Braided line has revolutionized recreational fishing. The combination of increased strength and decreased size has allowed angler to increase casting distance, fish greater depths and land some enormous fish on lighter tackle. But not every angler is in love with braid and with good reason – many have found it difficult to master and too expensive to experiment with. However, if use properly braided line can be a game changer in the right situation.
When braided beats monofilament
Despite its negative perception among detractors braided line holds many advantages over traditional monofilament line. Chief among these advantages is its superior strength to size ratio. A piece of 15lb. test braided can be as small in diameter as 6lb. test monofilament. Not only does this increase the line capacity of your reel it also greatly reduces the overall weight of your outfit, factors you will appreciate when a trophy runs for freedom or you are throwing a 6 inch plug all day.
Aside from strength and size braided is also known for its limited stretching. Monofilament can stretch to almost 1/3 its original length when under pressure while braided line experiences almost no stretching under the same conditions. This makes braided a much better choice when fishing deep water where the bite is hard to detect or heavy cover when snags are expected. This same characteristic also means it will rarely develop a memory & remains flexible after having been placed under a heavy load.
Finally, braided tends to last a lot longer than monofilament. Although it may cost more up front the fact that it can be used for a longer period without damage or loss of strength means that the overall cost throughout the season is reduced. It is not uncommon for angler2 to get two seasons out of one spool by reversing the line, bringing the underlying good line to the top, and using it again.
Other side of the coin
Of course braided does have its downside as well, otherwise everyone would be using it and monofilament would be a thing of the past. So now it’s time for the rest of the story.
One of the biggest disadvantages, and one which many anglers have a hard time adjusting to , it the extreme transfer of energy. Because monofilament stretches it also acts as a shock absorber, no such luck with braided. Not only does this result in more wear and tear on your other gear it also affects your lure or bait presentation – even a little twitch of the line can have cause a lure to jerk wildly out of the strike zone. It is important to make sure your rod & reel are rated for use with braided and that you practice lure presentation.
The next major complaint concerning braided is its inability to hold well when tied. Although it does not feel so to the touch braided line is very slippery and many popular fishing knots will slip under pressure, resulting in lost gear and fish. The easiest way to counter this is to use the knots the manufacturer recommends; most have tested their line under various conditions and readily share this knowledge with customers. The following knots are proven to work well with braided line:
- Improves Uni Knot
- Palomar Knot
- Improved Clinch Knot
- San Diego Jam Knot
Many anglers also complain braided line damages their equipment, especially reel spools, bail rollers and rod eyes. Yes, braided line can and will damage these and other parts of both your rod & reel if they are not rated for its use. The key is to use tackle designed for and rated to be used with braided line. If you are not sure whether your current set up is designed for use with braided line check the following areas:
Metal or metal with non-slip sleeve and some composite designs are capable of handling braided without fear it will cut or damage the surface. If you have spools constructed of plastic or softer composites stick with monofilament.
again, metal components are the key to carefree use. Some newer reels are now outfitted with ceramic rollers which are also rated for braided.
ceramic is definitely the way to go as it is hard enough to handle the abrasive, cutting action of braided without developing grooves or sharps edges.
Finally you need to know that most braided line floats and is more visible than monofilament. Not only can this spook fish but it can result in increased tangles, especially when using a top water lure. Due to the diameter and strength of the line these tangles can also be next to impossible to remove by any means other than cutting. The plus side is once a tangle is cut out the remaining good line can often be tied together and used without any difficulties. You may need to rig different spools with various colors to be prepared for a wide range of water colors.
While braided line may not be the perfect choose for every angling situation it is a valuable tool to have in your tackle box. Instead of listening to the fish stories about the good, bad & ugly pick up a spool and give it a try for yourself.