Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is it worth spending any more than £20 these days on a spool of braid for UK and Irish lure fishing?

I have been fishing a bit lately with the rather lovely and not remotely cheap Daiwa Morethan 12 Braid, and whilst it seems to be a fantastic braid to lure fish with (so far), I am at a bit of a loss to understand what more it might be giving me over the two 8-strand braids that for me have completely changed my opinion on what I reckon it now costs to buy a spool of seriously “proper” braid - and these days that figure is under £20, thanks to Daiwa’s own J-Braid and the Sufix Performance Pro 8 braid. My review of these two outstanding braids is here if that helps.

OK, so this around £50 per 135m spool (yes, it’s not cheap!) of Daiwa Morethan 12 Braid feels very thin, and if the figures here are to be believed then it’s a little thinner again than the equivalent 8-strands - but I can’t verify these figures of course, and at the end of the day when you’ve got a couple of sub-£20 8-strands which are incredibly thin already, it begs the question how thin do you really need to go for a mainline? I am sure there are further benefits to be gained from a 12-strand braid that I don’t know about or am quite simply missing because I am just not good enough to recognise them, but at the same time I can’t fault the cheaper ones one single bit.

For all that this Daiwa Morethan 12 Braid is fishing absolutely perfectly for me and it sure does feel like a seriously high-end braid (slightly different feel to an 8-strand, kinda feels solid as opposed to “woven” if that makes any sense), Daiwa themselves have in my opinion gone and seriously shaken the braid market up - but why? Because their own sub-£20 J-Braid is so damn good that I just can’t find a single reason now for spending any more money on a braid for my own lure fishing. Same with the equally outstanding Sufix Performance Pro 8 braid, indeed both are as good as each other in my mind.

Is it me here missing the point of this expensive Daiwa Morethan 12 Braid though? It’s a beautiful braid to lure fish with - it flies out, no hints of any wind knots so far (always the fault of a reel or a braid of course, and never the angler!), it knots well, it does seem to really cut through the wind, and if money was never an object I’d happily buy plenty of it and fill a few different spinning reels up with it - but for most of us, money is a big consideration when we buy our gear, and because their own J-Braid is so damn good I am struggling to find a reason these days to use braid that costs any more. Which of course is a good thing for the angler.

Some anglers are going to want to buy the most expensive gear regardless, and that’s up to the individual. I have tried to find something that niggles me about both these two sub-£20 8-strands but I can’t. Both are in my opinion flawless braids and I just love how they are such good value for money. Have Daiwa made a mistake by launching their J-Braid when they themselves have far more expensive braids to sell? I would guess they know exactly what they are doing, but I do wonder sometimes when their own J-Braid is so damn good.

What about something more rough and tumble like wrasse fishing though? Sure, you could turn to the tried and tested PowerPro because it’s a 4-strand and it handles rocky stuff pretty well, but as for myself? I now simply turn to the stronger and just as cheap 0.18mm/26.5lbs Daiwa J-Braid or the 0.18/28lbs Sufix Performance Pro 8 braid - nope, I don’t need a mainline that strong for a fish that ain’t going to reach 10lbs, but a bit of extra thickness in my mind gives me that bit more abrasion resistance. In reality 0.18mm is still a hell of a thin mainline and if you felt the need to you could quite easily go bass fishing with a braid like this, indeed I have been trying them out on a heavier lure rod/larger spinning reel combination and they seem to fly out just fine in really heavy conditions. Hell, you could go thicker again with both these sub-£20 braids for wrasse and even pollack fishing, and still I reckon you’re not losing anything at all when at the end of the day all you are really doing is bumping small leads around on the bottom and then skull-dragging fish out of their rocky lairs - which is some might fine fun in my book, as per the short video below of one of our clients hooked into a rather nice shore pollack over in Kerry last year. I do love the bit of guiding work I do with John over in Ireland, but when you see pollack like this around you don’t half want to grab a rod yourself!