- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some years ago, during a rockfish chumming trip with St. Mary’s County charter fishing captain Eddie Davis, the skipper reminded me that I probably would not catch a lot of fish because of the fluorescent lime-green fishing line that was spooled onto my reel. He was right. I didn’t do well, but his pale blue line apparently didn’t bother the stripers. They took to Davis’ hook as if they hadn’t eaten in a month.

How do you rate fishing line color? Do you think it’s extremely important, or does it not matter so long as your lure or bait is presented properly?

As I grow older, I care a great deal about the above-water visibility of monofilament line. If it disappears from view under the water, all the better because even a pea-brain like a largemouth bass might be put off by high-visibility line that is connected to the lure you’re cranking back to the boat or shore.

Fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski, a friend of mine, reminds doubters that fish couldn’t possibly be all that conscious of line color if they’re dumb enough to wander right into the sometimes-black mesh of certain commercial fishing nets.

“If they’re not bothered by all that dark netting, how could they be frightened by one little piece of black or bright green line that is used by us fishermen?” he said.

Totally confusing are the claims in certain fishing studies that the color red is very visible above the water - which is a good thing - and that it virtually disappears from view underwater and hence won’t scare a fish looking at your lure.

If that is true, why are red lures used on large- and smallmouth bass, pike and walleyes so highly effective? If the red disappears from view, how can fish react to them more willingly than they might to blue, yellow or white lures?

Nearly a half-century has passed since DuPont of Delaware marketed the high-visibility Stren fishing line that was referred to as fluorescent blue. The line is still being marketed by the biggest tackle company anywhere, Pure Fishing, and despite its popular Berkley Trilene lines in clear white or clear blue, moss green and a kind of copper color fluorocarbon, the fluorescent blue Stren brand continues to rate highly in my book and that of thousands of others.

I’ve also done well with the soft pink lines manufactured in Germany under the Ande name.

I’ll stick with lines that are kind of white or light blue like those offered by Trilene and Stren. And if I use one of the super-fiber lines, such as FireLine, I buy it up to 20-pound test in the charcoal color, knowing our brackish waters will quickly change it to light gray. It has done well on all fish species.

Bait shop locator - Kudos to BoatU.S. for offering a free bait shop locator that will help all of us plan our fishing trips more efficiently. Found online at ww2.BoatUSAngler.com/bait, the free locator allows fishermen to search by state, ZIP code, regions, bodies of water or the type of tackle used (salt or freshwater). More than 8,000 bait and tackle shops are listed in all 50 states as well as Canada.

The locator will also let you know about services, such as guides, charter boats and weigh stations, and whether the shop has ice, fuel, fishing licenses, groceries, as well as any discounts offered to BoatU.S. Angler members.

Not only on Sunday — My column Sunday that dealt with bass and how they can be protected by keeping fishermen away from spawning areas during the spring mistakenly said, “On Sunday, the tidal Potomac River’s Gumtree Cove in the Nanjemoy Creek and the large Linton Cove inside Chicamuxen Creek are off-limits during the spring’s spawning days.” Of course, they’re not off-limits only on Sundays; the two coves are closed all week until June 15 every year.

• Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/ sports.

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