Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

I know I should be going lighter, but....

.....I can't help but feel that there are still times in bass fishing when it can help to up the ante and fish a little heavier. I don't mean because the fish might be potentially bigger, indeed I subscribe completely to the fact that there is not a bass swimming in our waters that is really going to cause us much trouble on the gear we use - I am talking about taking on the conditions/locations more than the actual size of the fish, and that to me is the cause of lost fish. Not the "size" of them. Check out the state of the sea in the photo above from our last evening over in southern Ireland the other day - much as I am loving fishing light for bass, this is hardly the time or the place to go all "finesse" on them.

It's the mainlines that I am on about here (not rods and reels) - but not just because rougher conditions and heavier ground are factors that we are sometimes presented with. These nice shiny lures we all like using are for the most part hardly what I might term "cheap", and there are times when you are at a far greater risk of snagging them up. Like in rougher conditions and over really heavy, foul ground. And I can't help but feel that I would like the best possible chance of getting my lure back if I snag it up.........

Look on most of my spools and you will see some kind of 20lb 8-strand braid - I still think that the light grey Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE is the best all round 20lb 8-strand that I have used, but then my opinion has obviously been shaped by the fact that this is the braid I have fished with the most over the last few years (liking the Daiwa Tournament 8 braid as well, but I still have this feeling that for the 20lb, the Varivas edges it). I hear and read all manner of stuff on different internet forums about all kinds of fishing gear, but I speak as I find - and I can't fault the Varivas or indeed the Daiwa. If you look after it and use decent knots to your leader (Improved Albright all the way for me) then I firmly believe that 8-strand braids are the best all round mainlines for lure fishing for bass. Lots of guys I know fish a lot lighter than me and land many more bass than I ever will, so take what I say with a degree of "this is just Henry's opinion". As you always should anyway !!

But, this Varivas 8-strand only goes to 20lb. I want to say that the bass I catch are all so huge that a 20lb mainline simply is not strong enough, but we all know it ain't true. Not for anybody in the UK or Ireland for that matter. Learn what some anglers overseas fish for with 20lb mainlines and there would soon be a stop to any of this "my rod/reel/line is not up to the job of landing a big bass" rubbish. It's conditions and/or location more than anything that dictates whether you are going to land the fish...............plus a few other factors that I am not going to rant about now !! (knots ?)

One thing I like a lot about these modern 8-strand braids is that they are so insanely thin and easy casting, and that low-diameter in my mind means that from time to time I can easily step up to a 30lb mainline for fishing hard lures mainly, and essentially sacrifice very little. I really like it when you get a spinning reel and a spare spool comes in the box, indeed I really begrudge when one is not included in the purchase price. Anyway, that spare spool to me is the ability to switch over to 30lb 8-strand braid when I feel like stepping up a gear. Do I really need it ? Not sure, but I do know that I wrenched a snagged Tackle House Feed Shallow out the other day, and I mean properly wrenched. To the point that pointing the rod straight at the lure and pulling resulted in the middle split ring on the bottom of the lure completely bending out. I got my (not cheap) lure back and can fish with it another day, and I can't think of any negatives to using a 30lb braid in that particular situation. When it comes to a more "finesse" approach - granted, 30lb is complete overkill.

The good news is that there seems to be an increasing number of these modern 8-strand braids coming into our markets over here - currently when I step up to a 30lb mainline I am using the awesome Daiwa Tournament 8 braid, and I pulled that lure out no sweat. I was using a short 25lb fluoro leader, tied to the 30lb braid via an Improved Albright. Guess it works just fine. I am hearing lots of good things about this new pink YGK braid, but I have not personally fished with it. Whatever your personal choice, we the anglers are being offered more and better products at all kinds of prices, and that can only be a good thing.