To Use Braid Or Not To Use Braid…That Is the Question?
Written By: Randy Pringle, March 12, 2012
When braid first came out on the market it was destined to become the greatest thing since sliced white toast! Yet, a lot of anglers had major problems with it.
The rumors swirled around and some said that it was bad for the guides on your rods, while others asserted that it would tear apart your reel. Let me set the record straight…. All that stuff is true. But allow me to explain.
When using braided lines you have to compensate for braid’s lack of stretch. Early on most anglers did not understand that they needed to back off their drags from the settings they used for monofilament. The number one rule when using braid is to back off the drag more than you usually would in order to compensate for that high impact of the hook set.
With that common problem solved, let’s examine why you might want to use braid. For starters braid is super sensitive. If you commonly have a problem detecting the bites of fish, braid will help you. However, if you do not have a problem feeling bites using braid might encourage you to set the hook too quickly, without allowing the fish to take the bait all the way into it’s mouth, leading to missed fish.
In terms of specific techniques there are positives and negatives surrounding braid. For example when fishing around rocks monofilament has greater abrasion resistance against that type of structure. Braid will fray when it comes in contact with rocks.
On the other hand, if you are fishing areas with a lot of weeds or trees and you are making long casts way back into the cover, braid is by far a better choice than monofilament.
With braid you can get the fish’s head up and get him out of the vegetation before he knows what happened. In this circumstance mono will stretch allowing the fish to turn and the chance of boating the bass reduces significantly.
Braid will cut its way back to the boat through tules or any other weeds that gets in its way. Monofilament has a tendency to just get stuck.
A rule of thumb I go by is that if the bait has treble hooks, I use monofilament, because with treble hooks deep penetration is not as great a concern as when you are using a single hook. Treble hooks have a tendency to work against each other. That is why a lot of anglers go to a softer rod when using trebles in order to absorb shock. Using a low stretch braid in this situation increases shock and can lead to a higher percentage of lost fish.
The whole idea of using braid is to be able to use a smaller diameter line that features greater strength and better sensitivity. There are different types of braid on the market, let’s break them down.
Berkley Fireline is a style of braid that has a coating making it very slick and will cut through water far better than a flat style braid. Fireline is great for trolling or for use with any bait that is being directly retrieved straight back to the angler. With the addition of Berkley Fireline Crystal you can use a line that is as clear as monofilament, but with all the strength of braid. That is a double punch in my book!
Spider Wire Stealth is a limper style braided line. Because of its limpness Spider Wire Stealth is ideal for walking the dog techniques and using with baits like the Bat Wing Frogs, twitch worms, floating hard baits or any bait with a side to side action that’s made by the angler rather than the bait.
No single braided line is suitable for all applications or techniques. Braids are only a part of a well prepared angler’s fishing arsenal. Finally, when using braid, don’t over stress your rods because you want a stronger line. Fenwick and Berkley put a line rating on their rods. This is a great guideline. Don’t push the manufactures recommendation or the last thing you will hear is POW, and your favorite rod will be converted into a three piece stick!