“I broke off four times,” a good friend explained, after recalling a recent bass fishing trip. “I had new line on, too.”
What he later mentioned was he was using 4-pound test.
On the other hand, if you want to see a one-sided fight, just watch a professional bass angler. With a heavy rod more akin to a pool cue and rope-strong line, he can skip a 2-pound bass across the water and into the boat in seconds. This scene is common throughout bass tournaments.
Over the past several years, many recreational bass fishermen are turning to more “sporting” tackle. Not only to put more challenge back into the fight, but also to catch more fish. To be the best fisherman you can be, you have to learn what tools are right for the job in certain conditions.
Although using light tackle when fishing for bass can be fun and extremely productive, the first consideration should be the fish. There is nothing sporting about using light tackle in heavy cover where a good fish is likely to snap the line and escape with hooks embedded in its lips and trailing fishing string.
But when is light right? It’s appropriate in open water where there are few obstructions. It’s good in gin-clear water where fine lines and long casts are a big help in catching spooky fish. It’s also great in heavily pressured waters where fish have seen it all and it’s necessary to use smaller lures and more delicate presentations.
For bass, “light” usually means lines in the 6- to 10-pound category. Line that breaks at less than 6 pounds is referred to as “ultra-light.”
When using lighter lines, I prefer spinning gear over bait-casting equipment. Casting rods usually have stiffer tips making them harder to use with thinner line and tiny lures. And, the higher energy used when making casts puts a lot of strain on finer diameter lines, especially if you are prone to backlashes. You can sometimes get by with this type of equipment provided you have a limber-tipped rod and a smooth operating reel.