CARSON'S ARSON, Rico Suave...


We don’t use micrometers as they do in Britain and much of Europe. We don’t trifle with line thickness much. We buy pound-test and only if we have a moment extra to spend we glance at 3 decimals worth of line diameter data.

But as sure as frog fishing has made us familiar with 65- and 80-pound braided line, we can be deceived into thinking, “It’s all good.” You know: 10- to 15-pound for chuggers and say, 15- to 20-pound for walking baits. Whatever.

However, the idea of having an almost black line (yeah, it could be white) drawn straight to the frog doesn’t seem to bother anyone. And when you see the boys throwing 20-pound test mono with buzz baits, for example, I think a good portion of us are confident in believing that bass fixate enough on targets that “fat” line isn’t a problem. Not to the bass, anyway.

But what about to the specific lure?

I have a pretty substantial box devoted to walking baits, from maybe 2 1/2-inch Sammy’s to some tray bending Lunker Punkers–but the ones with the most battle scars are of the Spook, Super Spook and Vixen ilk. That’s because those are the ones that don’t take any thinking on my part and fish just fine on something .014 to .020-inch diameter as in 14- to as much as 20-pound nylon.

And what do those big walkers have in common (even the junior models)? They are big and buoyant. They can float big line–even water-logged line–and the lure action is only minimally affected.

But what about the leaner walkers. You might use that 14- or 15-pound mono, but after a few rod strokes, the weight of wetted line (from the slack portion of the retrieve) starts to drag. As more line touches the water, the heavier it gets and soon your floater starts becoming a diver.

I recently learned a good lesson from a young man, Carson Simms of the Lobina Lures staff. He told me he fishes the Rico Suave with direct tie, 30-pound braid. Yes, there are some variations in diameter with braid, but certainly, that pound test is somewhere akin to the diameter of 8- to almost 10-pound mono–and the braid doesn’t absorb water.

And while Carson chooses a super line because he throws it in nasty places on Lake Amistad near where he lives, he also needs the right amount of flotation (without drag) to go with that strength. If not, the bait does not walk well–at least for very long.

Now, are you ready for direct tie braid? Maybe not. Maybe you’d still prefer all mono or a mono leader. But whichever, consider the buoyancy of the specific bait when you tie on. Line diameter (with the right flotation properties) matters. Matching these up to the same properties of your lure will open up your whole tackle box.

Well, it has for me.



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