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27 Jan 2017
by Rob Hughes
Are slack lines better for indication?
Our subsurface angling specialist Rob Hughes investigates whether slack lines are really better for indication...

Slack lines seem to be the trendy way of fishing at the moment and a walk round any lake will show loads of anglers fishing with their bobbins either on the deck or with coils of slack line hanging off their rod tips. A lot of the time the angler in question is doing this because he thinks it will give him a better line lay and that the main line will be following the contours of the bottom. This may well be the case, but equally it may not, as the main factor for getting a line on the deck isn’t whether it is slack, it’s more about what is out in the water in between the angler and the lead.

There is no question that there is a time and a place for fishing slack, but slack line fishing in the wrong situation is a real bugbear of mine. I had one of my best winters ever a few years ago for the numbers of fish I caught and I would slap a hefty amount of the credit well and truly at the door of slack lining. It was a great way of searching around a swim for liners and then the fish, but I was using it as a fish finding method not a bite indication method.

Whilst getting the line on the deck and out of the way in certain situations can be a bonus, it does come with it’s own pitfalls. For a number of years now I have tested loads of professional angler’s set-ups at a variety of ranges, and on the whole have not seen a significant difference in short-range angling situations but at long-range it is noticeably different. At anything more than 40 to 50yds out your indication will suffer if you slack line and if there is anything on the deck between you and your rig then slack lines are an absolute no-go area. If it’s mussels or sharp gravel you need to be getting the line up and out of the way, and if it’s a snag or weed, a hinge point will be created that will completely wreck your indication chances. I fully accept that in deep water and at short-range then a tight line can affect the fish movement around your swim, but this is the only time I feel that a slack line has a serious benefit over a tight one.

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