Am I sometimes fishing with a different product?

We are all different and we are all going to have different opinions about different items of fishing tackle when we go out fishing, but sometimes I read stuff say on Facebook or a fishing forum and I wonder if the same product that I am using myself is in fact something different without me having realised. I have nothing to do with Daiwa UK and I am only using the example of their J-Braid here because I mentioned the arrival here at home of a brand new, sub-£20 8-strand braid on my Facebook page (SpiderWire Stealth Smooth), so of course at the price and specs I am wondering how it might compare to what are now for me proven braids at very nice prices, that Daiwa J-Braid and the Sufix Performance Pro 8.

And then I read comments like this about the Daiwa J-Braid, and to be honest I am left wondering what on earth I have been fishing with when it’s done so damn well for me yet obviously done so damn badly for these anglers here - “J braid it's cheap and with poor quality. After I was 0.16 for 2 months I start losing very expensive plugs. I paid 20£ on him and I lost 60 £ lures. Now i'm using 0.18 Tournament and I'm very pleased. Don't by J-Braid speciali for saltwater”, “Tried the green J braid in August this year. It was so unreliable and easy to break that I could actually snap it like a sewing thread between my two forefingers. It went straight in the bin after half a session. Utter junk.” Crumbs!

My point here is not remotely to defend this J-Braid, because as I said, I am using this as a means to illustrate a point - but how can our experiences of the same product be so wildly different? OK, with fishing rods they are such a personal thing how they cast and fish that we are all going to love and hate the same rods in equal measures, but how can a fishing line which I can’t get to do anything bad for me then perform so badly for somebody else? A mate of mine who happens to be a very good angler has been using nothing but the same spool of 20lb J-Braid on his spinning reel since May and like me he can’t find fault with it - and we use different leader knots as well (bless him, he can’t tie the FG knot). So what are we doing wrong to be getting on so well with this product when I read the above quotes from my Facebook page from a couple of anglers who have obviously had bad experiences with the same line?

Now we could of course be doing something right (!!) and those anglers who have had bad experiences with the stuff could be doing something wrong, but that’s too presumptuous from my point of view to just label those bad experiences simply as plain bad angling. Let’s say you go and buy a pair of the Patagonia Ultralight II wading boots which I happen to think are a pile of junk (see here), yet you get on with them famously and wonder what on earth this Henry Gilbey prat is on about. I still reckon the Major Craft Skyroad Surf 9’6’’ 5-28g is just about the most awesome lure rod I have ever come across for the money, but what happens if you buy one and hate fishing with it? OK, so not liking a bit of fishing tackle because it doesn’t suit you is slightly different, but how can anglers have such different experiences with something as fundamentally important in our fishing as a mainline?

I can think of any number of reasons, including the logical ones like a chipped guide or line roller that’s damaging the line without us realising (I am convinced this happens a lot more than we think), dodgy knots, a spinning reel that just doesn’t work very well with a modern 8-strand braid, dodgy casting styles, rough ground damaging a line without us realising, etc., but at the end of the day I do also think that we just don’t get on with the same stuff in the same way. I have always read such good stuff about that light blue Sunline Castaway braid for example, but I just could not get on with it very well, so I must accept that it had to have been my fault. Let’s be honest though - when an item of fishing tackle fails on us, is it ever angler error? Never of course, and because the majority of us are blokes, as our wives and girlfriends can attest to I am sure, when are we ever wrong? Very rarely, and quite possibly never!