Fishing Lines 101

By Benaiah J Fogle

It does not take a beginner long to become confused when deciding on what line to put on their reel. Here we will explain a little about the various fishing lines on the market today along with their pros and cons. At the end of this article we will also explain what size (lbs test) line is best for your reel.

Monofilament, or just “Mono,” Fishing line is probably the most well-known type of fishing line.  Here in the Philippines we typically have two types of mono.  The first is the more widely available Nylon.  This line is also known as “Local Nylon.”  It is it used mainly by commercial and subsistence fishermen because it is cheap and readily available all over the country in fishing supply shops. This line has a thicker diameter than the higher quality imported line and also tends to have poorer knot strength. Its main use is for handlines because of its thicker diameter.

The second type mono lines available are the branded fishing lines from the USA, Australia, Europe and Japan.  These are more specifically designed for sport fishermen and usually have a thinner diameter and better knot strength.  Like the locally available nylon these mono line do stretch when put under pressure. These lines made by Momoi, Ande, Stren, Berkley, and others are harder to find and usually can only be found in sport fishing tackle shops and sports stores around the country.

Polymer (multi/co) These lines are very similar to monofilament lines however they are usually quite a bit more stretchy.  They have their place in certain applications of fishing however in general these types of lines are not recommended.FishRmen Fluoro 30lbs x 50m

Fluorocarbon is another type of fishing line similar to Mono.  The main differences however are that it typically has less stretch than mono, it is alleged to be less visible in the water, and it is supposed to be more resistant to abrasion.

Braided Lines are another very different type of fishing line that have become quite popular. There are many brands and types of these lines available on the market today. -PE Most of these lines are made from poly ethylene strands that are woven together to form a thread.  The number of fibers woven together is often expressed by the word Ply or with the letter X4, where the number corresponds to the number of fibers.  The lower the number of strands the less smooth the line (and usually the cheaper the line is) the more strands the smoother the line and thee more expensive.   Today most lines range from 4Ply to 32Ply.  Braid has virtually no stretch which makes it ideal for deep sea fishing.  It also has a very thin diameter while still having a high lbs test rating.   Cons of this type of lines are that commonly used knots have a tendency to slip.  Special knots are needed to secure the line.  Also the line can become hopelessly tangled when casting or trolling.  It is much harder to untangle than mono lines and o922684_550858768299591_1396163631_nften needs to be cut. Braid is also quite a bit more expensive than mono lines.  Beginners who use braid often make mistakes using it and end up losing a lot to tangles.  It is however one of the best types of fishing lines available once an angler learns to use it.  -Dacron is an older version of the modern PE lines that is still available.  It is woven like some of the higher ply PE lines with a hollow core.  This creates a flat line when tension is put on the line.  Mono lines are often spliced into the hollow core to create knotless leader connections. Dacron line is only of use too ocean fishermen who troll and bottom fish.

Nylon Twine is another type of line that can be found around the country.  It is not used very often as a fishing line except by subsistence fishermen as an alternative to a mono line.  The main reason it is included in this list is because it is label as “Fishing Line.” This can be confusing to people unfamiliar with fishing lines because it resembles braided line but has a great deal of stretch.  For sport fishermen this does not make a good fishing line to put on reels.  Instead it makes an excellent line to wrap rod guides, decorate rods and to use for other household projects.

Brown Marbled Grouper ( Epinephelus fuscoguttatus )

1383453_1110079975685754_3502371639714813041_n

Common Name:  Grouper, Rockcod, Blotchy Grouper, Tiger Grouper, Flower Cod

Local Name:  Lapu Lapu (Tagalog),  Pugapo (Cebuano)

Max Size:  120 cm  (11 kg)

Biodiversity: Marine, Reef Associated,

Depth1– 60 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:    12 inches

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Squid, fish or cut bait;  jigs

IUCN Red List Status:   Near Threatened (NT)

Grouper are some of the more elusive gamefish found around the country in the ocean. This species is no exception.  The Brown Marbled Grouper is distinguished from its numerous cousins by it unique blotched and marbled brown pattern.  This species, like most grouper species here, is a highly valued fish.  They are prized for their white flakey flesh and are marketed both live and fresh around the country.

These grouper can be caught a variety of ways on both artificial and natural baits and lures.  Groupers like this tend to be quite difficult to land because of their tendency to dive for cover once hooked. I sturdy leader line is necessary to land one of these fish. Grouper are also known as to be more active at night.

Grouper are one of the fish here in the Philippines that have been chosen for farm raising.  This particular species has been successfully raised in saltwater ponds .  There is some difficulty however in raising grouper in ponds because of their carnivorous nature and high meat diet.  This particular species is listed as near threatened, however it is our opinion that in fact they are not and that the fish’s cautious nature and feeding habits make them seem rarer than they actually are.

Orbicular Batfish ( Platax orbicularis )

Platax orbicularis

Common Name:    Batfish,

Local Names   Dahong-Gabi (Tagalog); Alibangbang, Lagupan (Cebuano)

Max Size:  60 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Brackish, Reef-Associated,

Depth:   5 – 35 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, cutbait

IUCN Red List Status Not Evaluated (NE)

Batfish are common throughout the seas of the Philippines.  Juveniles are often seen around shallow reefs and sandy flats, while adults are most common around wrecks and deeper structures. Their name in Tagalog: Dahong-Gabi literally means Taro Leaf, and comes from this fish’s broad but flat body.

Batfish are edible however they have a very bitter skin which ruins the flavor of the meat if eaten.

LAMAVE.ORG Conservation Through Research and Education

lamave.org

One of the resident Whale Sharks of Oslob, Cebu

 

Fishing the Philippines is proud to say that we have a small part in the conservation of Large Marine Vertebrates in the Philippines!  We have been able to supply our friends at LAMAVE with materials to tag Whale Sharks, Tiger Sharks and Mantas for scientific study!  It is great to see this NGO working to learn more about and promote conservation of these giants of the tropical seas.

Check out LAMAVE and what they do:

shark conservation philippines

Tricolor Parrotfish ( Scarus tricolor )

scarus tricolor

A Tricolor Parrotfish speared in Dumanjug, Cebu

Common Name:    Parrotfish,

Local Names   Loro (Tagalog); Mol-Mol (Cebuano)

Max Size:  26 cm (2.2 kgs)

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  2 – 25 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  ??

IUCN Red List Status Least Concern (LC)

Parrotfish are abundant throughout the Philippine Islands and are associated with the beautiful and plentiful reefs of the tropical waters here.  This particular species has a darker body compared  to many of the other species. Other notable features are the fish’s elongated snout, parrot-like teeth, flame red tail, and large scales.  This species grows to a good size of 1-2 kgs however like most parrotfish species they are difficult to catch because of their unique diet and coral crunching teeth.  These fish are often the target of spear fishermen because of their abundance, large size and delicious flesh.

Two-Spot Banded Snapper ( Lutjanus biguttatus )

lutjanus biguttatus

Two-Spot Banded Snapper caught in Cebu

Common Name:    Snapper, Scribbled Wrasse,

Local Names Bambangon, Pargito, Maya-Maya (Tagalog); Awnan, Malaponti, (Cebuano)

Max Size:  25 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 36 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit: 10 none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Fish,

IUCN Red List Status Not Evaluated (NE)

This is a somewhat uncommon species of small snapper found around reefs and sea slopes of the country.  It is easily identified by its eye catching color, its white band running nose to tail, and its two small spots located just under the dorsal fin.  These fish feed mainly on small fish and crustaceans and are most likely to be caught while fishing around reefs using small lures and live or dead small fish or shrimp. Smaller hooks would be required to catch these fish because their small mouth size. These fish both school in large numbers and also swim solitary.

Cheek-Lined Wrasse ( Oxycheilinus digramma )

cheeklined wrasse

A Cheek-Lined Wrasse caught off of Mactan Is.

Common Name:    Wrasse, Scribbled Wrasse,

Local Names Mameng,  (Tagalog);  Mol-Mol, Labayan, (Cebuano)

Max Size:  40 cm 

Biodiversity:  Marine, Brackish, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 60 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  10 inches 

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Fish, Fish

IUCN Red List Status Least Concern (LC)

This plentiful species is found all throughout the Philippines around the abundant tropical reefs. The larger wrasse are one of the bruisers on the coral reefs.  They are typically found alone or in pairs generally confined to a particular area or even part of the reef.

Scribbled Filefish ( Aluterus scriptus )

fishing Bataan

A Large Filefish caught by Eric in Bataan

Common Name:    Filefish, Tilapia

Local Name ??? (Tagalog);  Saguksok (Cebuano)

Max Size:  110 cm (2.4 kg)

Biodiversity:  Marine, Reef-Associated,

Depth:  3 – 120 m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Alae, Seagrass, Small crustaceans

IUCN Red List Status Not Evaluated (NE)

Mayan Cichlid ( Cichlasoma urophthalmus )

Mayan Cichlid

A great shot of a Mayan Cichlid thanks to Welbart

Common Name:    Mexican Mojarra, Tilapia (mis-identified) 

Local Name:  ??? (Tagalog);  ??? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  39.4 cm (1.1 kg)

Biodiversity:  Freshwater, Brackish, Introduced

Depth:  0 – ?? m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  none

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Shrimp, Worms, Small Fish, Insects

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

Mayan Cichlids have been reported in central Luzon as established in many local waterways.  This species is originally from South America and has been transferred around the globe through the aquarium trade. That is undoubtedly how it found its way to the waters of the Philippines. It is likely that this species will spread throughout the country and become well established.

These cichlids are look very similar to tilapia only they have a more brownish and reddish color and a spot on their tail.  They also have eight bars along their bodies which can help identify them.  Anglers are most likely to catch these in the Provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan when fishing in freshwater for tilapia or brackish water fish.  Mayan Cichlids make good food fish and can be fished for as gamefish.

mayan cichlid

Cocoa Snapper ( Paracaesio stonei )

coco snapper

Common Name:   Snapper, Deepwater Snapper, Stones Fusilier

Local Name  ?? (Tagalog);  ?? (Cebuano)

Max Size:  50 cm

Biodiversity: Marine, Bathydemersal, Deep-Water

Depth:  200 – 300+ m

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait/Lures:  Fish, Squid

IUCN Red List Status:  Not Evaluated (NE)

These fish are found in extremely deep water and are therefore quite difficult for most anglers to catch.  To catch these fish specialized deep sea tackle is need such as PE braided line, heavy lead weights, lights, and electric reels.

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