Tackle and Tactics
For many years now I have been using braided lines for all my lure fishing. As I have written on a number of occasions I think that it is fantastic and it is particularly good for fishing with buoyant plugs and especially surface poppers and sliders. However, in past year or two a number of good anglers have said that they have so many problems, particularly with the fine, soft, flexible braids, like the Whiplash that I use, that they have given them up. I should say that, as far as I am aware, none of them have gone back to nylon monofilament but usually they resort to the slightly stiffer braids of the Fireline type which are a bit more forgiving. I have recently given some thought to this problem and decided that since quite a few people, including myself, successfully use these soft braids the problem may lie not so much in the line as how it is used. There are a number of ‘tricks’ to using it, which I now do automatically but which may not be obvious to the inexperienced braid user. Perhaps it would be useful to set these down in print.
Firstly - put a layer of nylon on the spool first (fail to do this and the whole lot just turns on the spool). I am told that this can be a particular problem if the spool contracts in cold weather.
Secondly - DON’T overfill the spool. The line’s so thin and flexible that even a millimetre or two below the lip is fine for casting.
Thirdly - flick the bale arm over with your hand, rather than by winding, so as to avoid loops on the reel.
Fourthly - AND PROBABLY MOST IMPORTANT – ALWAYS AVOID LOOSE COILS ON THE REEL BY GIVING THE LINE A PULL BEFORE REELING IN. A glance after dropping the bale arm over will check whether there is a potential problem (usually a coil overlying the edge of the spool that may tangle on the next cast if you don’t do this).
Of course most of these actions are easy to do when you are using buoyant plugs and poppers (the lure will sit there while you sort things out on the reel) but it is also easy to forget when the fish are blitzing and you have a spoon or other sinking lure on. If you are unlucky and feel a click as a knot goes out through the rings wind in gently (praying that nothing takes the lure) and pick the tangle out with your fingernails – eight times out of ten you will get away with this with no adverse effects on the line – on no account try to pull the ends of the knot or it will tighten up and you’ll have to cut it off. Of course a good reel that spools the line evenly is a help.
Now having written all this I should say that for several decades I fished for bass with quality eight-pound nylon (firstly Racine Tortue and latterly Maxima) and caught literally thousands of fish including many big ones. Monofilament is just as good as it ever was and will still catch plenty of fish so if you don't like braid don't use it. However, as far as I am concerned the problems are far outweighed by the benefits of ease, accuracy and distance of casting, sensitivity of feeling what is happening to your lure, the positive strike given by the low stretch and immense strength which gives me total confidence in landing fish from snaggy areas and recovering lures from snags.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Correctly filled spool.
The danger sign.
A small knot.
The proof of the pudding.