by Tim Moore
For anglers, braided line is one of the best things since sliced bread. Being almost four times thinner than monofilament makes it cast much farther, and the lack of stretch makes it ultra-sensitive for detecting bites and better hook sets, but it’s not without challenges. First off, it’s expensive. It is also known for the degree to which it tangles. Most anglers agree that once you overcome the few hurdles of fishing with braid you will only look at monofilament as leader material from then on.
Braided line is made by weaving several fibers together. This makes the line much thinner, stronger, and virtually eliminates stretch. Thirty pound test braided line is the same diameter as eight pound test monofilament. The lack of stretch allows an angler greater casting distances and better hook sets, especially when fishing deep water. For instance, when fishing in 180’ of water, monofilament line has roughly 20” of stretch. When a fish bites, the stretch acts as a shock absorber, so you feel fewer bites. When you do feel a bite, you have to raise your rod tip almost that whole 20” before you even begin to set the hook. When I am vertical jigging with braided line, I can actually feel it when a fish brushes against my line. You can’t get that kind of sensitivity with nylon lines.
The two most common types of braid are four-strand and eight-strand. Four strand braid is flatter, usually more abrasive, and performs better on casting or conventional reels. When vertical jigging, four-strand braid such as Power Pro is my preferred braid for its hauling power. Eight-strand braid, such as Daiwa Samurai, is round, typically thinner than four-strand, softer, and performs better on spinning reels. Eight-strand casts noticeably farther and is less likely to groove the tip of my rods.
Wind knots are the most common problem plaguing anglers who use braid with spinning reels. The line is so thin that it can become loose on the spool and knot up during a cast. Before making a cast, quickly inspect the spool to make sure there are no small loops peaking up from underneath the line. Once you make your cast, close the bail by hand rather than cranking the reel. Cranking the reel causes the line to whip around the spool loosely. Then, lift the rod tip as high as you can to pull your line tight, and then reel down to your normal fishing position. This will greatly reduce the number of wind knots, if not eliminate them all together.
I used to fish only with monofilament and copolymer lines. Now that I’m used to it, I prefer braided line. Fishing with braid may take a little getting used to, and you may even have moments when you question your decision to try it, but most anglers seem to think the benefits exceed the drawbacks. I’ll admit, it is high maintenance, but the castability and sensitivity of braid almost always equates to more fish hooked, and more fish caught.
Tim Moore is a professional fishing guide in New Hampshire. He owns and operates Tim Moore Outdoors, LLC and guides ice fishing trips on Lake Winnipesaukee. He is a member of the New England Outdoors Writers Association and the producer of Tim Moore Outdoors TV. Visit www.TimMooreOutdoors.com for more information.