. I don't know about JDM super lines, but I use Power Pro 5lb (1lb diameter) on a lot of my light spinning rigs. Doug Stange from In-Fisherman is adamant that Super lines break at 2 times heavier than the rating on the box. So I fish a lot of 8lb flouro leaders. Another line you try is Suffix Nano Braid. Which comes in incriments down to 1lb.

Oct 17, 2018
still searching
by: bill piatek

Well I've been searching for probably 25 years so don't feel bad. I used to use Ande Tournament in 4 and 6 pound for fishing Lake Michigan. Fish up to 28# on the 6#.

Here in NM I use a lot of Berkley XL in 2 and 4# for trout. Mainly because Berkley has big sales in the spring. The 2# quality is a little uneven.

For 4# I kind of like Spider Wire Ultimate Mono. Were you using spoons or spinners for the JDM mono? I was thinking of trying the 3# Darkness on my spoon XUL rod. I have found spinners twist anything you use so I replace maybe 50 yards often. Another thing to do is lay out the first 50 yards on grass right after spooling and retrieve under finger tension.

Had a many day yesterday at a lake we fish on my homebrew spinners deep.

Oct 17, 2018
by: Craig

Probably my favorite light line was the original P-Line Copolymer line. They changed out shortly after and I was never as impressed. I changed line about once a month though looking at my fishing schedule was probably about every 30 hours max.

Oct 20, 2018
No one perfect line.
by: Randy

I own a lot of JDM UL rods. For a long time I used a US domestic market 2# test line almost exclusively.....only dabbling in JDM lines on occasion. Chris brought it to my attention that maybe I was not getting the best performance out of my rods that I had paid for. It appears that all the JDM UL rods are designed around specific types of line....mono.....ester.....PE. Most US market line is not really 2# test....more like 3.5# or maybe even 4#. I fish a lot.....3-5 days a week and sometime 6 days. I changed out line once a week....needed or not. But I received my line for free. I still use that line on a couple of rods. But now most of my line is coming out of Japan. I really like the Varivas lineup. If you have not tried some polyester line you are missing out.......although it can be tough to mange as it is wirey. I prefer the colored lines now since I am using JDM lines.....clear line at a diameter of .117mm is impossible for me to see. I have never had a problem with line twist or wind knots. The key in my opinion is putting line on correctly. I will keep an eye on my lines and will change them out as I think it is needed. I think most will find Japanese lines are far superior to most lines marketed in the US.


Oct 21, 2018
Thanks for the Great Responses
by: Les Albjerg

Everyone of you who have responded has contributed to my education on lines! Thank you from this neophyte!

The other day I went out with my two reels, one with JDM 4 pound and the other with a domestic 4 pound. The JDM was considerably better to cast and retrieve. I realize now that changing out line is just a reality of spin fishing. So much of this is new to me. I would guess new to most of us.

I also realized that the fish I caught with the JDM felt more connected than with the domestic line. Education and the fun continues!

So my question to Chris is, "Does JDM line come in bulk spools to bring the cost down per spool?"

Oct 21, 2018
Bulk Spools?
by: Chris Stewart

Not that I know of.

The Japanese anglers who fish streams seem to prefer sinking minnow lures - which don't spin and thus don't cause line twist.

The anglers who fish areas, and seem to prefer spoons, know to keep the retrieve slow enough that the spoon doesn't continually spin in one direction. Thus, they don't get much line twist.

Abrasion on the last few feet of line is easily managed by adding a few feet of clear tippet to the end of the line.

Why else would they need to respool, and if they don't respool frequently, why would they need bulk spools?

After doing a more thorough search, I did find a "bulk" spool of Japanese super premium line. Understand that to the Japanese, a bulk spool is 330 yards, pretty much the same as our standard spools. And the savings? I'd have to charge $39 for the spool.

Oct 21, 2018
No more Spinners
by: Les Albjerg

Thanks Chris - No more fishing Spinners with my JDM lines. More and more, I am catching more fish on spoons anyway. I am finding spoons to be more versatile. I can fish a spoon like a spinner with a steady retrieve. I can jig a spoon; I can pulse a spoon; I can do many more manipulations with a spoon that catch fish.

Plug fishing is becoming more effective for me as well. Thanks for bringing us so much fun Chris!

Oct 21, 2018
US vs JDM line
by: Chris Stewart

Randy made a good point that most US 2 lb test line doesn't actually break at 2 lb.

The average US angler doesn't have equipment that can accurately measure line strength. Most line spools do list the diameter, though.

The Sunline Troutist Darkness and Area Meister 2 lb line has a diameter of .104 mm (.004"). Stren Crappie Mono 2 lb line and Berkley Vanish 2 lb Fluorocarbon are both .15 mm (.006").

The diameter of the domestic 2 lb line is essentially the same as the diameter of premium Japanese 4 lb line (.148 mm).

The diameter of domestic 4 lb line (Stren Original and Berkley Trilene Sensation) is .20 mm, which is the same as Japanese super premium 8 lb line (.205 mm)

Whatever the actual breaking strength of the domestic line is, if you go by the strength claimed on the box, the domestic line will be thicker than the JDM line with the same claimed strength. Thinner line will cast better and give your lures better action.

So could you just use domestic 2 lb line instead of Japanese 4 lb line. Sure, but how strong is it really? No one knows.

Nov 06, 2018
by: Alex Argyros

I use 4lb. Nanofil with a 5 or 6x fluoro tippet. I did a lot of experimenting with knots to join the two (Nanofil being notoriously slippery), and I have settled on a double Albright (both the Nano and the fluoro doubled over into loops) and that has worked well.

Mar 28, 2019
Diameter is the key.
by: Kelly Peterson (northern Wisconsin)

I've been using ultralight rods and 4# mono for decades-close to 55 years. Always used Trilene XL. Then about 7-8 years ago I started using braid. 5# Power Pro was the first I used, Then I tried 8# Gliss because it claimed a smaller diameter(.004) which one can clearly see that it is. Last year I tried some 2 and 3# Ice Nanobraid which was advertised as .003 and .0035 respectively.

They worked and did not break but boy is that ever whispy line. Very difficult to thread thru the eye of hook and difficult to see while tying the knot. Uni knot and the improved Clinch knot are all I used. And I tie directly to my lure, no leader. All that said I had "many" fish days last year with 2# Trilene XL line(.006).

One thing I found out while searching for different lines to use is that one brands two pound might be .006 and anothers .008. Also Trilene Xl might be .006 but the XT is .008 yet both are listed as two pound. And I've fould most all Florocarbon to be thicker in diameter than mono per the same pound test.Same is true with the super braids-each brand is different diameter per same poundage.

Late last year I bought several spools from Chris but have not had a chance to use them. Think I'm going to like the 2# and 3# Sunline Area Meister. Visibility of mainline yet stealth next to hook. But only time will tell because if I can't see the line to tie onto hook I don't know what will happen. And before anyone says something I already use reading glasses and the Flip Focals that Chris sells. Because of my Diabetes my real close eyesight is terrible for minute details. Anything after 3 feet and I don't need glasses.

Finally, now I'm trying BFS this year to so another total experimentation. What am I getting myself into, yikes! Seriously thanks Chris for providing these JDM products and this website for us to hang out in. If you or anyone else on here is ever up in Northern Wisconsin look me up. I fish for trout(mostly native brook) in very brushy, tiny blue lines and panfish(perch, bluegill and crappie) in small lakes and ponds that don't have boat landings. IE. not very many fisherman.

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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.