I would suggest that lure fishing with a good modern spinning reel and a good modern, smooth as you like 8-strand braid is a rather lovely experience, and especially compared to the early days of braid and spinning reels that were struggling to cope with these newer lines - albeit for the most part I was bait fishing with mono mainlines far more than I was with braid in those days…….
The other day I spooled a spinning reel up with a brand new, high tech mono mainline to see how it compared to braid because it’s so long since I fished with mono and I wanted to see what it was like - and to be honest it felt horrible. Apparently it’s one hell of a monofilament that I bet would be something else on a multiplier reel, but the mono going out through the rod rings didn’t feel great at all. I far, far prefer lure fishing with a good, modern braid, and even more so now we have a few seriously good 8-strand braids that are so much cheaper than braids like that used to cost.
Now I know that bass aren’t exactly dirty fighters like pollack and wrasse are, but the simple and unavoidable fact is that if you fish shallower rocky ground especially, you run the risk of your thin and lovely mainline being run over a sharp rock edge from time to time. Whilst I am always going to suggest that 99.9% of saltwater lure anglers here in the UK and Ireland could do with locating their drag knob on their spinning reel and learning which way it turns to apply more drag rather than less, it doesn’t take a running bass to cause your lovely, thin mainline to end up over a sharp edge of a rock if the hooked fish goes the wrong way as such. And as good as these modern braids are, they don’t like sharp rock edges.
Now to me this begs the obvious question that if we fish in amongst foul ground then must we expect to lose the odd fish like this? Is the odd lost fish due to broken mainlines simply an inevitable part and parcel of this style of fishing? I don’t know about you, but it’s not exactly a common occurrence, albeit I’d like to prevent losses like this if I could. I used to turn to heavier and thicker mono mainlines for bait fishing in amongst the worse ground, but even then you’d lose some fish because the line broke over the rocks, and I sure as hell don’t want to turn to say 0.50mm mono mainlines for my lure fishing.
I don’t know about you, and bearing in mind here that braid specs fluctuate wildly from brand to brand and country to country, but my go-to mainline tends to be say a decent 20lb 8-strand braid. I might vary that depending on where and how I am bass fishing, plus if I am actively testing out a specific braid and so on - and if you put a decent leader knot in these modern braids then I reckon they are incredibly strong, but an average braid for me tends to be around 20lbs or whatever PE number or diameter is claimed on the packaging. But this of course has nothing to do with a hooked fish causing the same (now nice and tight) mainline over a bastard little sharp edge on a rock………
With a fish that fights as stupidly dirty and powerfully as an angry GT then I can understand completely an angler using say 100lb braid to an even stronger leader - put potentially 100lbs plus of fast tropical fish near a load of coral bombies and you’ve got a lot working against you landing said fish. I get completely that a much thicker braid should in theory give you increased protection against getting cut off - and even then I believe a lot of GTs are still lost to cut lines - but for us and our bass fishing and the more modest sizes and power levels they have, is there a point where a thicker mainline is really going to make a meaningful difference in amongst the foul stuff?
How much thicker or tougher does a braid need to be to really help prevent sharp rock/reef based breakoffs? As I blogged about only the other day, my 26lb, strong as you like Sufix 832 broke with ease over a sharp rock with a fish on the end, and whilst I believe it would have been the same outcome with any decent braid around the breaking strains most of use, I wonder does there come a point where the thickness of a mainline does actually make a good bit of abrasion resistance difference when a fish runs you over a sharp rock edge? Or is the odd breakage inevitable and I should just accept it and move on? As you might have guessed though, I enjoy thinking about fishing problems and seeing if I might do things that bit different and perhaps better.
I can’t recall ever catching a bass at any meaningful range where I lost that fish I told you about the other day for example, and it’s not a place that can be fished in strong onshore conditions anyway - so that takes away the need for a really thin mainline to give me more range and “cutting through wind or current” abilities. Does this perhaps call for me loading up a reel with say 0.28mm/roughly 50lb Sufix 832 (or equivalent braid) and using it solely when I am close quarters lure fishing for bass over really rough and shallow ground? And would a mainline like that make much difference anyway? Note that I am asking the question because I don’t know the answer here, but I am open to trying stuff out. I accept as ever that cabin fever could be causing me to overthink things like this, but I would also suggest that we tend to stick with the same setups almost regardless of where we are doing our fishing and that perhaps it is worth thinking about……………
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