Carp Fishing

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Carp Fishing

Braided Reel Line

Using Braided Reel Line
Ken Townley
Fox Pro-Consultants team
What exactly is braided reel line? Well I'm sure most of you will have heard about braided hooklink materials and braided abrasion resistant leaders like Quicksilver.

Well braided reel line is rather similar. However, don't get the two confused. For instance, 25lb Quicksilver is a much tougher braid specifically designed to act as an abrasion leader. It is very tightly woven and is therefore considerably thicker than, say, 20lb Fox Submerge Sinking Braid. All braids serve a specific purpose and should not be used out of context. Here we are dealing purely with braids that have been designed as reel lines, not as hooklinks or as shock leaders or abrasion leaders.
Fox have two braids on the market, Graviton and Submerge and apart from the cost there is little to choose between the two lines. Submerge is more tightly wound with external Dyneema thread whereas the less expensive braid is more loosely bound. Both lines sink well and on a slack line will adopt the contours of the lake bed so that there is no tight line stretching through the swim to frighten the carp as they feed.

Braid has virtually no stretch so it is ideal when fishing at extreme range when you are taking out your hookbaits by boat. The lack of stretch means that indication of a take is much more positive compared to nylon.
It's on waters like this 300-acre lake that braid really comes into its own, as you might have to fish at extreme range (here the baits were positioned by boat over 350m from the rods). Bite detection at ultra long is critical and you are much more likely to detect a pick-up on braid as you are were you using nylon.

Braid gives you a significant advantage due to its thinness. While a nylon line of, say 0.25 mm might have a breaking strain of around 6lb, a braided line of the same thickness would break at nearer 20lb which gives you over three times the strength for the same thickness of line.

Braided reel line certainly casts exceptionally well in light winds or if the breeze is behind you, however, when you are casting into a strong cross wind when you will find that braid has a tendency to catch the wind, forming a larger bow than would occur when using nylon. The cast also tends to run out of steam more quickly which can also reduce casting distance.

Casting with braid can cause problems if you are fishing straight through to the swivel. ALWAYS ensure that your clutch/Baitrunner is done up as tight as possible, especially if you are using leads or 4 or 5 ounces. If you try to cast with the clutch not fully tightened the lack of stretch in the braid will mean that a significant amount of force will be fed down to the reel, the clutch will give line as you go into the power stroke and the braid can cut deeply into the flesh of the finger you use to hold the line while casting.
You can prevent injury by using a leather glove or a leather finger stool. You can also use a nylon leader to prevent injury. The nylon gives you protection because when the power comes on, your finger is in contact not with the no-stretch braid, but with the much more stretchy, flesh-friendly nylon. Use some form of protection on your finger if the braid is in contact with your finger when you cast.

Playing fish on braided reel line is certainly very different from doing so on nylon. The lack of stretch means that every lunge, twist and turn is felt at the rod much more positively. This is a big advantage as it helps you feel that way a fish is fighting much better.

Anyone who has played a fish out using nylon reel line tipped with a braided shock or abrasion leader such as Quicksilver will know the strange feeling when you start playing the fish on the braid rather than the nylon reel line. From the soft cushiony feel of the nylon, the fight suddenly changes dramatically has the effect of the no-stretch braid comes into play. Many fish are lost at this stage as is all to easy to get taken by surprise and exert too much pressure with the resulting hook pull being almost inevitable. This also happens with braided reel line and to prevent this we recommend the use of stretchy buffer of nylon leader.
One of the most important reasons for attaching a nylon leader is for the protection it gives to the fish itself during the fight. A braid like 20lb Fox Submerge has the same diameter as six or seven pound nylon, but unlike nylon it has virtually no stretch so under tension it can act like a cheese wire. It could then cut into the flank of the carp, catch up badly around the leading ray of the dorsal fin and cut into the carp's back, and generally do some pretty nasty damage if you don't take steps to protect the fish from line damage, hence the necessity for the nylon leader. We recommend one of our tapered leaders.
Fox Soft Steel Tapered Leaders. Excellent as a 'comfort' leader. Attach the nylon leader to the braided reel line using the Mahin Knot. The Mahin Knot is illustrated in full in the leaflet that accompanies each packet of Tapered Leaders.

You might like to try using a completely free running lead with braided reel line. By doing so every touch at the business end is transmitted to the buzzer. Why not try the set up shown here. It comprises of a Fox Combi Lead converted to fish pendulum style with a Fox Run Ring. The Fox Run Bead buffers the knot which is also doubly protected by threading the tubing through the bead and jamming it onto the top eye of the swivel.

One point worth noting is that braid does not have much impact strength. That is due, of course to the lack of stretch. If you hammer the line mercilessly to try to get your tackle out of a snag the braid will break at the knot. It is better to wrap the line around your protected arm (make sure there is plenty of thick clothing or other material to protect your skin), then slowly walk backwards imposing a slow, steady increase in pull. This actually gives you a greater chance of getting your gear back then if you were on, say 8-12lb nylon.

Another major advantage of braid is that it is less affected by sub-surface currents so it will not roll the lead out of position if the line between rod tip and lead is affected by underwater movement of water. This is particularly important when you are fishing at extreme range, perhaps on a big Continental reservoir where the baits have to be rowed out by boat.

Resist the temptation to fiddle about with your indicator once the bait is in position as all you do is pull the lead back towards you a few cms. This is especially crucial if you are using heavy leads to hold the bait tight under the far bank treeline. Twitch the indicator and you will feel the lead scuttle across the bottom and, if it is resting at the top of a bar or a marginal slope, the lad will simply fall down the slope. Resist the temptation to fiddle with the indicators as you may well dislodge the lead.

Sensitivity is the watchword when using braid. You can tell when a carp has so much as mouthed your bait at a hundred metres and there is no doubting it when you get a take from a fish that has picked up the bait but not moved off.

If you were on nylon at say 100m you would probably be lucky if you got a single bleep: on braid you'd get a series of bleeps, even at that range, which would allow you, hopefully, to hit the pick-up before the fish managed to eject the bait.
If you are getting too many false bleeps you can try placing your indicator on the other side of the buzzer. However, bear in mind that this will not indicate a drop-back. A good trick is to add extra weight on the other side of the buzzer head so as to counteract any troublesome wind or wave action on the braid. Here we've used another Fox Carp Hanger in front of the LXR.

Braid is brilliant when fishing in weed. It is so thin that it acts like a piece of thin wire to cut through the weed stems. The more the fish tries to bury itself in the weed, the more the sawing effect of the braid helps clear the weed for you, so freeing the carp from the weedbed
Ken Townley
Fox Pro-Consultants team


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