Braided Line: Truths and Deceptions
Braided Line: Truths and Deceptions
By Duane Richards
This is one of the most confusing little known areas of fishing, that I have ever came across. Everytime I read what others are saying about braied lines, it makes me cringe first, then it enrages me to see all the misinformaition thats out there for anglers wanting to learn. We are going to clear up some of that as you read on today.
I began using braided lines several years back upon their introduction to popularity. I quickly found out there are many types of the so called "superlines". There are braided ones, fused ones, and others melded together in strands. Each of these handle differently on reel and rod, but the outcome is still basically the same in makeup, thus the term "superline".
Horror storys began to ring throughout the fishing industry. Storys of rod breakage, guide wear and replacment, reel faults and so on. The list grew like a hot potatoe in a microwave oven. Everytime I'd hear of such abuse to tackle, my eyes would roll back into my head about 3 inches. How could this be?? I've been using superline on outfits priced from $25.00 right on up to $350.00 with no problems at all. What makes me so different? I'll tell you what makes me so different-I am using them properly and not abusing the equiptment -thats why. The newer braids aren't troublesome on euipptment, people are. It is possible to destroy equiptment, any equiptment, we must remember "proper use" is the words to live by here.
Braided line does not break rods, it does not ruin guides, or harm reels. Anyone telling you different needs some education, or has something to gain in the indusrty by placing these rampid rumors. That last part will get you to thinking, will it not? Just how much capitol has been gained in the guide industry since braids hit the market? Rod guides were pennies, now the rod guide alone, can take the price of a rod from one level, way up to the top of the line models. What of the loss of the nylon makers if the industry suddenly weighed heavily on braids?
Lets put a few generic names in place, we'll call braided lines "superlines" and all fluorocarbon, co-polymers and monofliaments"nylon". Now, there are many difference between superlines and nylons. Lets start with nylon.
Nylon has about as many "quirks" as does any superline. We have came to forgive these quirks by learning them and dealing with their troubles and problems. Nylon degrades, and must be changed very often. It devolops memory and coils at the worst possible times. Twisting is a major trouble as well, and lets not leave out lack or strength and that stretch factor. These are all just normal things we deal with in using nylon as a fishing line. We have, over the years become educated in how to, and not to, treat nylon. This has became second nature to us fisherman, and we dont think twice about it.
Along comes the superline, and we dont know squat about it. We hear the horror stories along with all the good things and wonder what its really like. Here's what its really like: Superline has no stretch, or very little of it depending upon brand. This promotes a "feel" like no nylon ever has had, or ever will. It is thin and very strong, has no memory, lasts forever, can be used for years on end without degradation-which makes it very economical to the enviroment and the angler. Doesn't twist, curl, and blow off the reel, and gives the angler confidence when fighting larger fish.
Superline, like nylon, also has quirks, most of which is angler error. Here are a few: air knotting, most superlines float, pulling against a snag improperly will cause the line to "dig in" upon itself, being light-the wind is more a factor with blowing or skating the line. Superline is not forgiving to the occasional angler as nylon can be. I once said: "try a braid for a day and like it, use it for a month and hate it, stay with it a few more months and fall in love with it forever" this still holds true. Sight-this line is very visable to the angler and the fish, this can hurt the anglers confidence by him thinking the Bass can see his line and will deter from his lures. I believe this to be more of a human factor than a fish factor, meaning: we care more of line visabilty than our quarry does! Some species are line shy, Bass I have found in my waters are not. The simple addition of a leader for these anglers will suffice in that confidence level, but I surely dont reccomend one for Bass fishing. It's a hassle of knots and weak points that are simply not needed in any way. Lesser abraision resistance than nlyon is another factor-diameter is the largest part of the pie of-abrasion resistance-and superlines being so thin, do not excell at this conception unless one compares diameter to diameter, then the two lines are basically equal.
Slick-superlines are just that, thin and slick, and they will "spin" on many of todays reel spools when trying to load them and when fishing them, this can be easily avoided by using a nlyon backing-which I dont recommend unless larger reel spools are at hand-or by simply placing a piece of rough tape onto the spool, thus giving the line something to grad onto. I personally use what is called a "double backed tape". It's a clear, extremely thin, 1/2" wide tape(available at any office store or x-mart) that is sticky on both sides, one side grabs the spool, and the other grabs the line, its a win-win situation. Plus, with not having a line backing, there are no knots to impede casting or create a weak point should a fishing excursion place you fishing near that knot-for one reason or another. An added bonus of this technique is, once the line is worn and you feel the need to change it, all you have to do is reverse it on the reel spool and you have brand new superline to fish with, and all the worn out stuff is at the bottom of your spool. Its a very cost effective way to use a line, and use it all.
Rod tip wrap-this happens mostly when the line is brand new. It will wrap around the tip of the rod, or a guide when slack is thrown into the line. The newer braids have helped with this lesser feature, but I think the angler is the most at fault here, by him or her not paying attention to what the line and rod are doing at a given time. Nylon will also do this, but due to its memory and springy nature, its evil is much lesser.
Snags. Thats another beast of words that have spilled onto the pits of superline non-users. Unless one is using a thick wire hook most superlines will bend hooks out and reward the angler with a returned bait. I have lost 90% less lures since my change over to a superline. 90%... couple that with the ease of snag removal because of the no stretch properties of superlines and you can see the saved dollar signs, cant you??
Dont pull back with your rod and reel on a snag while using braids, this will cause a digging in problem. If you need to pull back with spinning gear, one only has to grab and hold the reel spool to keep it from slipping drag, point the rod tip at the snagged lure and pull straight back. One of two things will happen: you will get your lure back, or the line will break at the knot of the lure 95% of the time (always get as close to the snag as possible). With casting gear, one must pull back by wraping an object in the line above the reel, pointing the rod at the snagged lure and pulling back with the object only. There are many objects you can use to do this, my favorite is a pair of pliers with coated handles, these I always carry anyway and it adds nothing to my terminal tackle selection. A glove or towel of any kind is my 2nd choice, and even a stick or piece of wood does well too. Never pull lines of any kind with the bare hands.
Cutting superlines. Here is where we surely have to delve differently from nylon. Superlines cannot be cut with your teeth, nail clippers, or the usual used nylon cutters. Some use scissors, and these work well-about any brand will do-but my tool of choice, again, is that same pair of pliers we spoke of earlier. I use a pair of what is known commonly as "side cutters". These are the basic wire cutters as most know them, cheeper pairs normally dont last long or do very well. If you bought a pair for around $10.00, chances are they will be just fine for cutting braid and pulling snags. These side cutters also enable the fisherman to cut braid against and close to the line tie of the lure, leaving the lure empty of line and ready for re-use when needed without added trimming that the scissors sometimes require.
Superlines are all different, some pose troubles others dont, and the reverse is true also. If you're planing on trying a superline anytime soon, use this guide to"read between the lines" of the poor unfactual rumors out there today, to help make your choice easier.
There was a time when the world was thought of as being "flat" and we burned witches at the stake. With time and education, we've done a lot better than that. I feel superlines will be no different. Give one a chance, a real chance, not just a day or two of fishing, and I think you'll like what you feel in time.