TUF-Line Guides Choice Braid
MSRP: 300 yd spool: $59.99 to $99.99
The hollow, 16-strand braid is well suited to fishing deep drop-offs in search of Alaska bottomfish, and we prefer to wind a 300-yard spool of 130-pound on our ocean reels before heading for open water. We’ll start with a few wraps of 50-pound monofilament to help avoid spool slippage and then splice in the braid. At the other end add a leader. Gagnon line makes for good offshore leaders, and the heavy line makes it much easier to lift the fish out of the water onto the boat without hurting your hand. You’ll see this combo on many charter boats across Alaska that target bottomfish using circle hooks and bait.
Berkley Trilene Braid
MSRP: $19.99 for 150-yard spool of 20- to 50-pound-test
Featuring outstanding durability for the roughest fishing conditions, this line also offers tight, round radial braid construction that resists “dig-in” on baitcast reels, making it ideal for numerous fresh- and saltwater applications in Alaska.
Airflo Rage Compact Skagit Line
A new favorite for Spey casting in situations where we don’t need to get deep (think the smolt outmigration). Paired with polyleaders, this thing rocks! Also, it’s made of polyurethane, so expect a long-lasting line.
Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead Fluorocarbon Leader
MSRP: $11.99 for 4-pound-test, $13.99 for 17-pound-test
This is a really hard, tough fluorocarbon with superior knot strength. It comes in a 100-yard spool, with seven options from 4- to 17-pound test. This line shines as tippet for stillwater, swinging flies for Kenai trout, and is awesome under a bobber for clear water silvers in places like Montana Creek, Little Susitna River or Goose Creek. It’s tough stuff; don’t try to cut it with your teeth!
Cortland Switch Line
Paired with your favorite new switch rod, this line performs flawlessly whether snapping out Spey-style roll efforts or when putting a bend in your rod with overhead casts.
Ande Monofilament Backcountry Envy Green Fluorescent
MSRP: $4.95 to $450 depending on spool size
We’d describe this monofilament as soft, with exceptional strength, which makes it a good choice for use on smaller reels where you really need a line with little memory. In many salmon and steelhead scenarios, you need precision casts and good presentation to get fish to bite, and strong line to bring those fish to hand. Consider this line for those scenarios. In addition to envy green fluorescent, Backcountry is now available in slate blue and forest green in tests from 4- to 80 pounds.
Airflo Salmon/ Steelhead Polyleader
MSRP $6.54 to $11.46
Great turnover is assured when using a polyleader, whether on the end of a Scandi-style Spey line, Airflo Rage line or stillwater fly line. Leaders come in three lengths (5-, 10- and 14-foot) and seven density options from floating to extra-super-fast sinking.
MSRP: $13.99 for 125-yard spool
The longest casting and easiest handling superline TUF-Line has developed, Supercast almost feels like mono, though it quite assuredly performed like braid. Available from 6- to 30-pound tests, there were few occasions we didn’t find this line handy to have around in the past year.