Going Braid – Q&A

What if I don’t have any issues with using either fluorocarbon or mono, why do I need to switch?

You don’t.  Some anglers do just fine spooling up with fluorocarbon and of course, many bass have been caught with your basic mono line.  I just always felt I am much more efficient and happy using braid-leader setup.  

Keep a wide range of leaders in various pound tests. When it comes to fluorocarbon, make sure to use “leader” material as it will be tougher, than the big wind-on spools of fluorocarbon that are meant to spool up with.

How long should my leaders be?

I like to have leaders long enough that the leader knot is inside the guides, but not in the reel on my casting setups. The alberto knot will come through most all guides (except the smallest micro-guides) just fine.

That depends on how often you intend to retie, how much of a shock effect do you want your leader to have and what size of guides you are using on your rod. In general, the answer is that the leader knot comes up just short of going into the reel. If I’m using a rod with micro-guides, then I’ll either use a short leader that doesn’t enter the guides or (most likely) I won’t try to tie leader onto rods with the smallest micro-guides. Really, I don’t use any of those rods, so it’s not an issue.

Use an old, deeper style tackle box with the lid removes to keep your leader spools together in one place

Why isn’t using 30# braid better than 50#?

30# braid digs into itself on the spool too easily, especially after catching a fish or getting your bait hungup. Also, 30# braid and its smaller diameter wants to cut into the leader knot too easily. I’ve learned the hard way. I would at least use 40# for this system, really anything from 40# to 60# works fine, but have found 50# to be a good balance. Sticking with 50# braid also provides some consistency for my knots as I become familiar with how many wraps I need for each of my different diameter leader lines. The braid diameter, I can keep consistent with the 50#.

Do you always use the same knot to connect the leader to the braid?

I’ve settle in on the alberto, or “modified” alberto knot as being my favorite. It took a little practice to learn how to tie, but was able to get the hang of it easy enough.

This particular knot lasted me for several months. I started with about a 10′ leader and was down to about 5′ at the end of the season.

Do you use glue on your leader to braid knots?

I do at times. I have good luck with this stuff. To be honest, I haven’t really tested my knots with vs without the glue. The glue does seem to give it a bit of a smoother, slick coating so the little tag ends don’t catch on guides as much. But I’ve also tied on many leaders without any glue and haven’t noticed any issues. A good knot is the most important thing. Pull really hard when cinching that knot down (protect your hands) and if it looks good and survives a good pull, then you should be fine – with or without the glue.

How does using braid on all your reels affect your rod selection?

A medium-heavy rod in a moderate to mod-fast action will handle about 80% of your reaction bait needs (swim jigs, bladed jigs, spinnerbaits, and many crankbaits.

Think “moderate” to “mod-fast” when it comes to rod actions. A slower action rod does not mean it cannot be powerful. Back-off at least 1 level on your rod speeds/actions. This will help you with your casting distance and accuracy as well. Stay away from “extra-fast” rod actions for sure.

If going all braid, start migrating towards “moderate” or “moderate-fast” actions . You can still find heavier powered rods in these more moderate actions that will be very versatile rods for you. As a bonus, you don’t have to break the bank for lower modulus rods that have slower actions.

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  1. I use a braid-leader setup on everything but frogs and the extreme punching situation. 50# braid is my go to since it offers consistency in knots and won’t dig into itself on the spool as much as 30# will. Plus a backlash with less than 50# can be a real chore to deal with.

    1. While the first time I read about the braid-leader setup you describe was here, I’ve seen/read about it a lot more often ever since. Watching some your other postings, I see you do the same thing on your spinning setups especially when you’re fishing with a fluke, but what the rest of the time? Do you do the same thing with your spinning setups? Seeing you brought it up, what are you using when frog fishing or punching?

  2. Spinning, I always you braid with a leader. For the fluke, I use a swivel to attach leader. Frogging or Punching, just straight braid, usually 50#, but occasionally 60-65#, but don’t think that heavy is necessary.

  3. Don,
    When you’re using a braid to a leader set up, do you feel your hooksets are more of a pull then jakin them hard.
    I wonder if the braid with its less stretch may take the bait away from the fish.

    1. Hooksets depend on the angle of the rod on the retrieve and the technique being used. Generally, on moving, horizontal presentations, I use more of a reel set and a steady pull. On touchy-feely presentations or more vertical presentation, I will reel down and set the hook in the traditional way. I feel overall that braid provides a more positive hook-set. Far more fish are lost because the hook does not penetrate past the barb than because we take away the bait from the fish.

  4. When fishing horizontal baits like spinnerbaits, swim jigs etc; with the braid to leader setup and fishing around grass do you feel there is any difference between straight fluorcarbon and the braid when going through the grass. Such as additional noise from the braid rubbing on the grass.

  5. The braid makes more noise, there is no doubt about that. The use of a leader dampens some of that. That (noise) is probably down at the bottom of my list of considerations. I’ve never noticed a decrease in the number of bites or size of fish over somebody in the boat with me using straight FC.
    I have noticed when I or the other person is using straight FC we break off more fish and have more line “management” issues.