Battle Lines with Brent Chapman

I had an interesting and embarrassing start with fluorocarbon line. It happened several years ago when fluorocarbon was just coming into wide use.

Brent Chapman

About the author

Brent Chapman

Brent Chapman

Brent Chapman is the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

I had an interesting and embarrassing start with fluorocarbon line. It happened several years ago when fluorocarbon was just coming into wide use.

I was fishing in central Florida, on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, and there was a pretty good topwater bite going on. The bass were schooling on Lake Toho and just tearing up walking baits and poppers.

When I got off the water, I decided to try some of that fluorocarbon line I had heard so much about, so I spooled up just about every reel I had with it.

The next day, when I went out on the water, I couldn't get my walking baits to work right. They were digging into the water too much — even diving under the surface.

I'd cast them out, watch them sitting in the water with their nose down and just reel them in. I checked the hooks, I looked for cracks in the plastic or wood where water might be getting in, but I couldn't figure out what the problem was for a good while. When I finally realized the line was sinking and dragging the bait down with it, I felt like an idiot.

Now when I'm fishing topwaters I use braided line almost exclusively. It casts really well, and, since it has no stretch, it gives you a crisp, sharp pivot when you're walking the dog with a Zara Spook or other walking bait.

Occasionally, if the water's really clear and I think the bass might be line shy, I'll use a very short (2 feet) monofilament leader to make it tougher to see the line.

The only other time I like a monofilament leader is when fishing a prop bait like the Smithwick Devil's Horse. I've found that the bait has a tendency to ride over the braid and catch in the prop blades, destroying the action of the lure. To prevent that, just tie on a short monofilament leader. The bait won't skitter or pull over the monofilament and catch in the props.

Try braided line with your topwaters — especially walking baits and buzzbaits. It works great. 

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