An often overlooked piece of ice fishing equipment is the type of line on your spool. It wasn’t too long ago that picking an ice line wasn’t very complicated, simply because of the lack of options. Now many manufacturers specifically engineer lines to deal with the temperatures we see with ice fishing. But with tons of good options out there it can be a challenge to narrow down the right one for the job.
Most of us started here and it still has a place in the tackle box. It stays limp and manageable in cold weather so it won’t cause many tangles with equipment. It also does a good job of being fairly invisible to the fish. One thing that separates it from the others is that it stretches the most. This can be beneficial in certain situations, for instance in shallow water sight fishing. It provides some cushion for a battle with a big fish with just a little bit of line out.
Less stretch, greater sensitivity, and decreased visibility underwater are some of the greatest strengths of fluorocarbon. Fish can really look over a bait when ice fishing, so in extremely clear water or pressured situations fluorocarbons near invisibility can be a big deal. A big advancement in Fluorocarbon and monofilament has been the introduction of metered line from Clam Outdoors. It combines high visibility colored sections of line with clear sections of line. Giving the best of both worlds invisibility to fish and visibility to the fisherman all without adding a leader knot into the line. You’ll also find it is easier to detect bites and set the hook in deeper water. The only drawback to fluorocarbon is it a bit stiffer and less manageable.
A monofiliment core with a fluorocarbon coating combines the properties of the 2 lines. Line becomes more manageable but also stays nearly invisible and is a great choice for an all-purpose ice fishing line. One thing to note is while monofilament floats and fluorocarbon sinks, the line will have neutral buoyancy.
This is probably the most specialized of the ice lines. It definitely isn’t going to be hiding from the fish but it’s no stretch properties can make a huge difference in deep water. 30+ feet of line out can make it extremely difficult to detect bites unless you are using a no stretch braid, not mention driving a hook home in those depths without braid is a challenge. You can add a fluorocarbon leader to make it invisible to the fish, I use a double uni knot to tie the 2 together. Oftentimes I find it simply doesn’t matter because it is so dark in 30+ feet and I have no problems getting a bite on just straight braid.
There isn’t always a simple answer when it comes to fishing lines. But with some thought and experimentation, you can narrow down the ones that perform the best in every situation.