Other parts of the NCA carp fishing tackle buying guide:
Part 1: Line
Part 2: Bite alarms
Part 3: Bait
Part 4: Barrows
When fishing for specimen sized carp, the line you use is of the upmost importance. You must have confidence in your line when casting and playing fish. Whilst there are some great lines on the market, there are also some which you want to avoid. In this roundup of the top 5 carp fishing lines we will compare diameters, breaking strains, suppleness, durability, visibility and how well each one sinks. All of these lines are very popular and are made by top brands – most are monofilaments as opposed to fluorocarbon, I may do a round up of fluorocarbon lines in a future post.
A common question that people seem to ask is what breaking strain should they go for. For me the answer to this question is the heaviest you can get away with. If you’re casting short distances, a 20lb+ breaking strain line would be my first choice – when I fish heavy I’m more confident. If you’re casting a fair distance then you’ll probably need a thinner diameter line so going down to a 15b or even 12b line may be required. When using a thin diameter/low breaking strain line with a heavy led casting big distances you should think about using a shock leader – the last thing you want is a 4.5oz lead breaking the like and flying backwards during your cast. It’s worth noting that most venues state in their rules a minimum of 12lb breaking strain line but where I can I always try to fish much heavier than this.
For this roundup we’re going to compare 15lb breaking strain versions of each line where possible although some lines like the first one are slightly higher than this.
The Fox Exocet line is used by top anglers such as Tom Maker, Adam Penning and Mark Pitchers. I’ve spoken with Mark and Tom personally about this line and both have said that it’s strong, hard to see in the water and sinks like a brick. Available in breaking strains from 13b to 23b there’s a line to suit every occasion. Fox pitch this as a distance casting line which is especially true at the thinner end of the diameter scale. I personally use the 23b version, like I said above I like to fish strong.
Exocet is green in colour, is highly abrasion resistant and is very supple. You also get 1,000m to a spool and it comes in a nice presentation tin.
ESP Syncro XT
This is another favourite of mine and I currently have it spooled up on 3 of my reels. It’s quite supple, sinks well and is very strong especially in the knot strength department – I use it in the 18lb version. ESP have this year released a new version of this line which I’m yet to try out but I head good things about it and the likes of Gaz Farnham, Kev Hewitt and Martin Bowler have all been involved in the testing of it, not bad eh! They claim that the loaded version is a better colour, sinks faster and is harder to see sub-surface.
A recent addition to Korda’s range of lines and one that I’m particularly excited about. The name touchdown came about because of the low stretch properties of the line – the theory being that it’s easier to feel the lead down because of the low stretch in the line. In all honesty I’ve never had trouble feeling down the lead with a normal mono but I do fish tight up against islands and far margins at some of the venues I fish so a line with not a lot of stretch helps with accuracy. I also like using a mini Spomb which I can cast with my fishing rod and a low stretch line means I can find my spot, bait up and get my rig out with the same rod within 3 or 4 casts – my kind of fishing!
The GT80+ has evolved from the GT80, a very popular line. The line is a copolymer which includes an additive which makes it sink faster. Supple, heavy, smooth and great knot strength is what you get with this line and there are clear and green versions available.
Being one of the cheapest lines on the market it’s easy to think that Sensor is an inferior product but that’s absolutely not the case. When I first got into carp fishing I used Sensor on all 3 of my reels and found it great. When reading the forums, people generally say good things about it and it’s stood the test of time. It’s available in 2 colours – brown and clear and a range of breaking strains.