JK School of Higher Fishing Education Presents: The 4 line choices for Bass Fishing Part 2: Braid

JK School of Higher Fishing Education Presents:
Bass Fishing Basic Course 100
Today’s Class is on:
The 4 line choices for Bass Fishing part 2 Braid

Ok everyone back? Good, now part 2 of today’s class is about braid. Braid is something that you will either love or hate, but you must respect it for its many qualities that have put a lot of bass in the laps of anglers that fish in heavy vegetation.

Braid has been around for a long time, going back to the days of linen line (there is mention of linen line by the Egyptians…ya it’s that old). Thanks to advances in technology, modern day braid is made from either Dacron, Spectra or micro-dyneema, making them very thin, extremely strong, have zero stretch, and have superior tight line sensitivity. Braid is usually 8 strands of fiber woven very tightly then coated in a protective coating, making it very abrasion resistant, and slightly stiff till it softens after some use. Due to the fiber material being so amazing, braid if treated correctly can last many seasons on the same reel. Thanks to advances in engineering, we now see 16 strand braids and surprisingly 32 strand braids coming out on the market. The higher strand counts mean they are still very thin, but this allows for a “softer” feel and increased abrasion resistance. There are some braids that it takes over 10 minutes of braiding to make 1 inch and there are reports of some higher strand brands that it’s over an hour to make an inch of line. I bring this up because one of the drawbacks of braid is that it can be downright expensive, from the materials used to how it’s made. Take that into consideration, as well as remember; braid lasts a long time, so make that initial assessment in mind.
One of braids huge selling points is how thin it is compared to mono or fluorocarbons diameter. For example, 20lb braid has the thickness of 6lb mono, this means we can load a reel up with a lot of line. Another thing that braids thickness allows for is cutting thru vegetation. Due to its thickness, when braid is brought tight it turns into a razor that cuts thru aquatic and non-aquatic vegetation very easily. Now the downfall of this is that it will cut into many things as well, including you. Never wrap your hand in braid and pull on it under tension if you don’t want to cut into yourself. Also, be aware of braid wrapping around the rod tip in particular, there are many anglers out there with rod tips that are missing because they set the hook with braid and lost the rod tip shortly after.
Now braid is great when fishing in vegetation but when fishing in and around wood be aware that braid has no qualms cutting into wood and this can lead to lost fish and gear as braid will dig into the wood and make it nearly impossible to break thru on thicker pieces of wood. With that said braid is inherently slick, this creates the double-edged sword, being slick it is an insightful choice on bait casters and spinning reels thanks to all its characteristics allows the line to flow off the reel and guides with little to no resistance, memory to create issues. The con is that due to its slick profile that it will slip on the spool, you can remedy this by adding some tape to the spool or use some mono as backing to help grip the spool. I personally use both, better safe than sorry attitude.
Braids strength is again thanks to advances in technology, nothing is better than setting the hook on what you believe is a world record fish only to realize that your dragging that ole oak stump off the bottom. (yes, this is from personal experience). Also braids almost zero stretch makes it extremely sensitive, this is key when fishing heavy bottom baits where you need to know what your dragging your bait thru. Now why the emphasis on heavy? Because of the buoyancy of braid and mono. In the image, you can see that there is a bow in the line from that buoyancy. In shallow water this is not a problem but when in deeper water on a cast and retrieve style presentation, that bow in the line can “deaden” the sensitivity, and lift the bait up in the water column preventing the proper presentation. This is only found with light/weightless baits for example light jigs, shaky heads, stick baits, and soft plastic jerk baits. As well as buoyant baits, i.e. crankbaits. But using a heavier weighted bait this is a non-issue as the drag from the bait keeps the line nice and tight. This is the inherent problem with mono and braid, but with both there are products out there that prevent this, but in this professor’s opinion there are other choices in line that will do the job at a better, more efficient level.

Oh, something to remember braid transmits things very well when tight, but it sucks when there is slack in the line. It is hard to feel anything when there is a bow in the line but what it does do is transmits movement exceptionally well. What does that mean? The best way to describe it is like this; when using techniques like a senko for instance braid will lay on timage he surface of the water allowing you to watch the line, when a bass hits the bait, you will see the line do one or more things. First one that comes to mind is the sudden sinking of the line, this is a subtle one, and it comes from the bass pulling on the slack. This sudden movement downward is what makes the line sink finally, when you see this reel down and set the hook. The next one is apparent but the line will “jump” this is the easiest to see and is self-explanatory. The last one can be harder to tell sometimes but the line will move in an unnatural direction. Fishing line in lakes either goes straight out and straight back in, but when it moves in any other direction makes it unnatural. Many, many times the line will just start moving to one side or the other and makes things easy. But the harder one is when the bass moves and doesn’t move the line on the surface, this is when having good sunglasses helps, as you are looking at the line that is in the water and notice it moving in a direction. Now let me say this, usually if you see this it’s going to mean a much larger fish, keep that in mind and don’t get to excited, take a breather because you might be holding it in as you pray to the fish gods in your head.

Now braids zero stretch means its shock resistance breaks knots and line, i.e. when cracking the whip on a hookset can snap the line…easily. There are two ways of remedying this, the first is use a leader of fluorocarbon or mono. A good length of leader will allow enough shock resistance to keep the line intact, if that doesn’t work and your still busting line then change the rod your using, by going to a softer actioned rod will allow the rod to “eat” some of the shock, keeping you from breaking the line. Another issue is due to it having no memory (this is something that makes mono such a pain in the butt) and being so supple, when using bait casters and having an overrun (backlash/birds nest) you will have an issue with getting them out as well as having the line dig into the line on the spool. Unfortunately, backlashes will happen, it’s one of the hazards but you can keep them from taking over the spool by doing this three-step process.
First spool your bait caster with braid, get some tape and cut a 2 to 3-inch piece off and stick it on your chest then tie on a ½ oz. weight of some sort either an old jig or weight, make a cast, then pull at least 3 to 6 pulls off the spool. Now lay the tape onto the line so the tape is covering the rest of the line, and the last step is to reel the line back in pinching the line between your fingers to put as much tension on the line as possible. The reason is by putting the line under tension is going to set that tape. This will prevent you losing the whole spool of line in case of a bad overrun. On this topic lets quickly add this: wind knots on spinning outfits.
One of the biggest issues is wind knots and it’s from how little memory is in braid, allowing it to twist easily with no rhyme or reason, and 99% of the time it is due to right after the cast re loading the reel with slack line. the easiest way to prevent this is after the cast, closing the bail manually, do not turn the handle to close the bail. This will throw twist and slack onto the spool and create the beginnings of a wind knot. Secondly after closing the bail, run your fingers up the line to take out the slack before turning the handle. Also, if you are putting a lot of slack line on the reel be aware that you will have the makings of a wind knot very easily, go ahead and pinch the line to put just enough tension to keep the line going on the spool “straight”. Do these things and you should have little to no issues.
Man, that was a long one, but we have covered braid well in this part 2 of the class today. Braid is an excellent choice when first getting started, and hopefully after this session you will be better informed. We will take a nice 30-minute break to catch our breath so to speak, but when we get back we are going to delve into the world that is fluorocarbon! See you in a bit class.

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