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What is Finesse Fishing? What is the Best Fishing Line?

Tom Melton |

What is Finesse Fishing? What is the Best Fishing Line?

Tom Melton |

In this three-part series, let’s dive into what is finesse fishing. As we move along, I will cover the perfect line for finesse fishing in this article, then in part two, I’ll take a look at baitcasting and spinning fishing reels for finesse action, and close with part three, covering the best rods for finesse fishing. It’s time to go, so let’s get started with what is finesse fishing, and the best fishing line for the method.

What Is Finesse Fishing? 

Finesse fishing in my opinion can be summed up in one sentence. The art of finesse fishing is to utilize light lines, light rods and light lures to methodically produce a presentation a fish cannot resist! This is paramount when bass or other species are in a lethargic mood, where typical baits/lures are not getting touched. 

To better understand finesse fishing, think about the fly fisherman and matching the hatch. Matching the hatch meant you utilized small flies to emulate what a trout would see in the water at times. I have used small size 22 flies that resemble an ant, that look so real, if it moved you would think it was alive.

In the baitcasting and spinning reel world of finesse fishing, the lures will get slightly larger, but not too large. Typical finesse fishing lures would include small crankbaits, spoons, hair jigs and worms. A real good example of a finesse bait would be a Ned Rig. The Ned is a small worm and weight, typically under 1/4 ounce. All these lures from my experience represent smaller fry, worms, crayfish and other food sources a fish will see throughout the year in the water column. 

When finesse fishing the angler is usually trying to lure a fish by offering the most natural look of a bait. To do this, it will usually take light lines and rods to offer the most natural “action” a bait could have in the water. This action is what a lethargic fish may take a swipe at!

When fishing this style, with the right tackle, the angler can put a bait/lure in the strike zone of lethargic fish, and be pretty confident the fish will react in a more positive sense.

What is Finesse Fishing Line? 

Finesse fishing line can be any type of line – monofilament/copolymer, fluorocarbon or braided fishing line. The type of line is nowhere near as critical as the diameter and pound test. The diameter of the line is what will allow the bait/lure to flow in the water as if it were flowing with the current or fell from a tree in a natural look.

Braided Fishing Line 

As braided fishing line is highly visible in the water, all braided lines must have a leader of some form. However, braided line offers the angler the ability to use super thin lines, yet gain a measure of confidence in the strength category due to the lines inherent thin diameter. This diameter will allow longer casts with light and smaller baits as well.

  • KastKing KastPro 13X Finesse Braid – 8-pound test
  • KastKing KastPro 8X Finesse Braid – 10-pound test
  • KastKing Mega 8 – 10-pound test
  • KastKing Super Power Silky 8 – 10-pound test 

When using braided line I always use a small trace of fluorocarbon leader tied in with a double uni-knot. Remember however, even though your braided line may be 10-pound test, your typical leader will be no more than 4 to 6 pound test. This light leader will give the action needed while finesse fishing. 

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon fishing line or leader can be used as a stand-alone line on your reel, or as the leader material for the braided line you are using. I like fluorocarbon as it sinks, giving any underwater bait/lure like a worm, crawfish or crankbait get to the bottom slightly quicker and stay there more easily when slower presentations are used. 

  • KastKing Kovert Fishing Line/Leader – All waters
  • KastKing Fluorokote Fishing Line – Stained and muddy waters 

The two fluorocarbon fishing lines above will both serve your needs well. The Kovert is basically invisible in the water column. The Fluorokote however has some visibility so I would utilize this line in stained or muddy waters. 

Monofilament/Copolymer Fishing Line

Monofilament and copolymer lines also have their place when finesse fishing. What is nice about mono is it floats in the water column. These lines are great for finesse fishing with worms where a slower sink actually adds action to the worm. Mono and copolymer also stretch a lot more than any of the other lines. Stretch aids when fish are biting very lightly. The stretch actually makes bits harder to detect, but on the other hand, chances are the fish will have it “good” before the angler sets the hook.

  • Floats – Great for worms
  • Good leader material for small poppers 

Whether you are worm fishing, or using monofilament or copolymer as a leader for topwater lures, it is a good line to have on hand while finesse fishing.

Wrap-Up 

In the world of “What is Finesse Fishing,” anglers need to understand it is not how large and bulky a bait/lure can look, but rather how well it resembles a small fry, crawfish, bug or other critter a fish will eat. It is about working the bait with light lines to give it that “extra” subtle look that a fish will attack due to how real it looks.

As for lines, I like braids – 13X, 8X, Silky 8 and Mega 8, with KastKing Konert leader material in 4 to 6 pound test for most applications. I will use 4 to 6-pound test monofilament when worm fishing, and use 8 to 10 pound test monofilament when using as a leader.

Finesse fishing is fun, and I guarantee you will catch a load of fish… and not just small ones. 

Photo captions 

KastKing KastPro 13X Finesse Braid Fishing Line

The author likes KastKing 13X, 8X, Silky 8 and Mega 8 when finesse fishing the local waters in the Northeast. 

KastKing Kovert Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

The KastKing Fluorocarbon Fishing line and Leader is the best for finesse fishing any water, while the FluoroKote is good for muddy or stained waters. 

KastKing DuraBlend Monofilament Leader Line

A good combination of KastKing 13X and monofilament leader makes a great set-up for small topwater lures. 

KastKing Fishing Lure

When Finesse fishing, light and smaller lures are usually the go-to baits. Fish them slow and methodically for best results.


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