Henry Gilbey
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If your mainline is arguably the most important part of your fishing setup, what braid would you want to have on your reel if and when you hook that fish of a lifetime?

For all that some of us spend on fishing rods, reels, lures, waders, sunglasses and so on and so on, to me the most important part of any fishing setup surely has to be that somewhat tenuous connection between you and the fish - your mainline. If you use a leader for your bass fishing - and I always do - then the use of a well tied FG knot between mainline and leader has now taken away any issues you could possibly have about that part of your setup. I just don’t worry about it for a second. I hook a bass like I did at about 2am this morning and it often strikes me as my rod goes over and I feel that glorious thump of a hooked fish that what is often some scarily thin braid mainlines these days is the single thing which I am then asking the most of to help land me my fish…………

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Are there any bad braids out there these days? I could ask the question “what’s your favourite braid?” right now on my Facebook page and I bet you I get a whole heap of different answers. I myself can think of a bunch of different braids I have fished with over the last few years that haven’t let me down and to be honest I’d be pretty happy to fish with any of them. If you have fished with a few different braids for a decent length of time though then I am going to assume that one or two have become firm favourites - why though?

Is it because a particular braid does all that you want and doesn’t cost very much? Does a particular braid seem to cast further and lay on your spinning reel in a way that just feels oh so right? Have you caught some good fish on one specific braid in some gnarly conditions and/or locations and as such your trust levels in that mainline have of course been tested and come through with flying colours? Do you like uber-smooth and ultra-thin braids that can cut straight into your fingers when you are pulling the hell out of an FG knot between mainline and leader? So come on then, if you had to choose the one single braid mainline that you would want on your spinning reel when you go and hook that fish of a lifetime, what would that braid be?

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As for me, well I continue to enjoy trying out different braids, and I can’t help but like the fact that these days we can buy some seriously good 8-strand braids especially for far less than we used to have to pay fish with lines like these. I can’t help but always have a soft spot for the Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE braid, the first smooth as you like and not remotely cheap 8-strand braid I ever fished with, and over a lot of time with this incredible line I never, ever had a single issue. I have been using the newish and still not exactly cheap, bright yellow (it keeps its colour really well) Varivas Avani Sea Bass Super Sensitive Full Cast LS8 braid a fair bit this year - review to come, it’s an outstanding mainline - so I guess I will always have a bit of a thing for some of the Varivas braids.

But if I went and hooked my bass of a lifetime - which to be fair I might already have done, and whilst I am many moons past worrying about the size of the fish I do or do not catch, if I never land a bigger bass than this one here I was lucky enough to hook last year then that’s just fine by me. I will keep trying of course, but fishing to me is always about the overall experience and I just can’t bring myself to obsess about “big” fish all the time. Anyway, the braid I had on my spinning reel when I hooked and landed that particular 79cms long bass was the tried and trusted beyond belief (for me) Sufix 832. Sure you can find slightly thinner, smoother and even “sexier” 8-strand braids, and I still kinda wish the standard spools of Sufix 832 were 150m instead of 120m, but to be fair I can’t recall ever emptying a spool on the cast, and I do like the fact that a 120m spool of this Sufix 832 which I would trust with my life is still under the £20 mark. I am positive that you might choose a different braid yourself, but for me, Sufix 832 just carries on and on and on being 100% trustworthy - and what is more important than this at the end of the day when you are hooked up to a fish?

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But, I’ve got another braid here that is loaded on four different spinning reels and I have fished with it a hell of a lot now in a whole heap of different fishing locations and conditions - from clean beaches to hectic surf conditions, in estuaries, over rocks and reefs and all kinds of rough stuff, in fact the only downside I can find to this newish Sufix 131 (13-strand) braid is the price. I have already reviewed this incredible Sufix 131 here, and because I can’t get enough of it as a mainline I have been fishing with it as much as possible this year, together with that sublime Varivas Avani Sea Bass Super Sensitive Full Cast LS8 braid I mentioned earlier (£39.98 for a 200m spool, so if it continues to last as well as it currently is, it’s a handy length of line to then reverse and get at the brand new stuff which hasn’t seen the light of day yet).

I will report back towards the end of the year after a whole lot more use than I have already given this Sufix 131 braid, but the more I fish with it and suffer not even the merest hint of an issue, the more I am thinking it’s a braid that is easily as tough and robust as the admittedly much cheaper Sufix 832, but with the performance levels of a truly high-end, as smooth as you like and ridiculously good for casting, modern braided mainline. If I am lucky enough to hook the bass of a lifetime this year then there’s a good chance I will have either this Sufix 131 or that Varivas Avani Sea Bass Super Sensitive Full Cast LS8 braid on, indeed I have had bass to 9lbs on the Varivas stuff and managed to lock down tight on the fish and donate it perhaps 30cms of braid because I was feeling generous. I need more time with the somewhat more expensive Sufix 131 for it to supplant my beloved Sufix 832 as THE braid I would trust with my life, but we’re getting close with how much the 131 is worming its way into my affections. You all have a good weekend and I hope you find a few fish on these big tides……………….

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