Trolling for trout

Does line diameter matter?

One of the most significant factors in trolling success for trout in the thickness of your line, claims lure manufacturer Greg "Lofty" Hayes.

"Last season I introduced a fine diameter high breaking strain line to the market, mainly because I was not happy with the lines on the market, mainly because I was not happy with the lines that were generally available.


Most lines were too thick in diameter for their breaking strains. I was looking for the highest possible breaking strain with the thinnest diameter and with the right colour for most occasions.

I am basically a trolling fishermen and of course I only use Lofty's Cobras - nothing else. I prefer to flat line troll, which most agree is the best way to catch trout from a trolling boat. This is where I believe line diameter is very important.

I have said on many occasions that in deeper impoundments and lakes, the finer the line, the better the catch rate. Thinner line gives your lure a better action.

Whilst fishing for "convict" Rainbow at Strahan we noticed that one guy who was using 20lb line did not catch a fish, whilst myself and another chap were catching one after another. We ere using 9lb line.

When the first guy changed rods to a lighter line he started catching straight away. This happened on several occasions, not just one. At the time we were bait fishing using pellets and we could see the fish taking the bait. 

The biggest problem with fine diameter line is that most fishermen expect the fine line to perform as other lines, but which have a large diameter.

For years we have been conned because most lines on the market are understated in breaking strain so that we, the customers, don't break about breakage and poor knot strength. For example, there are some lines which are 8lb, or 4 kg roughly, but the diameter is 0.25 mm, or even 0.28 mm, that will not break at 10 lb or even 12 lb. So, in actual fact you are using 12lb line even though it states on the packet that it is only 8lb. Most of my trout are caught on line with a diameter of 0.20 mm and 0.25 mm. I believe Extreme line in 10lb, 0.23 diameter and 12lb, 0.25 diameter is ideal for all Tasmanian lakes whether trolling or spinning.

These two sizes are about the same diameter respectively as most 6 and 8lb lines of other brands on the market. I have caught many trout over 2.5kg, or 5lb, on 4lb, 0.20 diameter line, but for some this is too fine. People vary in their methods of fishing. Some like to crank trout in with a fairly tight clutch setting. Others, like myself, use a very light clutch setting and play the fish out more. My advise to the crankers is if you want to use fine diameter lines and are used to some of the rope I described earlier, go up a couple of sizes in line diameter and breaking strain and you will still be a long way smaller than the ropes you have been using. Also, your catch rate will improve dramatically.

A lot of people think, "OK', most of these trout are only 2-4lb. At the most an 8lb line should handle then easier no matter what I do wrong. I beg to differ. When a fish strikes and turns to run in the opposite direction, how much pressure is he exerting? I'll bet it is over double actual weight - more, when they jerk or jump.

Most fly fishermen use no more than 8lb tippet so as not to spook fish with "rope" tied to their fly and they play out the fish when they hook up.

Another point I would like to make is in relation to Braided super-lines for trolling. Although very thin and good in some situations such as bottom and deep sea fishing. They are not the answer for trout trolling.

These are one of the hardest fish in the world to catch, especially brown trout. I believe trout can see braided lines a proverbial mile away and your catch rate will be far less than even with thick monofilament. So, don't use braided lines for trout, unless you are prepared to run a mono trace off the end of it - thus defeating the purpose a little I think.

In conclusion, from my experience, the finer the diameter with good breaking strains 8,10 and 12lb, the better the catch rate will be.

Tight Lines, Greg "Lofty" Hynes.