Seek our expert advice for the best fishing line for Alaska. From braid to monofilament, fluorocarbon to spectra, leader to tippet, spey line and Skagit tips, Fish Alaska magazine Editors try them all summer long and compile our picks to bring the best fishing line for Alaska to our readers no matter where and how you fish the Greatland.
Izorline Platinum Leader 40-pound-test Leader
Izorline Platinum Leader is a very uniform, smooth, easy-to-tie and strong leader material. Our tester used 40-pound-test clear Platinum for tying mooching leaders, and also for Super Bait and spinner leaders tied to ProChip 11-inch flashers. This co-polymer leader is durable and abrasion-resistant; no break-offs occurred during this summer’s fishing.
Rio InTouch Scandi 3D Spey Line, #7/8 H/I/S3
Scandi heads are most often thought of for near-surface, small fly presentations. However, don’t let the word “Scandi” in this head’s name fool you. This line takes Scandinavian-style fishing to fishing depths that were previously difficult to achieve. The #7/8 H/I/S3 indicates that the rear part of the head sinks very slowly, the middle section sinks a little faster, and the portion nearest the fly sinks like a type 3 sink-tip. This means the line sinks a little below surface currents, slowing your swing speed, and the type 3 portion will get you down two- to five feet depending on the current speed. Our tester commented that this line cuts through the wind very well, and he effectively utilized both touch-and-go as well as Skagit casts with this head.
We tried both 20- and 50-pound-test Ande Braid this year and could easily see that this generation of braid from Ande is better than past offerings. Tough, quiet, non-stretching and easy to cast, we were impressed when throwing spinners to coho and jigging metal to toothy denizens of the deep.
Izorline Brutally Strong Spectra
We tested 50-pound-test in natural color and hauled up a range of bottomfish in 2017. We like that it didn’t bind when piled on the reel and that it is strong, doesn’t stretch and is supple. We were able to feel bites at 300 feet and bury the hook. This line is available in 12- to 300-pound-test and in many spool sizes.
Seaguar ABRAZX 100% Fluorocarbon Musky & Pike Leader 80-Pound-Test
Stealthy. Strong. Superb abrasion-resistance for toothy critters such as pike. Seaguar ABRAZX 100% Fluorocarbon Musky & Pike Leader comes in 25-yard coils and is a great alternative to steel leaders. Thick fluorocarbon is easier on fish that you plan to release. It is available in tests from 80- to 130 pounds, and although not marketed for saltwater species, the 130-pound-test version can be used for lingcod and halibut rigs. We used the 80-pound on northern pike on the Innoko River and it worked very well.
Rio InTouch Switch Chucker #6 (420 grains)
The Switch Chucker is an interesting line that is capable of several different fishing styles. This integrated line is aimed at switch rods, and versatility is the name of the game with the Switch Chucker. With it, one can easily fish indicators and beads in the morning, then switch to a poly leader or light T-tip for Skagit-casting sculpins later in the day. It is a short, powerful taper with an integrated running line, so an angler can also strip flies back to the rod tip when targeting silvers in the soft water in which they sometimes hold. It’s an easy-casting line, and performs very well in the wind.
Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics Commando Tips
Not that long ago, level sections of T-material were the only sink-tip material available. OPST refined what was available by making theirs in three different weights (96-, 132- or 168 grains) but with several sink rates in each weight. For instance, in their 132-grain range (which is equivalent in weight to T-11) there is a dual-density S2/3 tip that sinks at roughly 3 inches-per-second; a S5/6 tip that sinks at about six inches-per-second, and a S8/9 that sinks at roughly 9 inches-per-second. All three of these tips are the same length and weight, which enables the caster to use the same casting stroke regardless of which tip is on the end of their head. OPST designed these tips to be used with their Commando Heads; however, they work well on any Skagit head. Note that they are 12 feet long; this helps eliminate blown anchors for anglers using very short heads.
Seaguar MAX 100% Fluorocarbon Tippet Material
There are lots of good tippet materials on the market today. Seaguar MAX fluorocarbon is a great one. Our tester used 3x and 4x versions in Alaska stillwaters this summer and landed hundreds of fish, with many in the 18- to 24-inch range. He also landed one he estimates at over 30 inches—a fish which tore through a couple different weed beds and seemed sure to break off. The 3x MAX held despite the abrasive nature of the weeds and the unusually large rainbow. MAX ties knots easily and is suppler than many other fluorocarbon tippet materials. It is available in 30-yard spools, in sizes from 1x to 7x.
Izorline Fluorocarbon Leader
We tested 10- and 20-pound-test leader material in 2017 and were impressed. It’s tough, holds knots well, sinks and helped us catch fish. We used it in both still- and moving water, fishing chironomid patterns and streamers on fly rods. It comes in a wide range of tests and in three different-sized spools.