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Saltwater line isn't only for the sea - it fools lake fish, too

In many cases, a dividing line is drawn between what's applicable for freshwater versus saltwater fishing. Anglers often fall prey to product packaging and anything that's advertised as "saltwater" or "offshore" by design is immediately passed over by freshwater enthusiasts.

Yet when it comes to big freshwater fish, like muskies and northern pike, saltwater products can help you hook up with a trophy.

Designed for use in super-clear water bridging the continents, saltwater products must look realistic and dually possess corrosion resistant properties required to fish the sea.

That means a saltwater hook left laying on the floor of your boat for weeks on end exposed to the elements will retain its integrity without rusting.

One product originally developed for saltwater application that has naturally transitioned into freshwater markets is fluorocarbon line. Created from the periodic element fluorocarbon, the line offers near invisibility, since it refracts light in a manner very similar to water itself.

Even a heavy fluorocarbon line remains undetected by wary fish swimming through crystal-clear water.

Fluorocarbon is a wonderful asset for hooking and landing monster pike and muskies and is available as leader material on 25-yard spools.

Obviously that's not enough to fill an entire reel, but that's not the intent. Instead of paying $5-$15 for each steel or titanium wire leader, fluorocarbon can be custom tailored for various applications at a fraction of the price.

For instance, you can make your own leaders of any desired length by tying a ball bearing swivel to one end of a short piece of fluorocarbon and a cross-lock snap to the other.

Another option is to tie the fluorocarbon directly to the heavy braided line of your muskie/pike rod without the extra hardware of the swivel or snap.

I attach 50-lb Berkley Big Game 100 percent Fluorocarbon to the 80-pound test braided Spiderwire spooled on my reel, then tie lures directly to it. The fluorocarbon holds up surprisingly well against toothy jaws, abrasion from wood, weeds and rocks, and "swing for the fences" hooksets required to land the gargantuan muskies and pike.

Another option is to use fluorocarbon as the snell material for a live-bait rig. It's essentially the same concept as a Roach Rig for walleye, but beefed up for big fish.

A 30- to 48-inch length of the heavy-duty fluorocarbon is perfect for sheer invisibility and allows a large minnow to swim naturally while lip hooked.

However, one major consideration when tying knots with fluorocarbon of any diameter is getting the line really wet before cinching a knot. Fluorocarbon doesn't absorb water like monofilament, so cinching a dry knot produces friction and thus heat, which can cause your knot or the few inches above it to fail. Simply wet the line with saliva or lake water before you tighten the knot and the line's integrity will remain strong.

It's possible to purchase a large spool of fluorocarbon line to fill up an entire reel, but it behaves much differently than monofilament; the line doesn't float, it actually sinks and fluorocarbon forms a memory faster than monofilament, meaning when you pick up your rod and reel to cast, the line has more twists, loops and curls than you might be used to.

Yet once you start getting more bites and catching more fish, you'll be hooked too.