Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Lines and proper fish

There is a good article in this month's Sport Fishing magazine that comes out of the US - it's all about fishing lines. Now while lines aren't exactly that exciting, when this fantastic magazine do something they do it properly, and it makes for some quality reading. I am going to ask the editor if he would mind me putting up some facts, figures and quotes from the article on this blog. One thing though I do notice is that anglers in the US seem not to have really switched on to these modern 8-strand braids that so many of us are now using. I really like Sufix mono lines for example, but from what I have seen their new Sufix 832 Advanced Superline (an 8-strand braid I believe) is not much thinner than a more "regular" 4-strand. Does this matter ? Not really, but then I am guessing it has been designed to have different attributes. But I know a big attraction to these 8-strands that come out of Japan is their insanely low diameter for the breaking strains.

What is your most trusted 8-strand ? I guess we can't get away from using something and learning to trust it and then putting this in our minds as a kind of "figurehead". A product against which we compare all other similar products. Now my trusting implicitly in the Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE is simply because it was the first one I ever used, and I have never found any fault with it. But does that make it the best one out there ? No, not necessarily at all. It's just my own opinion. If I had had any problems with it from the off then it would not be my own personal go-to 8-strand.

OK, so if this Varivas 8-strand is the braid against which I personally compare the others ones I use, then this bright green Daiwa Tournament 8 Braid is really floating my boat at the moment. I have used the 25lb, 20lb and 15lb, but I guess it's the 20lb that has been on my reel the most, and I can't find one single thing I don't like about it. It just seems to be the most awesome line, and I really like the bright green colour. Can the bright green be better than say the Accudepth (multicolour) version ? I can't say yes or no because it would be pure speculation, but I will say that I use the 20lb bright green Daiwa Tournament 8 braid the most. I always use an Improved Albright knot to my leader and then lock that knot via couple of double half-hitches back around the mainline if that makes sense. Some of these 8-strand braids can slip a little without a locking knot. It's not a fault, it's just the way they are. How many times have you wondered if anglers having problems with 8-strand braids is often because they have not adapted their knots to cope with a new line ?

Another of these 8-strand braids I have used a lot now is the light blue coloured Sunline Castaway PE in the 20lb breaking strain again. This seems to be one hell of a line. My understanding is that it's a true 8-strand braid that has been engineered to have as much abrasion resistance as possible, and it does seem to be that way. Can't fault it again. Seems to be as tough as hell for an 8-strand. One observation I have is that it seems to "drag" in the water a little more than the Varivas and Daiwa 8-strands I have been using. This is not a criticism because I don't think it remotely matters, but when I have tried fishing soft plastics on the bottom with this Castaway braid it just seems to "drag" a little more through the water. But perhaps that is me needing to drop the 15lb breaking strain if it exists. My main wish with these lines though is that they were cheaper to buy so that more lure anglers could get to use them for their fishing.

Big wrasse do quite happily munch soft plastics. I had a conversation with somebody fairly recently who was suggesting that perhaps plastics for wrasse was great for the smaller fish, but maybe not so good for the larger ones. Perhaps this person needs to see what somebody like Mike Sullivan is doing around the south west. Earlier on this year he caught a wrasse of over 6lbs on a soft plastic, and just recently he went even better and landed a monster wrasse over 7lbs - yes, on a plastic in case you were wondering. Check out Mike's blog post here. Oh, and he had landed a big 6lb plus fish not long before the 7lb behemoth !! Some fishing. There can surely be no doubt that what Keith and Kevin White really kick-started over in Jersey is a very effective way to fish for and catch wrasse of all sizes. I can't remember the last time I heard of a 7lb wrasse being caught around here, and definitely never on a soft plastic. These magnificent fish were released unharmed. I see that Mike has fallen for those new Century HPR lure rods as well, indeed he took these fish the other day on the stunning 7'3'' model that really did it for me when I went over to Jersey earlier in the year to test, play around with and photograph the new rods. Outstanding fishing Mike.

Another perfectly outstanding fish above. Any of you know much about fly fishing for grayling ? I was on the River Frome the other day on a photo job with Nick Hart, on a stretch of this wild (proper) chalkstream that a thoroughly nice guy called John Aplin runs (see here). I have had a thing for grayling for a long time now, and I know that Nick does in a big way. There have been grayling over 4lbs caught and weighed from this stretch of the Frome earlier this year, and in anybody's book that is a world class fish. They have some seriously big wild browns there as well. All wild, no stocked fish at all. Seems that there is a unique strain of Frome grayling that just grow really big. Almost last cast of the day and Nick Hart hooks and then lands this monster you can see above. We had nothing to weigh the fish on, but from a measurement I believe the fish came in at around 3lb 12oz, but from the off I thought this fish was around the 4lb mark for sure. This photograph does not show how broad the fish was. What a grayling. Never seen one remotely close to this. This is some wonderfully true chalkstream fishing that doesn't cost nearly as much as say a day on the Test or the Itchen. If fly fishing is your thing then you really should get hold of John here and get yourself down to Dorset.