Tim Griffin asked the question in a comment on a recent post - "what difference could you notice with the 8 strand over the 4 strand braid ?" And it got me thinking...........I am not a technical wizard on all things braid, not in the least bit in fact, but I know what I like, and I very much like using 8 strand braid for a lot of my lure fishing. But not for all of it.
Above is a close up of this brand new Daiwa Tournament 8 Braid that I picked up in France (don't worry, you can get in green as well) - two years ago and this sort of line would have freaked the hell out of me, because firstly you need to get your head around how thin a true 8 strand braid is when you compare it to a more "regular" (but very good) 4 strand braid. A lower diameter mainline makes sense to me when you are casting and working all kinds of lures, and especially in cross winds and fast currents. Much as I can't speak highly enough of the awesome Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE in 20lb that I have been using and abusing for a while now (and I love it to bits and will continue to use it because it's just amazing stuff and I trust in it completely), in a perfect world I would love to be able to get hold of it in 30lb and then really take advantage of extra strength and a bit more "ruggedness", but still having an incredibly low diameter. But you can't get that particular Varivas 8 strand in 30lb - the new Daiwa stuff comes in a huge range of breaking strains though, and in due course I will get my hands on some of the 30lb stuff and see if it does for me what I think it will. I need to use and abuse the new Daiwa stuff long term before I am able to trust it like I trust the Varivas stuff. But both brands' 15lb and 20lb must be just about perfect for "finesse" bass fishing - the new me perhaps ??!!
Do we need 30lb mainline for bass fishing ? Well the fish aren't going to break it, that's for sure. But when fishing over what might be termed "heavy ground", I can't help but want a little "extra" to help me wrench lures out of snags and also to provide that little bit more abrasion resistance. I might be wrong, but I believe that 4 strand braid has the edge over the 8 strand when it comes to abrasion resistance - and there are times when I am still going to choose to fish with the really good 4 strand braids because they offer me a bit more of a buffer. But let's face it here and admit that braids just aren't as good as mono for overall abrasion resistance. But I do have a very specialist braid here to test out soon that might just be worth looking at for something like fishing soft plastics for wrasse right into the middle of the rough stuff..........
8 strand just feels like silk to me, whereas 4 strand feels a tiny bit "coarse" (above) - not that this matters one bit I grant you, but I am utterly convinced that these 8 strand braids cast better. This might be because they seem to lie on the spool very well (if that makes sense), but they just fly off when you really launch into a cast. I just don't get wind knots if I underfill my spools (check the line level in the top photo) and make sure to wind in under some kind of tension from time to time if I am imparting a lot of different movements to a lure. As I said, I am not into the technicalities of braid, but fishing with 8 strand braid just feels a whole lot "better" to me - kind of like I would imagine going from my Ford Focus Estate (radical) to something like a top of the pile Range Rover. Both will get you from A to B perfectly well, and both will do so with a degree of "feel", but the Range Rover is just going to be a "better" all round experience. The actual choice comes down to personal feelings and finances. That's my take on it anyway. Nothing right or wrong about using either of the different kinds of braid, just a feeling kind of thing.
Check out the size of this thing !! My mate Cato emailed me this photo of an angler with this 80lb cod (yes you read that right, eighty pounds !!!!!) that was taken the other day from a boat somewhere in the north of Norway. Plus there was a ling caught that was somewhere between 80-90lbs - and Cato I believe is up there now, so here's hoping he is smashing some silly big fish. They have also been getting a lot of pollack in shallow water from 10-20lbs, and that is world class light tackle sport in anybody's book - presuming you are man enough to take the cold weather. Me ? I need to toughen up a bit !! Imagine actually seeing a cod like that one in the flesh - for all the problems we have with our cod stocks around here, it certainly makes me feel better about the world in general to know that there are still fish like that swimming around not actually very far from the good old Blighty.
On Sunday I am heading up to the B.A.S.S. AGM - in their "wisdom" they asked me a while back to give a talk at their AGM, so I am going to attempt to enlighten/send them to sleep (delete whichever is most applicable) about bass fishing photography. I passionately believe that I am of most use to the future of fishing if I can make our sport look as visually impressive as possible, and I try to do all I can to make it appealing via my photography (I have put some new bass fishing photos into this gallery here). Without wanting to sound all kind of "professional", I would like to try and use this talk to help point the people who have to sit down and listen to me in the direction of starting to understand more about how to take better and more visually arousing photos of the fishing that we all love. I am really looking forward to seeing a bunch of people I already know up there, and also to meeting a load of new bass fishermen. Let's face it, we don't need much of an excuse to yap fishing do we now ??!!
I got my first ever front cover the other day for the Danish magazine "Fisk & Fri" - which I am kind of presuming means "Fish and Fishing" (not bad eh ?).This shot was taken out in the Bolivian jungle last summer, and still it's about the most impressive freshwater fly fishing I think I have ever been lucky enough to have seen - these golden dorado rampaging around crystal clear jungle rivers is an experience that will never leave me, and hopefully I will get really lucky and head out there again one day. World class fly fishing, talk to Aardvark McLeod about it here. I shot the photo as a potential cover in the back of my mind, things just lined up right for me to be able to do it, but then you rely on the magazine people to pick up on it. I still get just about the biggest kick possible in my work when I see my photos on the covers of magazines, catalogues and books. "Fisk & Fri" made a really cool looking six page feature out of my Bolivia experience.