Options abound for anglers spooling a reel. Sticking to the basics is never a bad idea, but a few particular strategies are worth considering.

 First, winter fishing often presents us with exceptional clarity and that can present challenges with line-shy fish. However, winter’s colder water leaves fish in a general state of lethargy and that can present a distinct opportunity for downsizing.

In particular, anglers throwing shallow diving crankbaits or lipless baits for early prespawn bass can often get away with dropping down to 8-pound fluorocarbon. The lighter line allows longer casts, but with bass less aggressive in the cold water, you’ll rarely have much trouble controlling them on the lighter line.

A couple other tips:

Braided line provides superior strength when flipping around heavy vegetation, but if you’re sending that Texas-rigged YUM Bad Mamma into a thick laydown or some other heavy wood target, you’ll probably want to have it tied to Silver Thread fluorocarbon. That’s because fluoro will slide through the tight areas that will cause braid to pinch down and hang your bait.

With topwaters, braid offers longer casting range than monofilament of adequate size. Both float, but the limp braid often gathers in front of your One Knocker Spook and fouls the front hook. Worse yet, is a fouled prop on your Devil’s Horse.

The solution: Tie a few inches of monofilament leader between your braid and your topwater. That small separation affords the best of both worlds.