What Line Should You Use For Jigging Walleye? (3 Things To Know)

PUBLISHED 14 FEBRUARY 2021

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by Bill Laney

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When you’re jigging for walleye, it’s important to choose the right fishing line for the job. As with most walleye fishing applications, sensitivity is the name of the game, as walleye bites are usually subtle. 

Because of this, you want to use a line that enables you to feel everything that’s going on with your jig, including the slightest nudge or tap that can signal a walleye bite. So what fishing line is best for this purpose?

Here’s the quick answer:

The best fishing line for walleye jigging is an 8 to 10 lb test braided main line tied to a 6 to 8 lb test fluorocarbon leader. Braided line has almost no stretch, which allows you to feel even the subtlest walleye bites, and the lack of stretch also helps to set the hook effectively (especially at a distance).

Now let’s dive into the details, and cover all the aspects of this topic to help you choose the right line for your specific purpose.

 

What is the best fishing line for walleye jigging?

Although you can potentially use any of the 3 types of fishing line for walleye jigging (braid, monofilament, or fluorocarbon), braided line stands out as the clear winner, and in our experience it is used by the majority of walleye anglers for this purpose. 

Advantages of braid for jigging

There are several reasons why braid is ideal for this type of fishing, but the main one is this: braided line has almost no stretch, and this enables you to feel even the slightest nudges or tugs on your jig, which are transmitted as vibrations through the line and into your rod.

See also: best rod for walleye jigging

This kind of sensitivity is essential for walleye fishing, because more often than not, their bites are very subtle. Often a walleye bite will register as a short tap, or it may even feel as if the jig got snagged on some plants. 

Monofilament, on the other hand, has a lot of stretch, and this can make it more difficult to tell what’s going on with your jig, especially if you’re fishing at a depth of 30 feet or more.

The fact that braided line doesn’t have stretch also helps a lot when it comes to setting the hook effectively, as the force of your strike will be directly transmitted from the rod to the hook. In contrast, monofilament tends to absorb a lot of the force of the hook set due to stretching, which can result in short strikes, and losing fish that aren’t properly hooked. 

When to use monofilament for jigging

The only scenario where monofilament can be a good choice for walleye jigging is when you’re fishing in shallow water, as you’ll be able to feel the bites better since there is less distance between you and the fish.

In this case, the extra stretch of mono can actually be an advantage, as it gives the walleye a little extra time to swallow your bait before they feel the resistance of your rod as you set the hook.

Best fishing line for vertical walleye jigging

The best line for vertical fishing is braid. The reason for this is that it’s very common to fish in 30 to 40 foot deep water when you’re jigging vertically, and you need to be able to feel subtle bites at that distance. Braid is perfect for this, since it has no stretch. Monofilament, on the other hand, can be a good choice if you’re jigging in 15 feet of water or less, since the extra stretch can help you to avoid setting the hook prematurely.

 

What pound test should you use for walleye jigging?

The ideal line strength to use for walleye jigging is  an 8 to 10 lb test braided main line tied to a 6 to 8 lb test fluorocarbon leader.

You rarely need to go above this line strength, since walleye don’t put up a huge fight, and are almost always caught in open water, so there’s little danger of them getting snagged in cover.

The leader should always be slightly lower in strength compared to the main line. That way, if your jig gets snagged on structure, you can break the leader without affecting the main line, and then just tie another leader to continue fishing.

 

Should you use a leader when jigging for walleye?

Yes, absolutely. The reason for this is that a braided main line has a high visibility underwater, and especially in clear lakes this can deter finicky walleye from biting. Fluorocarbon, on the other hand, is almost invisible underwater, and so if you tie a 1 to 4 foot fluorocarbon leader, that will take care of this issue. 

And as mentioned above, an added advantage of using a leader that is lower in strength than the main line means you’ll only break the leader if your jig gets snagged. 

 

Fishing line setup for walleye jigging

When you set up your line for walleye jigging, start by spooling your spinning reel with an 8 to 10 lb test braided main line. Then thread the line through the guides of your rod, and attach it to a size 12 barrel swivel with a uni knot (or an improved clinch knot).

See also: what is the best walleye jigging setup?

Following this, tie a 6 to 8 lb test fluorocarbon leader to the other eye of the swivel. The length of the leader can be anywhere between 12 inches up to 4 feet. Then tie your jig to the other end of the leader (again using either a uni knot or an improved clinch knot), and you’re good to go.

Using a swivel between your main line and leader is important, since jigs tend to produce a lot of line twist, and by using a swivel you avoid the line twist propagating to your main line. If you don’t use a swivel, you’ll often end up with your line wrapping around the first guide, and getting tangled there. 

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