It’s been a minute since the introduction of woven lines in the early 1900’s to replace horsehair with Dacron and has gone through an evolutionary process to where we are now. Braid or super lines as they are called continue to get smaller and stronger with a variety of diameters, materials, weaves, and strengths available on the market.
The opportunity created for reel manufacturers like Accurate, to develop a smaller conventional reel featuring a patented TwinDrag® design, put more focus on the “Small Reels for Big Fish" movement we see today. Conventional reels have always been deemed strong if they are larger and braid has changed the way anglers look at tackle. With smaller reels available putting out 30+ lbs of drag, and rod manufacturers making smaller, stronger rods to combo with these reels, a whole new way of fishing has developed. The old way of fighting your tackle and the fish at the same time is a thing of the past.
Braided lines have been adopted by most anglers for many applications throughout the globe. Anglers trolling with big game reels use top shots backed with braid giving them more capacity for larger gamefish, or the popularity of Jigging which is dependent on braid continues to explode. Many anglers casting artificial lures, poppers at feeding fish have developed ways to rig for spinning reels and conventional reels by using shorter leaders that they can cast without having a knot go through the guides. Knots have also played an important part. Distance is key as to not spook the fish; this is being done all over the world. They can fish heavier line, putting more heat on the fish with good success.
As we see emerging anglers entering the sport there are always questions on the use of braid, and we wanted to address a few of the common ways to successfully use braid with good results.
Starting with winding line on a reel it is common practice for anglers to put tape on the spool for a solid connection and to avoid the line from slipping on the spool arbor. Finger tape is used but electrical tape or masking tape works wonders too. The key is to tie a good knot that is tight on the spool. We have used a double wrapped (twice around arbor) unit knot or an arbor knot which all are available to you via google or visit the ACCURATE YOUTUBE channel where they are also listed.
Key with any knot is when tightening the knot use your finger to push down on knot towards the arbor until it stops on spool. This is key, if knot is not tight it will spin on spool arbor and you will be unable to gain line on spool. When winding line on spool it is important to put braid on spool tight, but not so tight as if to strain the reel. Line that is put on too tight on the spool will often be used first time under normal circumstances and you will have excess line above the edge of the spool making it more difficult to use (backlashes-uneven spools) often leading to people cutting off excess line. If you are putting it on yourself, you can get a helper to put a pencil through spool and put the spool on a towel resting on your leg. Put enough pressure so it is tight but not so difficult you can’t wind it freely on. Make sure you are winding line on evenly as to not have too much on one side as spool will not operate with line above the edge effectively.
Each reel will give you the line specs and you will need to understand what you are using it for. Smaller diameter braids on bigger reels often are a little tougher to use as wind knots are prevalent and a real tough to get out on the boat.
Figure out what is best for you. There are 300 and 500-yard spools available as well as bulk spools of line. If you get a 300 yard and the reel says it will hold 350 yards take mono or old line and put a backing on the spool before winding the braid on. You very rarely get to the halfway mark on a spool so it will never be seen. Your braid should be an 1/8” from the top of a spool and if putting a top shot or leader that must be considered into the rigging.
Top shots are commonly used for trolling are usually around 50 to 100 feet depending on user. But there are a lot of anglers using trace leaders of fluorocarbon line that are 2 to 4 feet long tied to the braid with a hook or jig on the end. Mono is often good when trolling just for the stretch as braid is solid with no stretch.
Regarding connection knots with solid braid there are a few proven ones we use but it’s a good idea to search Youtube and study the knot videos up there for braid to leader. We use the FG knot, Pena Knot, and started with the double uniknot which is solid but large profile. The thing to do is learn a low-profile knot like the FG or Pena but like I said there are a lot to learn online. Most important thing is to practice the knots, so you tie them correctly. Other important thing with knots is to make sure you cinch them. With braid it’s a good idea to use knot pullers as they save your hands and cinched the knots with power. Without knot pullers there are cut hands and knots that are not cinched which leads to lost fish.
There are specific rods being made now that are more of a medium action with a semi fast tip that creates a built-in safety for braid which does not stretch, lessening the chance of breakoff at higher drag settings. Perfect example is some of the jigging rods on the market have a very parabolic action with limited lifting power, with the right amount of stiffness being built in, this creates a more forgiving tip section resulting in less broken rods. Don’t be afraid of rods with action as they take the pressure off you and put it on the fish. Like anything you need to find what is right for your type of fishing. There definitely is an equal medium.
Give braid a try it will surprise you but either use top shots or leaders as braid have no stretch, and with too stiff a rod, problems can arise.
Have fun and remember every day on the water is the opportunity to learn something new. Keep your eyes and ears open, the rest is a learning adventure.