Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Could you damage a spinning reel when you pull for a break with a really strong mainline?

Before Xmas I was bumping a 120mm/12g Fiiish Black Minnow directly through some pretty rough and fairly shallow ground, and as you would expect to do, a couple of times during the session I snagged up good and proper and had to pull for what I expected would be a break. Now my go to mainline these days tends to be the outstanding Sufix Performance Pro 8 braid (and yes, if it helps, in my mind the market-changing Daiwa J-Braid is just as outstanding, but I have a bit of a thing for Sufix lines and I make no apologies about this), usually in the 0.12mm/18lb size, and with the size of the bass we might catch it’s obviously plenty strong enough………..


But when was it simply about the pure size of the fish and nothing else? As much as I love fishing with a braid mainline, you and I both know that these lovely limp and smooth and uber thin 8-strands aren’t exactly the last word in abrasion resistance. I reckon they do pretty damn well to be fair, but we’re talking about some very thin and fine lines potentially rubbing up against some grown up, horrible ground - and it’s got me thinking recently. A while ago I blogged about the slightly thicker but seemingly that bit tougher Sufix 832 8-strand braid (check here), and my thinking about all this (over thinking?) has resulted in me loading up a reel with the stronger and of course slightly thicker 0.18mm/26lb Sufix 832 - for certain situations I might add.

I have fished with this particular line in this breaking strain/diameter enough now to feel entirely comfortable that when out and out distance and/or cutting so effectively through the wind isn’t as important as a bit of extra toughness around some particularly rough ground, in fact a mainline this comparatively “thick” is great to fish with. Hell, when I first got into lure fishing for bass I am pretty sure I was using 30lb PowerPro as a mainline, and whilst fishing weightless soft plastics wasn’t remotely on my radar back then, it wasn’t until I started fishing with that amazing but not cheap Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE 8-strand braid that I realised what else was out there mainlines wise. I can still remember my first ever spool of that Varivas braid sitting on a shelf for at least six months because I was so worried about bass fishing with a mainline that thin! Anyway, I digress………….

Interesting how a very good north Cornwall angler I know favours 30lb PowerPro to help deal with the ground and conditions he tends to fish

Interesting how a very good north Cornwall angler I know favours 30lb PowerPro to help deal with the ground and conditions he tends to fish

A lot of us most likely don’t snag lures up that much these days for various reasons, but as with wrasse fishing, I’d expect to lose the odd lure when I am working something directly along the bottom when the ground is rough as rats especially - and as strong as that 0.12mm/18lb Sufix Performance Pro 8 is when tied to a leader via the FG knot, it isn’t that hard to break out if needs be. I tend to wind my drag up to the max (ok, not far off my usual drag setting anyway!), clamp my hand over the spool, point the rod directly at the snag so I am not putting any pressure on it, and then gently walk backwards until something gives.

But it’s a different story trying to break out with that 0.18mm/26lb Sufix 832 - holy cow it’s like rope it’s so damn strong! Now I have no idea whether this line truly is 0.18mm thick via a micrometer or 26lb strong on a straight pull on a proper line testing machine, but it’s pretty alarming how bloody hard it is to break this braid when you are snagged up good and proper - to the point that I have started to wonder if I could actually do some damage to what are some relatively small and delicate spinning reels by pulling for a break like I usually would. I’m fishing this 0.18mm/26lb Sufix 832 to a 20lb Sufix Invisiline fluorocarbon leader, tied via the FG knot, and when I did break out a couple of times that particular session, the leader broke on the knot to my lure clip - which means I don’t have to tie on a new leader. Is there any point in using any other leader knot?

So it felt like there was that much strain on my spinning reel (the expensive but utterly sublime so far Shimano Twin Power XD C3000HG, review here), I actually stopped pulling for a break like I usually would and instead I wrapped a load of braid around my fish-grip until there was no slipping, made sure there was some slack between that and my reel, and then pulled for a break using the fish-grip as the fulcrum if you like. It worked just fine and I simply tied a new lure clip on and got back to my fishing.

So my question here is as per the title of the blog post - can you actually damage a spinning reel by pulling for a break via the “tighten the drag, clamp the hand, and pull directly for a break” method? Or am I worrying about nothing with what seems like a hell of a lot of strain going through various parts of the reel? I like the idea of tailoring my choice of mainline to where I am actually fishing to try and better cope with the abrasion problems - accepting of course that tight lines against sharp rocks etc. ain’t exactly great bedfellows - but that 0.18mm/26lb Sufix 832 is like frigging rope it’s so strong, and because I do tend to err towards the 3000 size Shimanos or the equivalent size Daiwas on the more often than not 9’ long lure rods I tend to favour, that little lure demon in my head tells me to be a bit more careful with how I break out on the stronger/thicker mainlines especially. Do I need to worry about this? Your thoughts would be most welcome in the comments section below. Thank you, have a good weekend, and may the weather abate!

Disclosure - if you buy anything using links found in this blog post or around my website, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you any more to buy via these affiliate links - and please feel entirely free not to do so of course - but it will help me to continue producing content. Thank you.