As with the size of tackle needed, the line and leader choice desired for whiting varies depending on the conditions of the surf. In general, heavier surf requires heavier line, and lighter surf allow for lighter line.
Fishing Lines for Whiting
On the days of lighter surf conditions (up to two-foot waves), 8-to-12 pound test line is appropriate. The lighter the line you can use, the better, because the higher sensitivity of lighter line will allow you to feel the bite better over heavy line. This can be quite important for whiting, because many times the bites are just a series of “tap, tap, tap,” which can be mistaken for wave action with heavier tackle. On those heavier days however, up to 20-pound test line may be required for casting the large sinker needed to keep your bait from drifting away.
Monofilament Line for Whiting
Monofilament has many advantages when surf fishing for whiting. For one, mono is more resistant to abrasion than other types of line – this is important because the line will over time be rubbing and be grazed over by the sand and shell, which will cause damage to the line over time.
The second advantage of monofilament for surf fishing is that it’s cheap! Although braided line is more expensive than monofilament, it usually lasts a lot longer. This may actually not be the case in the surf, since the sand will be very abrasive against the line over time.
Using Fluorocarbon for Whiting
Take the advantage of monofilament being resistant to abrasion, make it virtually invisible, and take the stretch out of it, and you’ve got fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon line is the best line to use in the surf, however is very expensive to spool an entire reel, and therefore makes an excellent long leader – the part that will experience the most sand abrasion, as well as the part the fish will see the most too.
Braided line for Whiting
Braided line has many advantages, but also many disadvantages for surf fishing. For one, braided line has a smaller diameter than other lines of the same pound test, and therefore has more sensitivity for feeling the light bite of a whiting. Another benefit of the smaller diameter is that you generally get a farther cast with braided line, and so can be important on those rough surf days.
The smaller diameter line may also help your sinker stay put, because the line will cut through the water better. The disadvantage to braid however, is that it is not resistant to abrasions, and will be damaged over time from the sand and shell of the beaches. This may lead to break-offs as the line weakens.
Flyline and Leader
Whiting are bottom-feeders, which means you need to get your fly to the bottom. One way to get your fly to the bottom, besides obviously using a sinking fly, is to use a sinking leader. A sinking leader made from fluorocarbon is recommended, as it has the greatest sinking rate among all of the line types available.
Final Notes about Whiting Line and Leaders
Surf conditions can vary daily, and so the size of the line and leader required will depend on how rough – or not so rough – those conditions are. As for the type of line and leader used, it is generally recommended to use monofilament or fluorocarbon line, or at least a long leader, for more long-term use, where as braided line can provide good sensitivity and far casts, but may not stand up as long to the pressure of abrasion from the sand and shell of the surf as the other lines.