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Line Types

BRAIDED DACRON LINES rated from 15- to 60-pound test are commonly used as tip-up backing. Vinyl- or teflon-coated versions are designed to not soak up water, making them more resistant to freezing. While vinyl-coated dacron tends to have a great deal of memory, teflon-coated lines remain flexible even in the coldest temperatures.

STANDARD MONOFILAMENTS are used on linewinders, plastic ice reels, spincast, spinning or baitcast reels in varying break strengths. They may also be used for tip-up leader material. Thin, flexible, clear or green monofilaments are the choice of most ice anglers, although some anglers like fluorescent lines for greater visibility or "cold weather" designations, which are usually blue in color and specially formulated for winter usage.

MICRO MONO, or very thin diameter monofilaments commonly rated under 2 pound break strengths, are used for presenting micro-sized lures to panfish. Some innovative anglers even use transparent nylon sewing thread, often called "invisible thread," on their ultralight spinning reels. As a bonus, invisible thread is inexpensive; most fabric stores sell 100-yard spools of it for about a dollar.

"SUPERLINES," which are made of Kevlar(r), Spectra(r) or MicroDyneema(r) material, feature little stretch and a very thin diameter for their break-strength, often offering twice as much or more strength for their diameter than comparably rated monofilaments. They're used mostly for deep-water jigging. Because some superlines are easy for fish to see in clear water, many anglers use 3- to 4-foot fluorocarbon leaders. When fluorocarbon is immersed in water, it blends in so well it's almost invisible.

WIRE LINES come in single-strand and braided varieties. Multi-strand are used mainly for deep-water jigging because of their no-stretch properties, but if not properly cared for, they easily kink. Both single and braided wire lines are also used to make wire leaders and rigs for tip-up fishing.


It's well documented that knots weaken line, but some fare better than others. Below are three quality, easy-to-tie knots commonly used in ice fishing that retain close to 100% of the line's originally rated tensile strength.

Duncan Loop, Strength 90%

Slide your line through the hook eye, and form a loop in the tag end as shown. Pass the tag end through the loop, winding around the standing line and top section of the loop four or five times while moving away from the hook. Moisten the line and pull the tag end to tighten the knot. Slide the knot to the desired position by pulling on the standing line, and trim the tag end.

Trilene Knot, Strength 90%

Slide your line through the hook eye, and repeat, entering the line from the same direction and being sure to form a double loop at the hook eye, as shown. Wrap the tag end around the standing line four or five times, moving away from the hook. Pass the tag end back through the double loop at the hook eye, moisten, pull the knot tight against the hook eye and trim tag.

Palomar Knot, Strength 95%

Pass your line through the hook eye, and return it through in the opposite direction to form a long loop, as shown. Bring the loop back over the doubled line and tie an overhand knot around the hook eye. Place the loop over the hook or lure and pull the standing line to draw the knot tight around the hook eye. Tighten and trim tag.