Bassmaster's 2008 Gear Guide: Spooling Up In '08

Fishing lines being offered for 2008 exemplify how hard manufacturers have been working to create more manageable lines and specialty products, and to enhance superlines that continue to gain popularity.

Perhaps the most noticeable trend in 2008 is the incursion of more red colored lines. Some say that translucent red lines disappear in water after 3 feet deep while others tout the visibility of red line for fishing vegetation or greenish colored water.

Superlines continue to gain momentum with anglers, and manufacturers are paying attention. In addition to complementing superline performance for a broad range of techniques, at least two companies are offering fluorescent brands and another has developed a translucent braid.

Fluorocarbon offerings also continue to grow as more companies come out with their versions of the superstrong yet invisible lines that cast and handle better than first generation fluorocarbons.

Here's an overview of what is coming next year:

1. Berkley

Professional Grade Trilene Fluorocarbon, the author's choice for best new line for 2008, has been tested by pros and refined by Berkley scientists to provide an extra strong yet manageable fluorocarbon line in clear or green. It is said to have a higher strength per diameter than many other fluorocarbon lines. It's available in sizes 2 through 25 pound and in 200- and 2,000-yard spools.

In addition, Trilene XT is offered in Tough Red and small diameter Trilene Sensation has been improved with more abrasion qualities and knot strength. You'll also find Trilene Big Game Fluorocarbon Leaders (10- to 80-pound wheels of 25 yards) and sizes 8 and 17 pound offered in Big Game Mono. (www.berkley-fishing.com; 712-336-1520)

2. Hi Seas

Freshwater anglers have another fluorocarbon line to choose from as the company best known for its saltwater products has entered the business. Made of high-grade materials, the line is said to be easy to cast and provides good knot strength and abrasion resistance.

It's available in 200-yard spools and sizes 6- through 25-pound test.

Also, Grand Slam Braid is manufactured with a "Tight Weave" process that delivers a more compact, thinner, round superline that packs uniformly on the reel. It's available in green or fluorescent yellow and in 10- to 200-pound sizes. (www.hiseas.nett; 610-466-6100)

3. Innovative Textiles

PowerPro may not be new, but the way it's packaged is worth noting because of how it simplifies spooling new line. With the EZ Spool packaging, the line stays in the box, which can be held between the angler's knees as line is wound onto the reel. When finished, there's a line cutter on top of the box that also secures the tag until you need to respool again. (www.powerpro.com; 800-650-8003)

4. Lucky Craft

The Japanese luremaker has ventured into the line business with four versions of Iron Athlete, including one made specifically for topwater lures, which was the author's pick as the second best new line of the year. Topwater Nylon was created with a hollow core that allows the line to float and enhance lure action. It is offered in sizes from 8 to 16 pound.

Other lines introduced include FC, a durable fluorocarbon; NL, a tough, low-stretch nylon line; and PE, a hybrid braided line that combines the strong, low-stretch characteristics of braid with the ease of handling in monofilament. All of the versions are being offered in popular sizes. (www.luckycraft.com; 714-241-8484)

5. Maxima

The company rolls out Treazure, a new family of copolymer line in One Shot filler spools and bulk spools in 6- to 40-pound sizes. The company touts Treazure as being a new type of copolymer material with extra abrasion resistance and breaking strength.

Also, Red Chameleon monofilament has been added to the company's Chameleon lineup of invisible lines. It comes in sizes 1- to 40-pound test.

In addition, fluorocarbon lines are offered in 1,800-yard bulk spools in sizes 2 to 40 and 27-yard coils are available in sizes 60 to 400 pound. (www.maxima-lines.com; 714-850-5966)

6. Penn

Low visibility, protection from ultraviolet rays and superior abrasion resistance are key characteristics of Penn Red Line. The red colored line is said to disappear in water deeper than 3 feet. It's offered in 1/4-pound spools in sizes 8 to 50 and in 2-pound spools from 12- to 80-pound test. (www.pennreels.com; 215-229-9415)

7. SpiderWire

Ultracast Invisi-Braid is described as translucent and nearly invisible underwater — the first superline to make such claims. Made with Dyneema GPS fibers, the ultrathin line is offered in 6- through 80-pound breaking strengths. (www.pennreels.com; 712-336-1520)

8. Stren

Night fishermen who use a black light to make their fluorescent line more visible now can do the same with a braided line, Microfuse, which is UV activated. The superline exhibits a blue neon glow above water but nearly disappears underwater. Its Dyneema microfibers are thermally fused to create a smooth finish for greater casting distance. It is offered in strengths of 2 through 30 pound.

Also, 100% Fluoro, a fluorocarbon line, has a blue tint that eliminates sparkle from sunlight transmitted down the line into the water. Cited for its impact resistance and manageability, the line comes in sizes 4 through 25.

Other additions include Blood Red, a tough red line for fishing heavy cover, and Stamina, a saltwater line offered in clear coral and Hi-Vis Gold colors. Blood Red, offered in sizes from 10 to 25 pound, is packaged on 1/4-pound spools to provide more value and earned the author's choice as the best value in new line offerings. (www.stren.com; 866-447-8736)

9. Sufix

Using a coloring process that incorporates fluorescence into Dyneema fibers, Fluorescent Neon Fire Performance Braid assures anglers they won't have trouble seeing strikes during the day or at night under a black light. The line is available in 6- through 130-pound strengths on 150- and 300-yard spools. It's also available in 1,200- and 3,500-yard bulk spools.

New additions include camo color patterns in Siege and Elite monofilament lines. (www.sufix.com; 800-554-1423)

10. Triple Fish

Carolina riggers will find the wrist spool of Carolina Rig Fluorocarbon a handy way to rig up. The German-made line comes in 25-yard leader wheel dispensers and in four sizes from 10 to 25 pound. The abrasion-resistant leader material is made of 100 percent fluorocarbon materials.

Also, Red Line has been added to the lineup in a 440-yard filler spool (4 through 25 pound) and a 25-yard wrist spool (15 through 100 pound).

In addition, bass anglers who dabble in muskie fishing or are looking for a strong fluorocarbon leader for their braided lines now have 25-yard Musky Wheels fluorocarbon leader dispensers as an option. The wrist spools come in several sizes from 40 to 125 pound. (www.triplefish.net; 352-243-0873)

11. Vicious

Don't overlook the Panfish Line added to the company's fishing product offerings, especially if you fish ultralight gear and have trouble seeing dainty monofilament. The Panfish Line is colored Hi-Vis yellow, which makes it more visible, and is said to combine strength, abrasion resistance, low stretch and low memory in a line that handles well. It's offered in sizes 2 to 8 pound. (www.vicious-fishing.com; 866-645-0024)

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Best Overall:

Trilene Professional Grade Fluorocarbon

Berkley's latest entry into the fluorocarbon line market gets our vote as the best new product because we've fished it and know how it handles, but more importantly, it's received high praise from Bassmaster Elite Series pros. We began hearing rave reviews last winter from pros who tested prototypes before the final product was introduced at the ICAST show in July.

By adding a little stretch to the line, Berkley has made it more manageable and more shock-resistant without sacrificing much sensitivity. And, like all fluorocarbon lines, it is less visible underwater than any other type of fishing line.

Runner-up:

Lucky Craft Topwater Nylon

Here's a concept that makes you say, "Why didn't I think of that?"— a monofilament line designed for topwater lures.

Naturally, it comes from a company that makes topwater lures. Lucky Craft addressed the need for a floating line to make surface baits work effectively by creating a hollow core in the nylon line. Because it floats, topwaters are less likely to dive underwater and will respond better to the rod action an angler imparts.

Could we expect more technique-specific lines in the future?

Best Value:

Stren Blood Red

Flippers who like the red line concept because it stands out in vegetation and greenish water should appreciate that Stren's version comes in 1/4-pound spools. Quarter-pound spools — a popular saltwater line packaging process — offer more than the basic filler spool, which means an angler can re-string more often. When fishing heavy cover for big bass, that's always a good idea.

There are about 650 yards of 20-pound test on the spool and 490 yards of the 25 pound.

The suggested retail price is $6.99 (street price likely will be less). Blood Red has a high shock value for bone-jarring hook sets and can take the punishment of fishing thick cover.

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