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Daniel Lin

Braid Fishermen, Do You Ever Go Back To Mono?

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I made the switch to braid main lines on everything the day I bought my first baitcaster earlier this year a few months after seriously getting into bass fishing. In my after-work fishing jaunts this past week, in which I've pretty much been throwing exclusively lipless crankbaits (with a few senkos on cleanup duty) I've lost a full 30% of my fish due to the lure being shaken free on a jump or whatnot. I figured this might have been because they weren't quite hooked that well, which, according to the textbooks, would be understandable, considering I'd been throwing them on some fairly stiff MH fast-action rods and 50lb braid. 

 

On a whim, I strung up a spare reel I bought for a song with some 15lb Trilene Big Game and put it on the rod of my Black Max combo (I rarely use this rod anymore), a 6'6" "Medium Fast" (it's the slowest "fast" I've ever seen) in an attempt to make a "textbook" cranking setup out of whatever I had laying around. I figured that if anything, if I was getting a mix of decent and downright terrible hooksets with my preferred setups, I should practically be gut hooking every fish I land on this setup.

 

Boy, was I in for a shock. I have to admit, I've never fished a baitcaster on mono before. I made the jump to braid with my first baitcaster and never looked back. I felt like I had absolutely no feel of the lure, which was especially concerning because I was already throwing lipless crankbaits that d**n near rattled my arm off on braid. The only way I could tell that I had picked up some grass was that the lure seemed to be dragging just the tiniest bit more than before. Any ability I had to confidently rip out of grass was gone (although I'm sure some of that was attributable to the rod). I landed a couple of fish today but honestly it felt like I was trying to bring them in with surgical tubing. It was both more fun due to losing some of the ability to really direct the fish, giving me the perception that the fish was actually getting a chance to fight back some, but also massively frustrating since all of my inputs felt extremely dampened, from hookset to landing.

 

I'm also pretty sure that there's a fairly significant tradeoff between hookset delay and hookset power. I think that one can train themselves to hesitate before setting the hook, or learn to sweep-set (since I've been using braid from the beginning, I pretty much only sweep-set, if sometimes still pretty fast and hard), but there's just no way to compensate for loss of power, especially when setting the hook way out at the end of a cast.

 

Call me spoiled, but after today's experiments with fishing with mono, I don't think I'm ever going to leave braid as mainline. Good thing I got this spool of Big Game for only a dollar. I'm going to give this floppy Black Max combo rod another try tomorrow and see if using braid on a floppy rod gives me the best of both worlds solution I'm looking for.

 

 

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I prefer mono on my casting reels. I'm sure some will disagree but it seems to cast better for me. I also only use baitcasters for spinnerbaits and top waters with mh power Rods so I don't mind the stretch.

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I only use mono on my topwater rod. I use fluorocarbon on my crankbait rod. Braid + leader for everything else.

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I never had real issues with mono or co- poly, it's what I've always used.. I do flip a bit with 50 braid, but not often, I guess it's what one likes & or has confidence in.

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Since I started fishing well before the current "braided Line" was invented and sold commercially, I grew up using mono - the original Stren was about all I used. 

It worked fine, mostly because we didn't have anything else so there was nothing to compare it to.

 

 Fast forward several years. When Braid first came on the market I wasn't bass fishing.  I was smack dab in the middle of a striped bass / surf fishing addiction.  Very long casts are common place and quite necessary.  For that application, the new braid was a Game Changer.  Forward a few more years, I'm back to bass fishing now.  And I took the lessons I learned using braid in the salt water, down sized them and applied them to the sweet water.  Worked well.

 

 But recently, say in the past two season or so, I have been using mono again quite a bit.  And I have to admit that I like it for a few bass fishing application; most involve short to medium target casting with treble hook baits & when heaving large swimbaits.

 

 Big Game is a decent mono but I've gained a ton of confidence in Maxima Ultragreen both as a leader for braid and as a main line.

 

A-Jay

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Since I started fishing well before the current "braided Line" was invented and sold commercially, I grew up using mono - the original Stren was about all I used. 

It worked fine, mostly because we didn't have anything else so there was nothing to compare it to.

 

 Fast forward several years. When Braid first came on the market I wasn't bass fishing.  I was smack dab in the middle of a striped bass / surf fishing addiction.  Very long casts are common place and quite necessary.  For that application, the new braid was a Game Changer.  Forward a few more years, I back to bass fishing now.  And I took the lessons I learned using braid in the salt water, down sized them and applied them to the sweet water.  Worked well.

 

 But recently, say in the past two season or so, I have been using mono again quite a bit.  And I have to admit that I like it for a few bass fishing application; most involve short to medium target casting with treble hook baits & when heaving large swimbaits.

 

 Big Game is a decent mono but I've gained a ton of confidence in Maxima Ultragreen both as a leader for braid and as a main line.

 

A-Jay

So what you're saying is, monster casts halfway across the pond in attempt to cover as much water as possible before the sun goes down with a lipless crankbait might not be the best use for mono?

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After I started using braid, going back to fishing mono felt like I was using a long rubber band.

 

I'm hooked on braid!

 

Tight lines,

Bob

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So what you're saying is, monster casts halfway across the pond in attempt to cover as much water as possible before the sun goes down with a lipless crankbait might not be the best use for mono?

 

 

Probably not ~ But I'll offer you this - all 10 the largest bass (lmb) I've landed have been caught on mono.

 

So perhaps it depends on the time, the place, the mono & the angler . . . . .

 

A-Jay

 

At 10lbs 11 ounces, this toad made my trip.

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I really like braid + leader most of the time, but I also like to fish small jerkbaits on 6 or 8 lb. mono with a ML rod because it's just plain fun.  Caught my first and only smallie this year on that set-up, all of a pound, and it was way more of a kick than if I'd just been using my typical MH with 20 lb. braid. 

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I like braid for some situations... One technique that I prefer mono is weightless senkos. I feel the floating braid ruins the presentation..

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I like braid for some situations... One technique that I prefer mono is weightless senkos. I feel the floating braid ruins the presentation..

Mono floats as well.

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It depends on the use of it. If you use braid as a main line while throwing lipped crankbaits, you'll just end up with a frustrating day. Also, you are probably using a bad crank, or your rod just isn't that sensitive. I throw lipless baits w/12# mono, and can feel them and set the hook just fine. Braid is OK for topwater, but I would not fish it with treble hook lures. I use mono exclusively for topwater, spinnerbaits, ceankbaits, and lipless baits. I only use braid when I am flipping heavy cover.

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For topwater, jerkbaits and crankbaits I prefer a lttle give and shock absortion. 

Monofilament is ideal for these applications. Sunline Super Natural is my preferred

brand.

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Braid allows me to do what I only wished I could with mono.

I have to admit that I see most fishing innovations as "gimmicky.". The areas that have really improved since the early '90s, though, are line types, sonar, and rod blank material and construction.

Josh

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Funny you say that, I was just thinking about braid last night. For about a year I used braid exclusively, sometimes tying straight to the lure, normally using a leader. Long story short I got sick of braids bad casting and tying new leader knots all the time, so I bought a good spool of fluoro and a good spool of mono, one for each of my casting setups.

After using fluoro and mono for about 4 months, I don't plan on ever going back to braid. Fluoro is way more sensitive than braid for bottom-bouncing lures, especial in the wind. Fluoro sinks, so it creates a more direct path to the lure, giving me more sensitivity on a slack line. Mono has more give, so I rarely lose fish on treble-hooked baits anymore (I lost fish on treble hooks all the time with braid). Paired with a good rod mono still provides plenty of sensitivity.

Ultimately, I think using fluoro and mono in their correct applications are far superior to braid. The only time I will ever use braid again is when I get a heavy pitching setup, which isn't gonna be for a long time. There's a reason the pros use fluoro for almost every bait they throw. It's better.

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Its really easy to get used to the sensitivity of moving baits with braid, especially lipless cranks. Once you switch back to mono its pretty shocking. Ive been using straight braid for years now, flouro leaders for finesse fishing and its tough going back. I got really into finesse fishing this year with casting gear and its all about 4-8lb mono/flouro. Im still getting used to it, i dont like the stretch at all or line management. 

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I only use braid for frogs and really heavy flipping, copolymer monofilament for everything else. I'm not going into a tackle choice lesson here but when using mono type lines and even some fluorocarbons, a good rod is a must, braid will make even a $20 walmart special feel like a sensitive tool which is why sensitivity debating is flawed because no stretch line will allow you to get away with a rod that doesn't have much natural feel to it. If you are aren't feeling very much using mono with a lipless crank, I'll assume the rod is a Cherrywood or something in that class, most rods in the $100+ range will give you good feed back on a lipless crank with mono.

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Only place I don't use braid is on a head boat, they don't allow it down here due to tangling with other lines.  Mates do not untangle they cut lines.

One negative with braid for me is wind knots with spinning gear, this only happens when I use a very light bait like a weedless fluke.  I can cast into a 15 - 20 mph wind with most lures and seldom get a wind knot, which is about 75% of  my fishing, the other 25% is freshwater.

I seldom fish contact baits, it's moving lures for me and IMO braid shines.  I never fish without a leader for 2 reasons, untangling braid from a treble hook can be time consuming, secondly as RW mentioned it's the shock.  Even a short leader with smaller fish the shock is noticeable and I feel I get a better hookset.  

Another advantage using braid for me (I only use spinning gear) is that when I get a good fish on the line 20# braid gives me a lot of line capacity and much more strength than 6# mono.  I'm able to use more than 6# of drag to slow some of the fish down here without the worry of line or knots failing.

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Early on it was all mono (back in the day), then 

I tried SpiderWire back in the 90s and really liked 

it.

 

Then, after a hiatus of bass fishing, I came back 

to both. And then came baitcasters. I tried both.

 

I've settled on braid+leader for every platform.

 

Braid is so much better for line management in 

my opinion, and the leader provides the shock, 

abrasion "resistance", etc.

 

I did go back to mono a few years ago, but after 

one birds nest, it was back to braid. I have only

had one really bad braid blowup that I couldn't 

pick out.

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Long story short I got sick of braids bad casting and tying new leader knots all the time

 

Would you elaborate on that? I find braid to be pretty great when it comes to casting.

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I'll never, ever go back to any lines that have the stretch of mono and fluoro.

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I grew up with Trilene XL.  Probably makes me bias.  Braid has its place.  I prefer braid anytime I am casting into lily pads and lots of weeds.  Otherwise I prefer mono.  Even in moderate cover.

 

Braid is bad casting in certain situations.  A light braid on a spinning reel that has been completely filled is a problem.  Tangles up as it comes off the spool.  Light mono doesn't.  Heavy braid doesn't.  At least the 30# Fireline I have on one rod doesn't.  I don't care how many guys use 20#, 15# or 10# braid with no problems on a casting reel, it causes problems for me.  Recently got a reel that came loaded with 30# Ghost.  Didn't like how it was casting.  Let my buddy use it and he had to strip out line after every cast before reeling back in before he could get decent casting distances.  Heavy braid really floats on a windy day....especially if old.  You wind up with almost as much line to the side as in front of you if casting across the wind.

 

The other side of the coin is I have 40# Performance on a Gen 1 STX-L and Jupiter MHF that I keep in Florida.  Some of my very longest casts were made with this combo using a 3/4 oz. spoon even tho the line was far from new.

 

I have braid on 3 of my spinning reels because everyone says how much better handling it is than mono on spinning reels.  Somehow I still like mono.

 

I agree with "smalljaw", if you aren't feeling the lures action with mono, then you aren't using a very good rod.

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 I've lost a full 30% of my fish due to the lure being shaken free on a jump or whatnot. .

 

I kinda thought you would elaborate on this point.  I use braid or braid / leader on everything but cranks, but I have a good many fish shake the bait on the jump.  I think that could be the fault of the braid.  When the fish surfaces he gets just a little more slack.  With braid he gets a little more slack due to the lack of stretch. Could be just enough extra slack to throw more baits.

 

I know I could put my rod down in the water to prevent them from jumping, but I so enjoy seeing them thrash on the surface!!!

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Would you elaborate on that? I find braid to be pretty great when it comes to casting.

Come to think of it, I thought braid casted pretty well when I first started using it, too. As time went on, though, and the braid got older my casting distance seemed to slowly decrease. Of course it was always limp and manageable, but it kinda had a tendency to stick to itself, or dig in ever-so-slightly, hurting my casting distance. I was using 50lb PowerPro on a BPS pro qualifier, by the way.

 

After about a year of braid, I switched to 15lb fluoro and instantly gained 5-10 yards per cast, same rod, reel, and lures. My brother made the switch, too, and had similar results (he was using same braid as me and a Revo SX).

 

I'm not sure if my explanation for why is correct, but I definitely noticed improved distance when i went from braid to fluoro.

 

Also, just to reiterate on my initial post, I was fishing this morning in a 15-25 mph wind, and even when the wind was at my side I could keep in contact with my jig because I was using fluoro. Back when I used braid any wind over 10 mph meant I had to reposition the boat so the wind was at my back.

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