Braided line has been around for many, many years. The advent of new technologies have made monofilament and fluorocarbon popular choices in modern bass fishing history. New braided lines deserve a place in a bass angler’s equipment selection.
Braided line has several key benefits that make it desirable for bass anglers. It is extremely sensitive and gives anglers an excellent sense of what is happening at the end of the line. It is also durable and can last a long time.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of braided line plus go over rigging techniques that will get you well on your way to becoming a braided line expert.
Braided Line History
It is believed that Europeans in-and-around the 15th century first braided horse hair together to fish with. This line would have been made by hand and was time-consuming to weave together.
The individual strands would break and create a weak spot in the line.
During World War II advances were made in synthetic materials. DuPont Corporation entered the fishing line market in the mid-20th century with a substance called Dacron.
Modern braided lines are all synthetic and can be made from a variety of materials.
Monofilament Takes the Spotlight
When monofilament fishing line hit the scene, it didn’t take long for the traditional braided lines to take a back seat to the newer and less-visible option.
When DuPont introduced Stren in 1959 it became quite popular. The line was limp, clear, easily handled, and most importantly – inexpensive.
The extreme popularity of this line meant many other companies and competitors created their own versions of a monofilament fishing line.
Why Modern Braided Lines are Worth It
When I was a younger angler I could not stand braided line. Many of the popular versions at that time were thick, hard to handle, and felt more like wire that a fishing line.
Then, things changed.
Manufacturers produced line that handled much like monofilament in terms of limpness. I was willing to give it a shot one more time.
I am sold and have not looked back.
Pros of Using Braid
In my opinion, this has to be the single most legitimate reason someone would switch to braid and stick with it.
Going from monofilament to a braided line is like going from a $10 fishing rod to a top-end model. The amount of sensitivity and information transferred to the angler’s fingertips is incredible.
A small, almost imperceptible bite on mono is clear and defined with braid.
Even more impressive is the ability to decipher what is going on at the end of the line in regards to bottom composition. Pea gravel is clearly discerned from chunk rock. Sand feels much different than muck.
When an angler can accurately understand what his or her lure is traveling through it unlocks a more complete understanding of what the bass are doing and where they are hanging out.
It is amazing.
This is a close second.
The ability of braided line to resist knicks and abrasion makes it an incredible choice for tossing lures into the nastiest of conditions. It can yank ten pounds of vegetation and cut through lily pads with ease.
Braid can saw up against a tree limb and wrestle a bass over it without fear of breaking off.
The confidence an angler can gain from knowing that lure is not going to break off when fishing in heavy cover is the difference between an OK day and a great one. It can also be the difference between an average-sized bass and a new personal best.
Braid can also be used all season. Spool up in the spring and leave it on until you put the rods up for the winter. That makes it very cost-efficient.
If needed, an angler can always unspool it, turn it around, and then put it back on the spool.
Well, if there is any stretch, it is almost zero.
The ability of braid to resist stretch is essential when fishing in heavy cover. When an angler can transfer their energy from the rod to the hook efficiently that means the bass is less likely to bury up and pull off.
The head of the fish is kept moving toward the boat and is much more likely to pull free of whatever thick cover it was hiding in.
While zero stretch is not ideal for some lures like a crankbait, it is perfect for fishing flipping jigs, Texas rigged soft plastics, and frogs. Each of these lure categories make their living in the heavy stuff. Braided line is king when it comes to winching them out.
This is where braid shines. Manufacturers can weave together a much smaller diameter line and still maintain a high pound test rating. For example, 50lb braid has the same diameter as 12lb mono.
Each manufacturer’s specs are a little different, but this table below gives the general guidelines of braid diameter.
|Size (lb test)||Diameter (in)||Approx. Mono Equivalent|
When choosing a braid at the tackle store, most packaging gives the braid-to-mono equivalent on the label.
Castability and Zero Memory
Braid can be tossed a country-mile. It spools off nicely and its flexibility allows it to send lures a long distance.
A lot of this distance during the cast is a direct result of braid having zero memory to it.
You have probably noticed how mono and fluoro have memory and holds twist as soon as it comes off the spool. Braid does not do this.
Fighting line twist on spinning gear is mind-numbing and frustrating for anglers of all ability levels. Many anglers are beginning to use braid on their spinning gear to eliminate this frustrating side-effect of spinning equipment.
Cons of Using Braid
Braid is expensive. This is another reason I avoided it for so long. I had a hard time picking up a $20 spool of braid when I could get twice as much mono for a fourth of the cost. In fact, that is a major factor in what makes monofilament so popular.
But when you take into consideration that braid can last much, much, longer than mono the cost isn’t as big of a hurdle.
Monofilament and fluorocarbon can be manufactured in low-vis or clear line. Braid can easily be seen.
If the water you fish is stained or muddy, this is not a big deal.
If your home lake, river, or pond is ultra-clear than the visibility of braid may be a concern.
Many anglers get over this hurdle by using a fluorocarbon leader. This is an extra step in the process of rigging. It also takes time to learn to tie two lines together with a knot that slides through the rod guides with ease.
Braided line stays on the surface of the water. Certain lures, like crankbaits, do much better with a line that sinks – like fluorocarbon.
Braid floats because it is so light. On windy days this can be an issue. Braid is easily pushed by the wind and can cause problems when casting. Fluorocarbon is a much heavier line and can cut through the wind easier than braid.
Backlashes can be Maddening
If you are just learning to use a baitcast reel, I suggest spooling it with monofilament until you are comfortable casting.
When braid backlashes it is not nearly as forgiving and easy to pick out. I can remove a pretty bad bird’s nest with mono in no time. Not with braid.
How to Spool Braid
Braid is exceptionally smooth. This means that it will slip on the spool of the reel unless you do something to stop it.
When using a baitcaster, most anglers spool up some monofilament first as a backing material. You can also do this on spinning gear. Another alternative with a spinning reel is to place a small drop of super glue where the braid ties to the spool. This will keep it from slipping as well.
There are even anglers that use a small piece of tape to hold the braid in place. Try different methods until you find one you prefer.
Once you have a few rounds of mono as a backing material tie the braid to it and finish spooling the reel.
There are several popular knots that anglers use to fasten braid to another line. These include the FG knot, the double-uni, the Alberto knot the Albright Knot, and the Berkley Braid knot.
The FG is probably the one that protects the knot the best between braid and a leader material as it slides through the eyes of the rod. It is also the most complicated of the knots listed, but practice will help. There are many YouTube videos on each of these knots.
Best Line Choice for Different Lures and Presentations
|Lure/Presentation||Line Choice||Reason Why|
|Flipping/Pitching Jigs||Braid||Durability/No Stretch|
|Texas Rigged Plastics||Braid||Durability/No Stretch|
Be Confident in the Transition
It took me a long time to make the switch to braid. I’ll admit it.
In my opinion, it is worth it.
The extra sensitivity alone has helped me put many more fish in the boat.
There will be a learning curve. There will be some backlashes that make you want to go home and quit fishing. There will be some pain in the wallet on that initial purchase, but I think that once you give it time the pros by far outweigh the cons.
Don’t get me wrong, as I get older, the knots can be frustrating because my eyes have gone downhill, but I love, love, love the fact I can feel everything that is going on and there is no memory. Line twist can be so irritating with mono and fluoro.
If you are making the switch, try just buying one spool and rig up a couple of rods with it. Use the positive characteristics of braid with the lures that are best suited for it.
When you practice tying the knots use oversized line, twine, shoelaces, even small rope. This will help you get the basics of each knot down.
Tight lines. Be safe. And be sure to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.