Line is a tricky son of a gun. I could probably go on for hours about each line, their properties, best applications, and the variety between the different brands of line. I decided to dedicate a full blog to braided line because newest type of line and so many fisherman are mislead by line companies into thinking that’s the only thing they should ever throw.
Braided line is incredible for so many applications, I would even go as far to say it’s a must-have for at least 1-2 poles in your boat. What attracts a lot of people to it initially is the strength when compared to the diameter.
Now grab your calculator nerds I’m about to throw some numbers at you. The chart above shows the strength of the line (the test), compared to the diameter of each line. This is important for a number of reasons. First, the thinner the line the further you can cast. It also gets you a lot more bang for your buck in the sense that you will be able to spool WAY less 15lb monofilament line on a reel than you could a 15lb braid.
Braid also has very little stretch, not no stretch the bastards at Spiderwire and PowerPro will want you to believe. Braid still has way less stretch than monofilament and even fluorocarbon. Less stretch means more sensitivity, a lot more. It gives you the best feel of what your bait is doing and allows you to have the quickest reaction when you finally get that bite.
Minimal stretch in the line also is HUGE for setting the hook and keeping fish pinned. It much more forgiving than the other lines. For example, if you get a nibble and you are just a little off balance or your timing on the hookset was off, if you’re using mono or fluoro nine times out of ten that fish is gonna shake you like a polaroid picture and you’ll just watch your hook fly out of the bass’s mouth. With braid, you can still get enough power to hook into that fish even if you hookset like a bumbling fool.
Another thing that makes braid unique is it floats like a rubber ducky. This makes your lures run a little higher in the water column, and also makes the time your lure is sinking to the bottom a lot longer. This is super useful for pressured fish or subtle bites that you might not necessarily feel, braided line allows you to see it much better than a monofilament line would.
This is a spool of braided line. Braid is a number of polyethylene strings weaved together to make one strong line. The number of string used to make the weave is called the carrier number on the braid. The higher carrier braid, the smoother of the cast as it comes through your guides, and the further you can cast. Lower carrier braids are stronger and made from thicker fibers.
It’s important to remember that you’re essentially fishing with a piece of rope. Can you see rope? If you can, fish can see it too buckaroo. That’s why if you are ever fishing anything but topwater, you need to tie a leader. You will catch noticeably less fish and smaller fish if you’re tying straight braid.
It’s that simple, tie a leader. Now leader length, what kind of leader, and what knot to tie is a completely different ball game and I will cover it in a blog soon. What I will do is tell you the applications that you do not need a leader for and that’s some of the most fun fishing a guy can ask for.
I throw straight blade for virtually all topwater applications. Catch me on the pond throwing chucking 50lb-65lb braid all through the summer time. Nothing will make you feel more like a man than frogging with line as strong enough to choke out the hulk. You could hook into a shark and horse him in like a bluegill. There is no fighting a fish with line that strong. As soon as drive that hook home, you can just tow that poor helpless bass outta the pond before he finishes chewing. You can legitimately TELEPORT fish out of their home.
Braided line is also like having an insurance plan for your tackle. You get caught in a tree? Well with braided line you’re god damn Paul Bunyan. You can practically boat flip just about ever piece of cover you come across without tearing a fiber.
And say you run into some pads or grass cover? No problem! Braid is so strong you can just saw through vegetation at the flick of the wrist. I’m talking about rain forest level deforestation when you give braid snagged some grass a tug. Fishing like this makes you wonder if mere mortals were meant to wield this type of power.
The next time I’ll tie some straight braid is punching. This is when you’re throwing 1.5oz-2oz weights on your Texas rig or jig and just blasting through the mats like a like the Kool-Aid Man whenever he sees a brick wall. In these conditions you don’t need a leader because; 1.) cover that heavy will most likely only be around in very muddy water-visibility levels equivalent to chocolate milk and 2.) punching in general is searching for a reaction bite which means your bait comes through the mat so fast the bass either spooks, gets territorial, or lashes out at it, all of which resulting in a big ole bite. When a bass is seeing red like that he’s not taking a few deep breaths so he can check whether a string is attached to his intruder or not. He’s ripping that thing to shreds no matter what.
Those two times are the only situations that straight braid is viable in the bass fishing world. I’ll get into leaders and braid to mono or braid to fluorocarbon applications in due time just don’t go spooling up spider wire to tie on a wacky rig just because you don’t want to break off. You’re better off rolling the dice with a Walmart monofilament straight out of the clearance bin.
If you’re a lazy bastard that doesn’t like tying leaders I don’t blame you brother/sister, braid just might not be for you then. In fact, I envy you. I wish I could just throw a decent monofilament and fish happily and care-free. If you want to commit to braid life just remember, with great braid comes great responsibility.
If you fish around a lot of wood laydowns or logs you should not be using braid, even with a leader. The weave of the braid makes noise as it comes across wood. For these fisheries you’ll want to spool a higher lb test fluorocarbon, somewhere in the 17-20 pound range.
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