Everyone’s opinions on what braid they like is different. Some want silk others want rope. Me…I like somewhere inbetween. As nice as some of these silky smooth 8 strand braids are, there is a part of me that doesn’t quite feel confident in them with a Bass of a lifetime on the end that’s diving towards and across shallow, jagged, barnacle ridden ground…but there is always the argument that any braided line thats tight against a rock is going to snap regardless, but there are undoubtably some that are going to take it alot better than others.
Personally I like a braid that’s friendly to use and enjoyable to cast all day. Hence this I pretty much only use 8 strands for all my lure fishing. Going back to a 4 strand braid since just feels thick, rope like and I can’t help but feel let down casting it and not getting the distance I am used to…(yes Bass aren’t always at distance, often below your feet…but it’s only beneficial to cover as much ground as possible and lets face it, it’s pretty satisfying to see your lure fly out towards the horizon).
Over the last few years I’ve gone through quite a few spools of braid trying different types and brands to see what works for me and how they will do for my various types of fishing.
Daiwa Tournament 8
A very nice braid that I’ve only used in the ridiculously thin but strong 25lb…to use it’s absolute joy! Casts lovely, silent through the guides and I trust the breaking strain of it. It’s pretty strong stuff. Where I found it let me down though is wind knots…I did suffer from wind knots with this braid, it did tend to struggle to bed down nicely even when keeping an eye. Abrasion resistance is also another factor where I wasn’t fused on this braid. Just touching something remotely rough left it chaffed and after a long day fishing and rough dry hand syndrome sets in I was worried handling the braid and found that the area round my trigger grip was left lacking colour and fluffed out fibbers were pretty visible. Never the less though, over clean ground it is a nice braid to use, but for me it doesn’t stand up to the wear and tear or rough ground I fish so personally it’s not the braid for me.
This is my sweet spot. It’s to me a great point between a 4 and 8 strand. Just feeling it you can tell it is a pretty tough braid. Not stupidly thin but just right. I’d call it my goldilocks braid, yes it may miss out on a few yards that other super slick 8 strands can give but it isn’t far off.
What I do like though is how tough it feels, infact I’ve had a fish pull the line across some nasty ground where I really felt it was going to be “goodbye” but the castaway held in there and although chaffed it didn’t straight away give as I feel a lot of other braids would. Pair this with the fact it has a specific saltwater resistant coating it inspires a lot of confidence in me and without that whatever fish you hook into is always going to be at an advantage.
This is the line I’m using at home on the rough, nasty barnacle ridden reefs of Gower this year and after last seasons performance I’m hopeful it will do me proud again. Currently seeing how the lighter 20lb (1.2pe) stuff will do for me since the 25lb has had 2 flawless seasons.
This is a pretty new braid that only came out in the UK this year but wow is it impressive for the money, first impressions were that it feels a marginally thicker, tougher version of the Daiwa Tournament that I really wish suited my fishing better. I first started using it for my UL/LRF fishing, especially the lure fishing I do for Trout and I’ve got to say I’ve been nothing but impressed with it. For £15 a spool, its far cheaper than 90% of other 8 strand braids out there and it has stood up to alot of abuse. Especially the amount of abrasion its got from lures cast into bushes and trees that have been yanked out while the line is wrapped round branches or leaves.
I then went on to load up the spare spool of my Shimano Sustain with it for my trip to Ireland back in April…a week solid fishing I felt would show me if there was any immediate faults in the line, and nope. I could find any, it didn’t let me down. Knot strength was great and it is really nice to use in terms of feel and casting. Yes I cannot be 100% on it from that trip but after 8 months using it for my UL fishing and plenty of hours using it for Bass I got to say it’s up there with one of my favourites so far, especially when it’s half the price of many of it’s competitors (In my opinion) cutting a few yards away doesn’t feel so bad. I feel this could be my go to braid for cleaner or less sharp nasty ground where boulders and kelp is more of a sight as opposed to angry barnacle ledges.
So to round it up…for me personally my go to braid has to be the Sunline Castaway. It’s reliable, nice colour, I trust it 100% and I know that if fish over the rough ground I tend to fish decide to take the upper hand against me then I’m going to feeling rubbing (that the braid will resist to a point) that I can react to before I feel a ping as opposed to other 8 strands where I feel a ping is going to be the first you know of contact with rough ground…for me it’s a practical braid for real fishing purposes.