I'm always concerned with any fish over 5lbs, no matter what kind of line I have on. I'm a firm believer you should always land a big fish as quickly as possible. Too much can go wrong the longer you play them. If you have your drag set right for the line you have on you should be okay.
If I'm specifically targeting big fish, I'll typically have at least 14lb line on. If I'm fishing some place where I know there are true giants, 25lb min or braid. In the olden days the guys out in CA would regularly boat 15lb+ fish on <8lb line.
"Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley." -A.L.
If at all possible, use the fish's momentum toward you to your advantage. Get them to the upper water column quickly and keep them coming in if at all possible. If you let them dig or turn they get the upper hand.
You can play fish up to about 7lbs (let them tire out before closing the deal) But, big big bass will trick you from the hook set all the way to the boat. 4,5,6 pounders tend to thump the lure aggressively and pull hard, you know you have a good fish on immediately. 7+ pounders will often just hold the bait in their mouths and start swimming slowly (usually a little bit toward deeper water) This can fool you into thinking the fish you have set the hook on isn't huge. Once you set the hook, they tend to either rush directly toward you or try to immediately turn and head toward deeper water. Because big, big fish use angles so well, again you can be fooled (you often don't feel their true weight)
If targeting big big fish, use at least 17lb line, get all the fish up quickly. It might not be as sporting to water ski everything in, but it's the surest way in case you get a monster on there.
The above is a generalization for heavy line/trig heavy line jig hook heavy line/big treble baits. Obviously, there's situations where you're deep cranking with 10 or 12lb line or hook a monster on a light shaky head. Even in those situations, use the momentum of the fish to your advantage every time you can, keep them moving toward you with drag adjustments to let them take line when they pull hard.
Watch KVD here probably using 12lb line or so using the reel, rod, and or trolling motor to keep pressure on the bass to keep her moving toward him, not letting her turn or dig.
I'll try to find a good, short video of pros catching huge smallmouth on light line. They are excellent at keeping the big bass coming in, keeping the bend in the rod (hook pressure on the bass), and adjusting drag or back reeling to avoid snapping the line when the big bass pulls.
Good example of using drag and feeding line with a baitcaster, crankbait, and 10lb line Someone on TFF, I think Steez, likes to say baitcasters aren't designed to give drag....that's for spinning reels. And he's right, especially if you have braid mainline on the baitcaster. You have to feed it while maintaining pressure.
6-13 smallmouth on light spinning gear
Heavy rod, big line and getting her up and into the net quickly (careful watching this video if you have a heart condition--sketchy set up with a side mounted trolling motor on a kayak)
line depends of the conditions your fishing and in some cases , time of the year . If your fishing lots of wood and thick weeds , gotta go with heavier stuff , 15lb as a minimum and up to 65lb braid if your flippin or pitching . If you fishing clear deep water with zero wood and very little weeds , I go as small as 7.3lb flouro . In wintertime , I always go lighter lines , especially if fishing deeper .
At what fish weight to line weight ratio do you become !"concerned" and play the fish and/or Net the fish vs horsing it in and/or swinging it on the boat ?
Good question. I am sure you will get responses that are all over the map on this one. I don't use a lot of light line but there was a time I set out to catch a bass heavier than my line pound test. I started using a lot of spinning outfits at Fork with 8# mono and 8# Flo. I know they do it all the time in the deep clear-water lakes in Cali & AZ....
Caught a couple 6+ basses but no cigar on the 8 pluses. I had a couple hooked but didn't gettum in the boat with me!
Just place your drag so you are not breaking off fish that you could be landing. I set my drag so a 3# bass can pull a little bit. If I get a bigger fish, I tighten it down a little bit, enough to play the bigger fish. Some may not like it, but with a GOOD drag system, you can actually play larger fish than you have line on your reel, THAT is what it is for. Hope this helps. Tight lines, keep safe and good luck.
Tight lines, keep safe and good luck.
The last 2 years I've kind of started experimenting with just horsing them in. I've handled quite a few over 5 with frayed line and didn't give them any slack. Boat swing, whatever. The only fish I reach to grab are treble hooked big fish or a really big fish. A GOOD line is a lot stronger than I thought.