HuntnFish has spent many years on the water fishing and has caught nearly every species of fish in Washington State.
Braided Fishing Line
Braided fishing line is tough stuff. Composed of multiple braided strands of extremely strong filaments, it has unbelievable break strength for its line diameter. Braided fishing line offers a number of advantages over traditional monofilament fishing line; however, it must be rigged and handled appropriately. Knots that hold fast in monofilament can simply unravel with braid. Set the hook too hard, and watch your fish swim away.
Advantages to Braided Fishing Line
Strength to Diameter Ratio
Due to the types of materials often used in the manufacturing of braided fishing line, such as Dacron and Dyneema, braided fishing lines have an incredible strength to diameter ratio. This means that given a monofilament and braided fishing line of equal diameter, the braided line will have considerably higher breaking strength.
Since the line is smaller in diameter and limper than an equally weighted monofilament, it means casting is possible with much higher break strength fishing lines. Casting a 50lb braided line is completely doable, while casting a 50lb monofilament line is next to impossible.
Due to its smaller size, braided line allows much more line to be packed onto fishing reels. While most reels couldn't fit more than 50 yards of 50lb mono, the same reels could easily fit hundreds of yards of 50lb braided line. This means you can use a smaller fishing reel, pack on enough line yardage to reel in the hardest running fish, and fish at extreme depth without worrying about running out of line.
Whereas monofilament fishing line has considerable stretch, braided fishing line doesn't stretch. The biggest benefit of no-stretch line is increased sensitivity. This means you will feel every bump from rocks, weeds, and most importantly, fish. This increased sensitivity is barely effected even when fishing at extreme depths. It's hard to appreciate this until the first time you feel a light nibble when jigging in 600 feet of water.
The increased sensitivity goes both ways. While you are able to easily feel everything that happens to your rig no matter how deep you are fishing, you jig is also able to respond to everything you do. In shallow water this is less important, however if you are jigging a 2lb lead head jig in 500 feet of water with monofilamant, the action you impart from the rod tip to the jig is severely muted. A two foot lift of the rod tip might only move your jig a couple inches, the rest is just stretching your monofilament fishing line. With braided line, however, if your rod tip goes up two feet, your jig goes up two feet. This allows a much more finessed presentation.
Considerations When Fishing With Braided Line
Braided Line Knot Selection
Not all knots work equally well with braided line. Certain knots, such as Fisherman's Knots, should be avoided as they can more easily pull out when placed under load. This is due to the combination of the no-stretch and low friction of braided line. When in doubt, the Uni-Knot series is generally a safe bet with braided lines. Also, any knot involving wraps or twists should be given a few extra of the specified wrap or twist, this will reduce the chances of the knot slipping undone.
Control you Hook Set
When fishing with braided line, you must be incredibly careful when setting the hook during a strike. Monofilament acts as a shock absorber, allowing you to "swing for the fences" on your hook set without much concern. If you set the hook too hard, the stretch in the mono will forgive you. With braid however, if you set the hook too hard, you can very easily yank the lure right back out of the fish's mouth. Even worse, if you accidentally set the hook on a rock or log thinking its a fish, you can snap your fishing rod. I've witnessed this more than once. Braided line is not forgiving.
Instead of tying your braided line directly to your fishing rig, consider a "top-shot" of tough monofilament fishing line, tied directly to your braided mainline. This will result in more solid hook-ups. Best knot for the job here? Try the little known "FG" Knot.
Tools for Cutting Braided Line
In moment of desperation I've cut monofilament line with everything from fishing lures, rusted knives, parts of a beer can, barnacles, and of course, my teeth. This won't work with braided lines. If you don't have a very sharp knife, or specialized braid cutting tools, you may end up with an un-removable 9" tag end on your fishing knot. Braid is seriously tough to cut. And please, don't even try to use your teeth.
Braid is Abrasive
Not only can braid lead to snapped rods as mentioned earlier, but look closely at a fishing rod with metal eyelets that has been using braid, and you might see little groves cut into the last few eyelets on the rod. The braid is literally cutting slots in the eyelets. If left unfixed, these groove can actually develop sharps, deteriorating your line, and in some case, cutting it entirely.
If you plan on using braid, select a fishing rod with high quality ceramic eyelets rather than steel. Ceramic eyelets are nearly impervious to the effects of braided line.
Braided Lines are opaque, and therefore very visible underwater when compared to mono or fluorocarbon fishing lines. Some fish might not care, but with fish that are easily spooked, or when fishing in ultra-clear water, this is another good reason to consider a monofilament or fluorocarbon "top-shot."
Spooling with Braided Fishing Line
Typically, it's not a good idea to tie braided fishing line directly to a fishing reel spool. Under tension, and especially when wet, braided fishing line can slip and spin around your spool as you try to reel in. This is again due to the no-stretch, low-friction nature of braid. Instead, tie a tough monofilament to your spool and cover your spool with one layer of mono, then tie the mono to your braided mainline using an FG Knot and spool the rest of your reel. This will prevent line slippage on the spool.
All right, time for a personal story, definitely not for the squeamish. One time I was jigging for lingcod in a kayak off the coast of Washington. I was using braided fishing line. At one point my jig snagged the bottom and became stuck. The next thing I did was one of the most regrettable decisions I made that entire year; I wrapped the braided line around my hand in order to try and yank it free from the bottom. Immediately, a large swell lifted my kayak up, jig still anchored down to the bottom, and the braided line sliced a half-inch-deep cut completely circling my entire hand. That was a very bad day.
When fishing with braid, never wrap the line around any part of your body: hand, arm, finger, etc. I've seen plenty of absent-minded braid-related injuries. Due to its small diameter and lack of stretch, braid can cut incredibly well. In fact, there are plenty of people who use braided fishing line instead of wire on cheese knives. Consider that before you wrap it around your hand.
Best Braided Fishing Line for Trolling and Jigging-- Power Pro
Power Pro Braided Fishing Line
At the fishing shop, this is the clear favorite. Power Pro is the work horse of the braided fishing line world. We sold more and spooled more Power Pro than any other braid, and despite all the hundreds of sliced fingers it has given me over the years, its still my go-to braided fishing line.
- Comes in Hi-Vis Yellow or Low-Vis Green, also some sizes come in White and Red
- Wide range of line weights from 8lb to 250lb, with many options in between
- Relatively smooth surface finish for an un-coated braided line
- Very affordable, as far as braid goes
While Power Pro doesn't offer as many of the latest features as some newer braided lines, it has a long standing proven track record of being a tough, reliable, fish catcher. When it comes to hard working raw power, Power Pro is at the front of the pack.
Power Pro Spectra Braided Fishing Line
Best Braided Fishing Line for Casting-- Suffix 832 Advanced Superline
Suffix 832 Braided Fishing Line
Suffix took braided fishing line to the next level with their 832 superline. They have incorporated Gore fibers into their traditional line braid filaments, adding additional abrasion resistance, casting performance, and noise reduction. The result is a superior casting line which still maintains all the advantages of standard braided fishing lines. I've found the stiffness and memory of this line lends itself very well to spinning reels, which traditionally can have a bit of an issue casting braided lines.
- Line weights from 6lb to 80lb
- Variety of line colors including Hi-Vis, Lo-Vis, and Ghost (slightly less visible underwater)
- Smoother finish and Gore fibers increase casting performance
- Reduced noise on casting and retrieve
- Increased abrasion resistance