Your preferred mono for UL stream setup 4lb?

39 posts in this topic

In theory, the evolution of our gear and tactics is a well reasoned and well thought out process.  Much is dependent upon our target species and fishing environment.  If you're fishing creeks where distance is not an issue and will be breaking off and retieing frequently, then straight 4 lb. mono make a lot of practical sense.  My venture into ultralight began 35-40 years ago with a Mitchell 308 (French made with an after market gear oscillation adapter), a 5 1/2 ft Browning Silaflex first generation graphite rod (still a favorite and rebuilt 5 times) with 4 lb. Trilene XL.  In those days I slung mostly Kastmasters and Panther Martins.  After catching a limit of 5 trout totalling 15 lbs., I thought things just couldn't get much better than that.  Well, time marches on.

I thought I was a pretty fair trout fisherman until.............some years later, I stopped at a local lake where they periodically planted trout and got my azz handed back to me on a silver platter with pants neatly pressed and folded.  The margin was so disparate that I just put down my rod and watched.  Just planters you may say, but the lessons were not lost on me.  When someone is landing 40-50 fish in short order and everyone else is averaging less than a fish per person, the stink of the roses..........................


He was using a Mitchell Zero gravity rod, Tica Cetus SB500 reel, Silver Thread 2 lb.copolomer with a No-Knot Fast Snap to a mini jig.  At the time, mini-jigging for trout was pretty much unknown in my neck of the woods.  Unlike George Meade and the Southern California crowd his jigging technique was incredibly fast where the rod tip moved no more than 1/2".  No one could make a mini-jig dance like he could.  With a 1/64 or 1/80th oz. mini-jig, he could pull fish after fish out of skinny water only inches deep.  Truly incredible but I digress.  2 lb. Silver Thread obviously worked extremely well for him under those conditions.


While exploring the finesse technique of mini-jigging, for a while I gravitated towards 2 lb. gold Stren with a 4 lb. fluorocarbon leader.  Although stretchier and less sensitive than XL  I could see the line.  For someone who's half blind, that is a big plus.  If the line twitched, it was go time.  On a good day, I could approach a third of the proficiency of the master and no longer felt compelled to hang my head in shame in his presence.


Around this time, partly due to the escalation of gas prices, I decided to explore local resources like the beach which is just outside my doorstep.  For someone who's only been a sweetwater fisherman all his life, this was a bold move.  Total greenhorn.  Beginner's luck graced me with a 31.5 lb striper on the beach.  When tested after I got home, the mono broke at 10 lb.  That one fish did copious damage to my bank account.  Most of the surf guys were using braid so I thought I should try it out.  As my e-bay specials (a couple of Dam Quick 441 N's) had less than perfect line lay, I went with 14# Fireline.  For my surf fishing needs, I never looked back.


Took a little while for that moment to arrive.  That borderline epiphany............ Duh........... Why isn't anyone using this stuff for mini-jigging for trout?  I'm not gonna go so far as to say the Lord heard me and answered my prayers, but 1# Fireline Crystal was pretty much brand new on the market.  Wound up getting a few spools of 1# Fireline Crystal Competition.  Dunno if this stuff is still available or just the regular 1# Fireline Crystal.  Truthfully, I don't know if there is any difference between the Competition and the regular stuff.  Light Fireline Crystal may be more readily available overseas.  The caveat is that this stuff has extremely low abraision resistance.  The teeth on a dink trout will still pop you off in a heartbeat.  A leader must be used.


Naturally this begs the question of how to attach a leader to such light Fireline.  I took .020" stainless steel wire and made teeny tiny S clips.  I closed the gaps so they became figure 8  links.  On the braid side I use a double line 9 turn Trilene knot.  On the other side I attach a 3 ft. 4 lb. fluorocarbon leader to a No-Knot Fast Snap.  When asked what I was using, people were amazed that I was using " 1 lb." test line.  The truth of the matter is that I was man handling the trout as it breaks at 3.3 lb.  2 lb Fireline Crystal breaks at 5.6 lb with the double line 9 turn Trilene knot.  Since doing these test so many years ago, I have tweaked and improved my version of that knot.


Before I perfected my technique, bare feet and toes within 15 ft were threatened by a carpet laden with shards of stainless steel.  Nowadays you guys have it made.  All  you have to do is stop by your friendly local neighborhood fly shop and get some 1.5 mm tippet ;rings.  Truth be told, I still prefer my home made figure 8 links as the wire is completely round.  Most tippet rings are stamped and have an edge.  I also have my own thoughts re: matching wire diameter and braid diameter for optimal knot strength but that is a subject for another day.  Perhaps Aquaholik will address that issue one day.


Mono and braid each have their place.  In a snag free environment, braid would be the unquestionable choice for me.  I no longer have to strain my eyeballs watching that stretchy gold Stren mono as the sensitivity of such light braid is so incredible that a blind SOB such as myself will have more hook ups.  As if that isn't enough, consider this:  OVERALL WEIGHT OF YOUR OUTFIT IS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT CONCERNING ITS SENSITIVITY.


For most of my life I have held nothing but disdain for  those cutesy toy like 500 series reels.  With 2 lb. mono I would give a begrudging rating of OK to the best of them and a casting rating of sub "meh" to all of them.  With 4 lb mono they were coil generators and it took a while for the line to wet soak enough to become useable.  Small diameter spools and mono don't play well together.  One of the reasons I bought a couple of Stradic 1000 MGFA's back in the day is that a 1000 series capacity reel had a 2500 series diameter spool.  With advent of 1# Fireline Crystal not only has a well made 500 series reel become a viable option but some may very well entertain thoughts of "well balanced" when paired with a high modulus micro lite stick with a premium cork Tennessee handle.


Not gonna say one's a 4 wheeler and the other is a sports car as they both have their place.  If your reel comes with more than one spool, then spool one with mono and the other with light braid.  All I can say is that light braid opened up a whole new world of options for me.










Edited by bass11

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the well thought out replies.  Appreciated.  I like fireline quite a bit and use it pretty much exclusively now (6, 8, 14 lb) in salt, and very often in fresh.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2018 at 6:30 AM, vce12342000 said:

yellow stren 

I'm with Victor on this one - he's the one who had gotten me moved over several years ago.  The big spools!!!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always used the regular Berkeley Vanish, but recently re-spooled with the new Transition.  It takes on the color of the surrounding when wet.  




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2019 at 10:51 PM, PatFin401 said:

I use stren. I found it on sale years ago for $1 and bought a ton of it

I used stren 4# clear/blue for years on my UL

I put 8# braid on it and plan on using it in a couple hours for the first time. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.