Best Fishing Line for Fishing
in Alaska in 2016
We like the compact, 50-yard wrist skeins for creating on-the-water leaders and enjoyed stealth approaches for trout and salmon using the 10- and 20-pound clear in 2015. It’s 100% fluorocarbon, which means it’s tough, it sinks, and it is invisible underwater—all of which add up to good leader material.
P-Line XTCB-8 Braid
XTCB-8 Braid is round, thin and smooth. We love how it casts, which can be attributed to the smaller, rounder braid made possible using 8 strands of fiber, as well as the fact that it is Teflon-coated, which reduces friction as the line comes of the spool. Throwing spinners and spoons to coho using 30-pound-test was effortless. P-Line offers this superior line in 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 40-, 50-, 65- and 80-pound-test in both 150- and 300-yard spools. Superlines just keep getting better, as is evidenced by this product.
TUF-Line Tournament 8 Braid
We tested the blue-colored 50-pound-test and liked how smoothly it casted when throwing big baits and how it transmitted even the lightest bites. The line is round and quiet through the guides, as well as being easy to see. TUF-Line’s Nano Coating Technology gives the line a hydrophobic quality that drastically reduces friction.
Seaguar Tatsu Fluorcarbon Line
We fished this as mainline to finicky trout in clear water and our catch rates were better than on the other rods with superline. It’s supple and strong, combining two 100% fluorocarbon resins into a double-structure line. Eightdifferent pound-tests are available from 4- to 25 pounds.
Seaguar Smackdown Tournament Braid
With so many braided line choices on the market these days, it’s sometimes hard to choose. One of the major drawbacks of braid is that it can sometimes dig into itself on the spool, creating poor drag performance and possibly break-offs. Smackdown’s 8-carrier braid is round, and it stays round. This gives it a little more body than other braids, and it prevents tip wraps as well as the line digging into itself on the spool. Smackdown comes in either green or Hi-Vis yellow. We used 50-pound Smackdown for a season of hard salmon fishing, including trolling inline and rotating flashers, back-bouncing and back-trolling large diver/bait rigs, Kwikfish and MagLip plugs. Performance and longevity were exceptional.
Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics Commando Head
The trend has been for increasingly shorter two-handed rods, and out of necessity, the typical Skagit line has become shorter as well. The OPST Commando head is radically shorter than other Skagit lines, yet retains the correct taper and grains-per-foot to launch large payloads (sinking tips and huge flies). This head is the cutting edge in Skagit line evolution. These heads are very well matched to shorter Spey rods and are the best fit out there for switch rods. Commando heads also shine for single-hand Skagit casting. Due to the refined taper (developed by Ed Ward and Jerry French) and heavy grains-per-foot, one can use a head significantly lighter than what has been the norm, yet still launch larger sculpins, Intruders and Dirty Hoh-type flies to fishable distances easily, comfortably and more efficiently. What’s more you can do it with a setup that is lighter in-hand, resulting in much less angler fatigue over the course of the day. We tested heads from 275- to 350 grains on 6-, 7- and 8-weight switch rods. When our contributing editor George Krumm is two-handed fishing for large trout and steelhead, he now usually reaches for a switch rod instead of the Spey rod, and the reason is the Commando head.