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View From The Beach Renowned surf angler, Rich Troxler, shares his thoughts, tactics, tips and tricks for surf casting success!


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  #1  
Old 07-16-2011, 10:36 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

by Rich Troxler

Fishing with braid is a total paradigm shift from fishing with mono. From the process of spooling it on your reel, right through to landing fish, it is a totally different animal than mono. It has some huge advantages over mono, and some very real disadvantages as well, all to be revealed, as I won’t be hitting the tides tonight.


Let’s start with spooling it on your reel. There are two main reasons for using mono backing beneath your braid, and both are equally important.

The first is that braid has been known to slip on the spool without it. Nothing could be more frustrating then hooking a fish and not being able to reel it in because the line is slipping on the spool.

The second reason is that on larger reels, you may not fill the reel spool entirely because of the, already well-documented, thin diameter of braided line.

As for the lb test to use as backing, it all comes down to your comfort level. What this means is that if a fish runs you into your backing, you better trust its integrity. Read the sentence again. If a "fish" runs you into your "backing", then by default, it's a really big fish, most probably the fish of your life. That means your backing better have the balls to deal with it and your knot better be good. There are no “do overs” in surf fishing.

That being said, my preference for backing is 20lb Berkley tough line. If you want to use Ande, that's a great choice also. Someone once asked why I would use 20 lb mono under 50 lb braid, instead of 50 lb mono. On the surface it seems a logical question. The answer is that 50 lb mono is too thick to tie decent joining knots, and has way to much memory for it to lay on the spool easily and smoothly. I use 20 lb Berkley because it fills half the spool quickly, lay’s down nicely on the spool, and is fairly rot resistant, so if I need it in the course of battle, I know what I got and I trust it.

As for knots to join the mono to braid, I use the Uni to Uni and it hasn't failed me yet. Some like the Alberto knot and there are several other knots also, but you should use whatever you are comfortable tying and has your trust when the chips are down.

As for which braided line to use, again this comes down to personal choice. Many a heated debate has raged on the boards about which line is better and which line sucks. I think they are all pretty much the same, but admittedly, have only used a few. My line of choice is 50 Power Pro and I have never had any problems with it that wasn’t related to operator error (my bad).

Regardless of the braid you decide on, there are a couple things that will help minimize problems down the road. One thing I have discovered is that, despite claims to the contrary, many braided lines have some degree of memory (like mono), so spool it the same way as mono. What I mean by this is lay the spool in a manner that allows the line to come off the spool in the same direction as it goes on the reel. This is not how the B&T’s do it, which might explain the problem with wind knots that many users report. Also, when you spool it on the reel, try to keep as much load on it as possible, but don't go crazy, as it's not rocket science. I use the pressure of my fingers and have never seen any need to do much else.

Wind knots. Let’s take a few seconds to save many minutes of knot clearing. As previously mentioned, spool the line as described in the previous paragraph and don’t spool to capacity. Leave a little distance from the reel lip, most suggest about 1/8th of an inch. Over filling a spool is an open invitation for a wind knot to ruin your evening. The thin diameter braids cast well enough that they do not require filling the spool to the very top.

So, after you spool the line and if opportunity affords, go to a local sports field and take some casts. Start by making a short cast into the wind, and make progressively longer casts. If you don’t have any problems, then take note of how you filled the spool and replicate the process each time you refill that reel. Note I said “that reel”, as all reels are not the same. When you get to where you are fishing, start again with short casts and wet the line up gradually until you can lay into the long casts without problems.

A lot has been written about bail less vs. bailed spinning reels. Various techniques for casting and retrieving have been suggested, many with merit, regarding the use of braid and how to minimize problems. Most problems encountered with braid have to do with bad casting technique. Many do not understand the concept of loading the rod properly, or using compatible rods and reels for the type of fishing (plugs, bait, etc) they are doing, or the conditions under which they are doing it. Again, most problems with braid come under the heading of operator error.

Personally, I only use bailed reels and only those that can be flipped manually, but regardless of the type of reel you use, one suggestion I can offer is this. When the cast concludes and it comes time to take in the slack and retrieve the cast, make sure that the line is tight (no loop) before you start your retrieve. For me it’s just automatic. I make my cast, flip the bail, and then pull on the line to make sure there is no loop before beginning my retrieve. Wind knots happen at either the beginning of the cast (bad technique, unbalanced setup) or at the end of the cast (if you exceed the length of the previous cast with a loop stored on your line).

So now you have your line on properly, what else do you need to know? Besides it’s thin diameter, braided lines have zero stretch, while mono has plenty. This dynamic has ramifications throughout the entire process of catching/landing a fish.

Advantage braid. To me the greatest advantage I feel that braid offers is the great hook sets you get at the end of a long cast, with very little effort. For us old school mono guys, we’re used to swinging at the stars for a good hook set.

Disadvantage braid. Swing too hard on a hit and you can yank the eel/plug/bait out of its mouth. It takes a while to get used to.

Advantage braid. Smaller diameter let’s you cast to rip lines you could never reach with mono.

Disadvantage braid. Needs to be spooled properly and used on a balance setup (rod/reel) for the type of fishing your doing.

Advantage braid. Not prone to rot. This in and of itself is worth the cost. For all my spinning gear, I used to love Berkley XL for its limpness and castability. I would typically use 20 lb (25lb when I could find it) and tie direct (no leader) but the line would rot so fast that I could never trust it for more than 2 weeks of fishing. Braid, I change twice a season (spring and fall) and there are many that consider that as overkill.

Disadvantage braid. Best used with a leader for several reasons. Some claim fish don’t see it, but I err on the side safety and use 4-5’ 50lb fluoro leaders w/ 230 spro swivels. Yeah, I prefer overkill. 5’ may sound long, but there is a method to the madness. Using a 5’ leader means you won’t do something stupid like grabbing braid with wet hands during the end game, thereby cutting your finger(s) to the bone in the process. Also, braid is not abrasion resistant and fluoro is, so having that leader is a necessity when structure is around.

Advantage braid. The thin diameter (for higher test lines) cuts thru the water with less drag. The higher test lines let you put the screws to the fish if you have the gear to do it. Getting your fish in quickly goes a long way in ensuring a healthy release. If you are leaning hard on a fish, make sure your finger isn’t on the line if the drag lets go.

Disadvantage braid. Not sure I like fishing bucks in deep fast water with it yet. I am used to being able to “float” a buck off the bottom (over structure) with thicker (typically 50lb Ande) mono line and conventional gear. It’s a feel thing that those who have never done it may tend to ignore because they have never experienced the ability to do so. Also, not being very abrasion resistant, I’m uncomfortable with fishing it from certain inlet jettys.

Advantage braid. While we’re talking conventional gear, it casts great with conventional gear, just like the Dacron braid I grew up on.

Disadvantage braid. Throw a bird with it and that reel is done for the night.

Advantage braid. Already mentioned no stretch for great hook sets.

Disadvantage braid. That same no stretch factor can cause several problems. If your drag is not set properly, you can snap a $400.00 Ron Arra Lami blank without even trying with a good fish on. If you drop your tip (read lack of attention) for a second, the resultant slack in the line will frequently result in a lost fish. And the end game in the surf, you really need to be focused there. Get out of sync with the action of the waves and bye-bye fish. The stretch of mono is a built-in safety factor for bad technique, or momentary lapses in judgment, when landing big fish in the wash. I still use 50 lb Ande for all my conventional chunking and bridge fishing set-ups, but that is a topic for another thread.

There are other factors, pros and cons, but hopefully this will give you enough info for you to get off on the right foot with braid. I was one of the last converts, but I use it now for all my spinning gear as I feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Always make sure your rod guides are in perfect shape (no nicks), learn to tie perfect knots (palomar is a good one), and practice good casting techniques on properly balanced equipment and everything should be fine.
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2011, 02:22 AM
Captain Ahab Captain Ahab is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Good stuff - thanks
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:47 AM
Mass.Hysteria Mass.Hysteria is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Is there any special knot or technique that should be used to tie the mono backing to the spool?
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:38 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Captain Ahad - You are welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read it.

Mass.Hysteria - no special knot required. I use an improved cinch with 3 twists instead of 5, and snug it down onto the spool. I've never had a problem with this.

If anybody else has a different method, please feel free to offer it up.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:45 PM
Captain Ahab Captain Ahab is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

I use a simple arbor knot to tie my line to the spool. Sometimes a strip of electrical tape is i am not using a mono backer and filling a spool with all braid
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:09 PM
Slug1959 Slug1959 is offline
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Default I still don't like using braid...

...with lures. I know I have to give it a better chance. Do love it for very deep drops in the ocean. Tried it on one of my freshwater set ups and tossed it. I like a quality 25lb. co-polymer such as Silver Thread. Once I get my squidder set up with a rod it will have to be 50lb. Ande all the way. When using large 4+ ounce plugs would you drop down to 40lb.?

Glad to see you "branching" out, I have always found people such as yourself give folks the impetus to take things to another level. The older I get the more I try to associate with people who are inspiring. Too many "downers" all over the place and before you know it they bring you down to their level.

Paradigm? I think Technu might help.

All those emotocons are giving me flash backs. Thanks for the light show.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:19 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Quote:
Sometimes a strip of electrical tape if i am not using a mono backer and filling a spool with all braid
Thanks for that one Capt Ahab.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:34 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Hi Slug. Good to see you here and thanks for the kind words.

I have never used Silver thread, but used to use Yozuri Hybrid. Not sure if it's the same concept or not. The Yozuri casted well on my conventionals, but didn't seem to be quite as abrasion resistant as Ande. Some of the structure I fish is very nasty, so I stick to what I know has worked in the past.

You should try the braid on one of your spinners though. Like I said in my post, my hook up ratio at the end of a long cast went way up once I made the adjustment to it. That alone was worth it for me. Plus, you really feel the fish sock the plug. Wakes you right up LOL.

And yeah, this is quite a collection of emoticons. I think I'll drink someand go out and dodge some lightning bolts.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:56 AM
[email protected] jxa1@CCangler is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

thanks richtox, good info. also when jigging the canal with braid compared to mono theres a huge difference in the feedback you get from bouncing a job off the bottom. you can feel everything going on down there with braid.

Im currently tinkering with which kind of braid to be using now. The only stuff i really use is the berkley power pro 40# and 30# which i like. Ive tried for a breif stint the fireline but its tactiness led to a lot of wind knots early on, and the amount of top water plugs i throw probably instigated this more than anything. I also have on my spare/canal spinning setup the suffix 832 braid. which so far has been really fun to fish. I was pretty much throwing nothing but canal sp 3oz pencils with it all spring. not one wind knot, or breakoff or anything bad to say about the line. Its round diameter compared to the flat diameter of other braids lets it come off the spool noticably smoother too. except platinum encrusted line is probably cheaper........

Anyone else have experience with that stuff?
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:59 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Hi jxa1. I haven't used suffix yet, but I know many who swear by it. I might spool some on come fall and give it a test drive. Thanks for contributing.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:16 PM
scavengerj scavengerj is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Thanks for consolidating all of the info and sharing your experience. You've hit the nails on the head in your post.
I spent a good bit of time reading the forums to find out what to, and not to do when using braid, and this helped to keep the problem count to zero. Of course all of the info was scattered throughout the forums.

fishingirlpa and myself were new to braid four years ago when we first gave it a try on our spinners and haven't had any problems whatsoever. We've been using Suffix and just switched over to the new 832 this Spring.

Hopefully, with your post, others who are considering switching over will read it and pay attention to what you are saying as you packed it all in a nice read.

Just wanted to add that not all "super" lines are the same...some are of a fused nature, such as Fireline and not a real braid.


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Old 07-19-2011, 02:39 PM
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JakeF JakeF is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Great write up Rich

Just 1 thing to add from a safety perspective. Braid can slice you to the bone pretty quick during a cast on spinning gear if your drag happens to slip. Always make sure that your drag is set properly before launching that 3oz pencil to the horizon. Even with the drag set correctly, if you've been fishing all night and your fingers are getting pickled, some protection on your casting finger can be invaluable. Some guys use waterproof tape, others wear a glove, but whatever you choose take care when casting heavier lures or baits.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:41 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Very good point, thank you Jake.

I use 50 lb PP, and although my casting finger has a perma-calous on it, I would imagine if I went with lighter tests I would probably need further protection. The mistake I've made, more than once, is reaching with my left hand for the leader, and wrapping around the braid instead. The couple times I've done this involved larger fish and landing in an uncomfortable position on a jetty. The line slipped just a little bit, but cut me deep on both sides of my hand.

Thanks for your contribution scavengerj, and another vote for Suffix. Definitely going to give the 832 a shot.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:53 PM
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Mark P Mark P is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

Great Write up Rich!

I like fire line which isn't a true braid I also Have Samurai 40# on one reel PP50# Red(only red ever, lol) on amother reel so i guess I am a smφrgεsbord braid user. I may wind up by switching everything over to samurai. The Stuff is ultra limp and feels nice coming off the reel.

I will agree with Jake as well a wet index finger and braid can lead to an extremely painful outing. Check your drags! To be honest I have found if My drag is set properly to my leader I rarely have the issue of slippage on the cast that creates the Braid cut.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:21 PM
Hunt n' Fish Hunt n' Fish is offline
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Default Re: Fishing with braid, a primer for the uninitiated,….

I used to be able to get these leather finger guards at the local shops by me and out in Montauk.



They would take a little getting used to, but were great once you did. If your local shops don't carry them, The Surfcaster does.
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