"I keep losing fish when I use braided line."
Stingy. Because of the way braids are made and the materials used, there is little or no stretch in the line.
"The braided line keeps burying itself in my reel spool."
"My reel backlashes more with braided lines than with monofilament."
Is that you? Do you have problems with braided line? Have you given up and gone back to monofilament in frustration? If so, pay heed to the following and see if it doesn't bring you back to the braid.
There are a number of manufacturers that market a braided line of some sort. Some are flatter than others, others are more round, but all of them come in a variety of colors.
The complaints I hear come in three forms for the most part. The biggest is that the line buries into the reel at the hook-set. That's true for a lot of anglers using braids under certain conditions, but it doesn't have to be that way. The second complaint is that reels backlash far more often. That's a function of the first problem, and if we solve the first one, this complaint is fixed as well. Last but not least, anglers complain that fish tend to come off the hook before getting them to the boat, or that they simply can't seem to hook the fish.
Fortunately, there is a simple fix for each of these problems, and this fix will have you standing in line to purchase braided line again.
Braids are very strong, yet very thin lines. Part of the sales pitch for them is that a braided line will be "20 pound test with the diameter of 6-pound test." This is one factor that causes problems. Because the line is thirty-pound test, lots of anglers will set their drags heavier. The thinner a line is, the more likely it is to bury into the reel spool on a heavy drag set. So a lighter drag will help stop the burying line issue.
Someone might say that a lighter drag will mean more lost fish — that is a misconception that many anglers have. A lighter drag allows the fish to take line. As long as the angler pays attention to all other aspects of fighting a fish, the lighter drag can actually help rather than hinder the angler.
On a hook-set with a tighter drag, braided line, rather than coming off the reel and pulling the drag tends to bury itself in the spool. That buried line will not show itself until the next cast or two. Once a fish is caught, the buried line is hidden down in the spool.
When a cast is made and the line leaving the spool reaches that buried spot, the mother of all backlashes usually occurs which allows the angler to sit down, pick line and mumble about braided line for a while.
Many really bad backlashes with thin braided line almost require re-spooling with new line. The knots are not as easily managed as those with monofilament.
The buried line issue ranked so high with some anglers that at least one reel manufacturer designed a spinning reel specifically for braided line. The gearing and spool movement was changed to have the line wrap onto the spool in more of a criss cross fashion, thereby helping to prevent the line from burying. While these reels do make a difference, they aren't really necessary to fix the problem.
Backlashes with braided line can be avoided by preventing the line from burying into the spool. And preventing that buried line can be as simple as backing off on that drag.
Most anglers who replace monofilament line on a reel with a heavier, but thinner braided line will leave the drag setting exactly where it was with the monofilament. They may even increase the drag a bit because of the heavier line rating. What they need to do is back off on the drag! That not only helps the buried line issue, but it also addresses the next issue on the list — line stretch.
Because of the way the braids are made and their relative strength, there is little or no stretch in the line. While this provides sensitivity to the angler, it is perhaps the number one reason for missed fish. It will cause an angler to rip the hook out of a fish's mouth if care isn't taken. Here's why -- monofilament stretches, and it stretches a lot more than most anglers realize. On a hook-set, that stretch in the mono cushions the blow to the fish's mouth. That stretch, coupled with give of the bend in the rod allows a fish to be hooked.
Don't Give Up! Give braided line another chance on your next trip. See if these tips don't pay off for you by way of more fish in the box!
With a braid, a hook-set under the same drag and rod conditions as monofilament can actually tear right through the lip of a fish, leaving the angler wondering why he can't seem to hook a fish. The truth is he is hooking a fish, but all the power of his hook-set on a line that does not stretch is ripping the hook out of the fish, either at the hook-set or halfway through the fight.
Try this for yourself. Stand 30 yards from a stationary piece of heavy cardboard. With monofilament line on your reel and a hook barely sticking to the cardboard, follow through with a normal hook-set. Then do the same thing on the same rig, this time with braided line. The difference will amaze you. That braided line will bury the hook into the cardboard, while the monofilament will barely push through the other side.
Here's the key to the whole puzzle. Since the braid can't stretch and give, you must provide that stretch and give with some other part of your equipment. The answer lies both in the drag setting on the reel and in the type of rod you use. It's as simple as that.
An angler sets the drag on a reel spooled with monofilament based on how much pressure it takes to pull line from the reel with his hand. That pressure necessarily takes the stretch factor into account. The line will stretch before the drag releases any line. His drag-setting actually takes line stretch into account. Braids, on the other hand need a lighter drag setting and will actually perform better than monofilament if the drag setting is right - and right means much lighter than the setting for monofilament.
On a braided line outfit, the rod needs to have a very fast taper. That is, the tip needs to be very limber and flexible while the backbone of the rod needs to be heavier with less give. With a fast taper rod, the stretch that is missing in the braided line is made up for in the give of the tip on the hook set.
Medium-heavy and heavy-action rods are not the best choice for braided line — there is no give in the rod. Slow taper rods, those that will bend in a big 'U' shape are just as bad but because they have too much give.
Be prepared, though. Fast and extra-fast taper rods will cost a bit more simply because it costs more to manufacture the blank. Generally, the cheaper rods on the market will be of the slow taper variety.
There are arguments at every gathering of anglers about the merits of braided versus monofilament lines.They range from relative knot strength and knot integrity to line visibility, and they always include the hook set issues. Following the simple advice of using a faster taper rod and backing off on that drag can easily solve all of the major issues associated with braided line!
On the plus side, remember - braided line has no memory. Unlike monofilament line, it remains limp and supple over time allowing it to cast easier and farther. These are the attributes that first attracted anglers to braids. Now, with a change in mindset regarding drags settings and rod choices, that wonderful aspect of braided lines can be realized.
Give braided line another chance on your next trip. See if these tips don't pay off for you by way of more fish in the box!