Mike Ladle


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Tackle and Tactics.


THINK LIKE A FISH Part 37 Braided lines.

I still get questions about braided lines so I thought it might be worth setting down my experiences to date. I've been fishing with braid for some time now. I can't say that I have tried many different types but my attitude to line is that it must be reliable, so if I find one that does the job I'm not inclined to change. The first braided line that I tried was Fireline. I was introduced to it by my pal Stuart Clough quite a few years ago. As it comes out of the packet it is charcoal grey with a glossy, stiff, waxy coating on it and does not look too good but it has three key features which made me an instant convert - it is thin, it is very strong and it has almost no stretch. I spun with my Fireline for a long time before tried any other braids. I used (and still do) 6lb BS for chub, perch and trout. The rivers I fish in all hold pike so it is essential to use a wire trace. I tend to make up traces of 15lb Drennan wire with a tiny 20lb BS swivel crimped on at one end and a matching crosslock clip at the other. I have landed trout of over eight pounds and pike up to 17 pounds without the 6lb line even looking as though it might break.

For bass spinning I used 14lb Fireline. For bait fishing and/or pike fishing it was 20lb Fireline. I've mentioned before that the coating on the braid soon starts to look like whitish fur and the line softens a lot but it has no obvious effect on the line strength. The braid is durable and will last for a couple of seasons hard work (if you keep an eye on the end section), make sure the knots are sound and (if you feel like it) reverse it on the spool at some point. A Palomar knot serves to tie on traces and lures very securely. If you want to use a nylon trace you don't need a swivel - just tie the braid direct to the nylon using an Albright knot: I give mine sixteen turns before I tighten it up carefully. This might seem a bit over the top but I've seen the nylon sheer easily at the knot with less turns.

More recently I switched over to Whiplash. This is dull green and soft (like sewing thread) but it has the advantage of being considerably thinner for its strength than the Fireline. I have 30lb Whiplash on my spools for spinning at the moment, I'm casting further and have not lost a lure in snags since I began using it. To be honest the Whiplash is MUCH more difficult to handle than Fireline. You MUST avoid loops on the spool or a knot may form as you cast - tidy the line on the spool after each cast and don't wind slack onto the spool. With practice it becomes second nature. Provided you notice at once and don't tighten the line too much knots pick out fairly easily but if it tightens you may as well cut off the offending section.

The big advantage of braid for spinning, apart from longer casts, is the instant contact with anything on the other end of the line. The lack of stretch makes it possible to hook fish easily even at long range. I have read of the supposed problem of hooks pulling out because of the non-stretch property but with my gear it does not seem to be a problem at all. Even with such diverse species as chub, perch, bonefish, and mullet the braid seems to be fine. Perhaps if you are using very small hooks (eg for 'feeder' fishing in rivers) it could be a bit fierce but for spinning it is magic. For fishing with popping lures, where the lure is often sitting dead on the water surface as a fish takes, I think the low stretch property of braid is essential.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Think like a fish.

Braided line.

Whiplash 30lb.

The braid is joined to the nylon by an Albright knot and a small crosslock attaches the lure.

Fireline 6lb.

The swivel of the wire trace is attached to the braid by a Palomar knot.  Again the lure is clipped on.  This trace has landed four pike in an hour's fishing  and is due for a change.

A Chug Bug.

You need instant firm contact to hook fish taking a stationary Bug.  Changing to hooks to finer wire also helps.


Nigel Bevis using a Skitterpop for bass, note the disturbance made by twitching the lure (arrowed) which attracts the bass.

A chub on a plug.

Even fish with soft mouths are usually firmly hooked.

A bass on a popper.

This fish was hooked on the tail treble at maximum range (about 50m).