If you respool your reels as much as I do, I hope you stocked up on some extra fluorocarbon line recently because it's summer and you're going to need it.
Summertime fishing conditions are different from any other time of the year. Much of this centers around water clarity. In short, summertime brings about some of the year's clearest water conditions. Unlike the spring when most areas receive much of their rainfall, the summer is usually dry and free of precipitation. This results in less runoff and clearer water. Also, summer brings about rapid growth in shoreline vegetation, which filters the water. Plus, summer fish are usually more finicky about what they eat. All this boils down to fish get a better look at your bait.
By this time of year, pretty much all of my go-to presentations are being thrown on the new Berkley® Trilene® 100% Fluorocarbon line (this stuff is awesome, but we'll get to it later). I use fluorocarbon as a leader when flipping a jig on braid, I use it to pop a spoon in deep water and to stroke a jig and a plastic worm. But most importantly, I use it for deep cranking. About the only thing I don't do with fluorocarbon is throw topwater baits — and that's only because fluorocarbon line sinks.
Deep cranking is one of my favorite ways to catch fish in the summer. This time of year, a lot of the fish have pulled off the bank and are settled in deeper water near structure like rock piles, tree stumps and ledges. With deep cranking, line visibility really isn't an issue like it is when you throw a shaky head jig or a plastic worm. But, Trilene 100% fluorocarbon is more invisible underwater than other lines, so it does have that going for it.
Most importantly, the new Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line has an incredible strength-to-diameter ratio. For example, 10-pound Trilene 100% fluorocabon has a smaller diameter than 10-pound mono, so when I am deep cranking for summer bass, I get extended casting distances and the bait dives more quickly. And because the line is hard, it is extremely abrasion resistant. I like to bounce crankbaits off of any type of underwater structure, so I need a line that can take repeated run ins with stumps and rocks.
The sensitivity of the Trilene 100% fluorocarbon allows me to detect what kind of structure I am banging into with my crankbait, to detect bottom composition whenever I come into contact with the bottom and to detect when I have a bass playing with my bait. It takes a lot of practice, but with Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, you can actually feel when you have a bass in pursuit of a crankbait. With the bass swimming behind the bait, it is almost as though the fish is drafting like a racecar driver would draft behind another car during a race. The drafting slightly alters the action and feel of the crankbait and lets me know — through the sensitivity in the line — if I need to slow down and give the fish a chance to catch up and get the hooks in its mouth.
I'm really excited about the new Trilene 100% fluorocarbon and have been using it for quite some time. It's the best fluorocarbon I've ever used. All the guys on tour feel the same way, and the guys who don't have it are begging and borrowing all they can from the guys who do have it. I use the 10-pound test for deep cranking and I have a lot of confidence in it. Having confidence in a line is an important thing when you have to lean on a fish to get it to the boat.
My home lake is Lake Fork (Texas) and I fish there as much as I can. I have routinely caught 6- to 10-pound bass out of that lake on 10-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon. I can cast it a mile, get the bait down to the depth I need to be to get to the fish and — because it doesn't have much stretch — I can really muscle those fish without fear of losing them.
My deep cranking set up consists of an Abu Garcia® REVO™ STX on a 7-foot medium-fast Fenwick® Techna AV® with a fast tip. With the Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line on the REVO and a long, stiff casting rod, I can cast those big, deep diving crankbaits a long way, and the rod gives me the sensitivity I need to detect the strikes and to be able to set the hook.
Fluorocarbon line is perfectly suited for fishing summer's conditions and Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line is the best I've ever used for everything from fishing plastics to cranking. I've been lucky enough to spend a lot of time using it, fishing with it in tournaments and made-for-TV fishing contests, and I use it almost exclusively now. It's the edge I need when fishing for finicky summer bass.