Braided Line: Don't Give an Inch
It's pretty safe to say that most of us grew up casting spools of monofilament fishing line to pass the summer days. Whether it was small hooks with worm guts for panfish, or if we thought we were hauling in lunker bass pre-rigged rubber worms, it was trusty mono we used to connect to the fish. For many, that habit continues on today. According to Southwick Associates, for 2016, monofilament sales made up just under 40% of all fishing line sales. Many times, there are better options, and the allegiance to mono is nothing more than habit. While many anglers thing braided line is for heavy applications only, newer offerings suit almost any setting.
As I started spending more time on the water, and getting more serious about fishing, I discovered things I needed to improve. First I got better at matching rods and lures to make them more effective. I changed my hookset style to match the lure I was fishing. Every year I focused on a type of bait to learn that year to make myself more versatile. But I was still using mono fishing line.
As I improved these other aspect of my fishing arsenal one huge factor started frustrating me more and more. Line stretch. I was missing fish because I couldn't get enough leverage on the line, especially on long casts.
The change happened slowly. I experimented with some braid on my jig rod. As time went on I found myself fishing with jigs more than ever. Not because of the bait itself, but because the braided line was giving me more confidence. I wasn't losing fish like I used to. I could feel more during the retrieve. One by one, my reels had the mono stripped off, and braid spooled in its place.
I had to make some changes too. In super clear water I started using a mono or fluoro leader to reduce line visibility. When fishing more finesse presentations I had to be sure not to horse my hookset, which could straighten out the hook. I started using rods with a little more flex to them. For me, I found I could control the flex and power for the hookset more consistently by using no-stretch braided line paired with a more flexible rod, than with a stiff rod and a mono line.
Shimano Caenan spooled with 15lb Power Pro braid for crankbait fishing.
In addition to the lack of line stretch, the braided fishing line is much more durable. Fishing around cover and in blowdowns, the braided line just holds up better. It's also more sensitive than mono. Because there is no stretch or give in the line, when paired with a quality rod, you'll find that you can feel more with braid than mono.
It took years, but eventually all of my rods are now spooled with Power Pro braided line as the main line. I prefer 15lb line for my cranking and finesse rods upsizing to 30lb for jigging applications. I still use a mono leader for some topwater applications, or if I want a crankbait to run just a little shallower than it will on straight braid. For clear water or finesse presentations I like a Vicious fluorocarbon leader to reduce visibility to almost zero. The mainline though, that's always braid.
Even the cane poles I use for panfishing have a mainline of braid before the light mono leader.
I have more control, more durability, and lose fewer fish.
What's not to like?