An important complement to lure selection and alteration is line choice. Downsizing line for clear water and spooky fish is a standard consideration, as is the low-vis benefits of fluorocarbon.

Also, when flipping or punching heavy vegetation, green- or brown-colored braid blends well with natural cover so your bait carries no baggage.

As is often the case in fishing, exceptions exist, and sometimes high-visibility line is the way to go. When early spring finds the fish still a bit lethargic, subtle flipping/pitching bites can be tough to detect.

Avoid missed opportunities by using high-vis yellow or green line that helps you maintain visual contact to spot even the slightest twitch.

To prevent this bright line from working against you below the surface, try this simple yet strategic modification: Use a permanent marker to color the last 5 to 6 feet of line so the fish only see the darkened section. This also provides a depth gauge for bait presentation — if you’ve colored 6 feet of line and half of that remains above the surface, your bait fell into 3 feet of water.