Steve Ringer explains the considerations you must think about when choosing a reliable line.
Being confident in the products you use is without a doubt the key to success. Which line, what diameter to use and when proves a headache to many anglers, and with so many alternatives on the market it is easy to see why. However, it really needn’t be, as long as you keep to the golden rule in rig making… balance! With this in mind, choosing what line to use and when becomes a lot easier.
For myself, I have gained confidence in using two varieties: A standard monofilament in Guru N-Gauge, a product I had a hand in producing and which covers 90 per cent of my angling requirements, and Gamakatsu Fluoro Carbon, which I believe can play a key role when targeting the wariest of species, particularly F1s that often shy away from even the lowest diameters of standard monofilaments.
Steve relies on this monofilament for most of his pole rigs
Confidence Is Key!
One of my key tips to anybody would be, once you have confidence in something, don’t change. This tip goes for anything, but in regards to line choice it is imperative.
In fact, your line is the most relied on component to your setup, so you have to find one that you trust and then stick with it.
Keeping everything balanced is essential
I see many anglers who use a multitude of different lines – whatever they can find, even – but by using the same line you will learn how it performs and also the properties it has. That may simply be how strong it is and how much stick you can give it, or even just being confident in its knot strength and knowing it won’t let you down. This is something you won’t be able to pick up if you are constantly swapping and changing between multiple alternatives.
This is absolutely perfect for just about any eventuality of my fishing. It was developed to provide a robust, no-nonsense and durable line that is true to its word, and does exactly what it says on the tin.
This gives me the utmost confidence to use N-Gauge and rely on it regardless of the importance of the event I am taking part in. Knowing I can count on my line of choice to get the job done and not let me down means I have one less thing to worry about when out on the bank, and that trust alone almost certainly puts more fish in my net!
When I Use Guru N-Gauge
N-Gauge is clear in colour and available in seven diameters ranging from 0.11mm (3lb breaking strain) to 0.25mm (12lb breaking strain), which covers all of my commercial fishing needs.
I use it for all of my rigs’ main line, and despite popular belief I see no need to go too light with this, with the majority of my rigs tied up to either 0.17mm or 0.15mm diameter line. I may drop down to 0.13mm for my commercial silver-fish rigs but feel a nice heavy main line results in far fewer tangles and stops the rig bouncing around, which ultimately keeps me fishing for longer.
Hooklength diameter all depends on the overall setup I am fishing on any given day. I have a range of hooks tied up to cover me for all eventualities, from size 20 fine-wire hooks to 0.11mm diameter N-Gauge, to a size 12 strong hook tied to 0.19mm and everything in between.
I always try to balance my hooklength to the elastic of choice and also the hooks I am using; by doing this I feel I give myself every chance of landing whatever fish I hook. It is a popular misconception in angling that heavier lines mean landing bigger fish; in actual fact a balanced setup of hook, line and elastic gives you the best chance as each of these key focal points works simultaneously to help control the fish.
In certain circumstances I do stray from N-Gauge; this is usually during the winter months when lakes are at their clearest, or when finicky F1 carp are the target species. In this situation I feel a fluorocarbon gives me an edge over other anglers.
Gamakatsu Fluoro Carbon
Fluorocarbon is something that took me a while to get on board with. However, after catching a couple of fish on it I was soon on the bandwagon!
Gamakatsu Fluoro Carbon is without a doubt the best fluorocarbon I have used. Properties of fluorocarbon include being stiff and straight, and Gamakatsu manages to remain supple; unlike many other varieties it isn’t too stiff, which can often become a problem when it comes to knot strength and durability. Fluorocarbon doesn’t spin up or twist like standard mono, which goes a long way to stop tangles, meaning more time fishing and again more fish in the net.
Due to this characteristic it also means the rig is always very direct to the bait. Fishing for F1s often means fishing with shot close to a short hooklength, and being the shy-biting fish that F1s are, with conventional lines bites may be the smallest of dinks, or on occasion may not show up at all!
Fluorocarbon’s stiff nature means that I am always very direct to my hook; any movement at the business end of the rig will show up as an indication on the float.
Further to this, it is said that fluorocarbon is almost invisible in water. This was the key characteristic that made me think it would be worth giving it a go and when fishing for skittish, shy-biting fish such as F1s I am certain this can only be of benefit to my catch rate.
When I Use Fluorocarbon
During winter and/or when water clarity is at its clearest I am certain that using fluorocarbon catches me extra fish. It may just be in my head – would I catch these fish using a standard mono? Maybe. At the very least it makes me think I am catching more fish because I am using it and that alone is enough to make me keep using it, and brings me back to my original sentence regarding confidence.
The invisible quality of fluorocarbon means that when fishing for wary fish like F1s the fish won’t be able to see my hooklength in the same way that they may be able to with a standard mono. Although there is a question of how invisible fluorocarbon really is, I believe it definitely makes a difference and that is enough for me.
I have noticed that at venues like Tunnel Barn Farm, which I fish regularly throughout winter and also the summer months, and other venues where the water is particularly clear, fluorocarbon works particularly well.
Fluorocarbon can make all the difference in clear water
I tend to use fluorocarbon in diameters from 0.10mm up to 0.14mm and have had big F1 catches on it as well as big carp; even on the lightest of setups it has performed well, but as normal a well-balanced setup is crucial.
Sensas Loop Tyer
Steve uses a Sensas loop tyer for all his pole rig loops, here’s how:
A - Place the entire loop tyer head inside the formed loop.
B - Rotate the tyer (once for silver rigs and three times for carp rigs)
C - Pull the remaining loop into the 'mouth' part of the tyer
D - Moisten it with saliva then pull tight
E - Remove from the tyer to get a perfect figure-of-eight loop knot