Going Braid

About ten years ago, frustrated with how fluorocarbon lines were performing, I decided to just try and use braided line on all my baitcasters.  Here’s what I learned.

Manageability

Braided line just played nicer for me.  No memory.  Less time spent messing with my line.  I’ve yet to see, be around, or witness somebody who didn’t have multiple issues throughout the course of a day when dealing with fluorocarbon lines that were spooled directly on the reel.  Fluorocarbon has lots of qualities, but being manageable and easy to work with is not one of them.

Durability

I would often run into the following scenario with copolymer or fluorocarbon lines.  I would backlash at some point and then either later that day or the next, I would have a break-off, not at the lure but further up the line.  Every backlash created a weak point, especially with fluorocarbon line.  Eventually, that weak point would give.

Now, I very rarely have a break-off, (almost never at the leader knot).  When I was using straight mono or fluorocarbon on the spool, I sometimes would break off more than once in a day.  That seems crazy to me now, as I could count the break-offs I’ve had in the last 5-6 years on one hand.

With braid, I can go years using the same spool of line.  No break offs, No significant memory or line coiling issues.  It was durable and usable – two key attributes you want with any line.

Various rod/reel combos all spooled with 50# test braided line of various makers.  I wouldn’t recommend you go any lighter than 40# braid on baitcasters.  50# seems to be just right for me.  The bigger diameter of 50lb. creates a better leader to line knots and doesn’t allow the braided line to dig into itself as much on the reel.

Visibility

All line has some visibility under the water.  I think that especially in clear water, bass can see the line and can associate line with events (like getting hooked).  Braid was the most visible, so I learned how to add a fluorocarbon or mono leader to the braid.

I can adjust leader lengths and pound test easily – during the day without having to abandon a whole spool of fresh line that was just spooled up.  If I decided to crank with 10 lb. Fluorocarbon, I can do that.

Practice a braided line to leader knot such as the Alberto knot and become more versatile and efficient. All while saving $.

If I need to pitch/flip with a 20# FC leader, I can do that as well.

Line and leader combinations become endless and allow you to use your line as it was meant to be – as a tool to get the job done.

Efficiency (Cost & Time)

Ultimately, going with all braid saved me time and money.  I have many casting and spinning reels that are going on their 2nd or 3rd year with the same spool of braided line.  I seldom hassle with my line during the course of a day.  When I do want to switch leaders, I can do that in a matter of a couple of minutes.  But that is pretty rare.  I feel I can handle most any situation with a 50# braided mainline and a 10-20 lb leader of either fluorocarbon or mono/copolymer.

Using all braid also allows me to not feel the need to cough up the serious dough for the latest rod with all the latest space age components.  I feel I get better casting distance, sensitivity, and power with braid and a modestly priced rod, say in the $75-$150 range over a $300 (super sensitive and brittle) rod and $20 of FC line I need to respool with many times per year.

There’s nothing expensive about this setup and I can use the same combo for any moving or “reaction” baits I want to throw.  Don’t believe the BS that reaction baits and braid don’t work well together.

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  1. Much agreed Don. I’ve been using the same system and knots on all of my baitcasting and spinning setups for years. The only issue I’ve ever run into is with some of the rods with “micro-guides”. Even with the slim profile of the Alberto knot, I still seemed to catch that last tiny tip guide with the knot. Any answers for that? Thanks, as always for the great info!

  2. You can try minimizing the number of wraps you are using on the knot. But at some point, those guides are just too small. I’ve never gotten into the micro guides much for that reason and if I can help it, stay away from them. For a true reel on leader, you can try what some of the offshore/tuna guys use – a wind on leader with some hollow-core braid. I’ve played with it some, works well, but a little time consuming on the knot.