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New Braided Lines & Rod Tolerances

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Al-

 

Question for you: when considering the new braided lines (Berkley Whiplash, Power Pro Spectra, etc.), how much is "too much" when it comes to rod stress? I understand proper compensatory setting of the reel drag is crucial in this regard, but apart from that, what should we watch out for?

 

Getting over my cold...let me know when you want to grab lunch.

 

-FWW

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It's called "Top Sticking" when striking the fish. Most people are used to striking a fish with the rod tip almost in the vertical position. That was okay with mono line, however with braided lines and their no-stretch it's almost certain to break the blank.

 

I like to keep my rod tip as low as possible when striking a fish with braided line. In addition, my hooks are razor sharp, thus requiring little effort to firmly set the hook. learn to constantly sharpen your hooks to "sticky sharpness".

 

 

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I've pulled a lot of hooks due to top sticking as Al describes. The old habit of herculean hooksets that were required when using rubberband mono is hard to overcome.

 

Two other things that help lessen the no-stretch stress caused by braid: a softer rod action and tip section; and, a mono leader (even 3-6' leader provides a small measure of cushion).

 

To keep from losing expensive braid, I usually follow Saltheart's practice of using a mono leader of lower breaking strength than the braid. It's not an issue when fishing sandy areas or open water, but becomes more of a factor when fishing rocky structure.

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Mark,

 

Thanks for jumping in. I forgot about the shock leader. Very important, it's second nature to me. I actually have a mono shock leader of 15-30 feet, depending on the application. Tie them together using a double uni-knot.

 

When are you coming up this way to play?

 

Al

 

 

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Al---I totally agree with Mark about "top-sticking". It's almost a guarantee of ripping the hooks loose unless they're buried deep in the jaw tissue or back in the hard cartilege in the roof of a bass's throat. You really have to learn how to fish all over again if you want to successfully fish plugs with braid. I'm going to a softer 2F S-glass stick (trimmed a foot from the butt) for throwing plugs with braid. Some kind-hearted individual was able to get me a very nice old 2F blem (thanks, oh Keeper of the Kremes wink.gif ). Even with a 120 1L graphite, my hook-up to landing ratio on trebles with braid is about 50%. Until the 2F is finished, I've been throwing mono. I fish a lot around structure, and the dilemma is this---you have to put the boots to the fish early in the fight to get it away from the abrasive stuff, but that risks pulling the hooks free with braid. Mono gives you a lot of cushion, and since we're not fishing at a great distance or depth, stretch really doesn't detract that much from the hookset.

 

As long as the drag is set properly when you hit a fish, I don't think you run much risk of popping a quality blank. A lot also depends on the taper, a fast tip section can snap easier than one in a rod that bends more into the midsection of the blank. A 120 1L with a size 11 tip and a parabolic bend won't snap as easily as, say, an All-Star 1266/2 with a size 7 tip and a fast taper. But if the drag is set for 50# braid as you would set it for 50# mono, you're asking for trouble. I set my drags at about 7 lbs of pull, the same as I would for 20# mono, which I've also never popped setting a hook.

 

One last thing with braid---especially with a stiff rod, if you drop the rod tip an inch during the fight, due to a moment's inattention or fatigue, you're throwing an inch of slack at the fish. With the more forgiving mono, maybe all you do is let a little bit of stretch relax and keep tension on the hooks.

 

[This message has been edited by Ditch Jigger (edited 05-31-2001).]

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Thank you all for this post! I didn't know what the hell I was doing wrong. This is my first year with braid and first year barbless. I was losing fish on the hook set with the braid and thought it was the lack of barbs. However, I didn;t have the same problem with the mono, so I knew it wasn't the barbs. Thanks again.

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Thanks all for the useful information.

 

"Top Sticking" is something I definitely want to avoid with the braided lines, not just to avoid pulling hooks.

 

Al - hate to admit this but I think I broke one of your loaner spincast rods (one you loaned me last summer which I took out to Ponquogue in Shinnecock) b/c of top-sticking (was using 30 lb. Power-Pro Spectra, 2 feet of 15 lb. flourocarbon leader). icon15.gif

 

I'm not sure to what extent my latest casualty (Loomis Hybrid blank crying.gif ) could be blamed on a similar operator error ... I was using 70 lb. Berkley Whiplash braid, BUT, the drag on the Boss 870 was set very carefully, and I was using 10 feet of 50 lb. mono shocker.

 

I will make sure to pay careful attention to this phenomenon going forward.

 

Best to nip a potential bad habit in the bud before it becomes full-blown.

 

-FWW

 

p.s. Al, I took the Lilco stick out to the Sore Thumb today and BANGED away at almost 100 hickory shad for several hours. That brings total confirmed fish hooked/landed on that outfit to >500< (since you delivered that lovely stick to me last October)... no joke, keeping a log. heart.gif

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In the very early days of braided line I blew up at least six high-end custom graphite sticks until I learned how to fish with the stuff. Top sticking and hard hooksets are a definite no-no.

 

FWW- Glad to hear that the Lilco stick is doing its duty. Duckwump from Virginia stopped by tonight on his way up to New England. He posted the need for a blank for southern seatrout with a casting capability of 3/8-3/4 ounces. I set him up with all the goodies to build himself a Lilco stick. You could see his eyes light up when he picked up my rod.

 

Al

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by Al Goldberg (edited 06-03-2001).]

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DID YOU SAY SPECKLED TROUT?

 

That's going to be a perfect application for the Lilco stick...break out the Cocahoe minnows.

 

Big Al - ask Crazy Alberto about all those double digit weakies he's been murdering recently on his Lilco stick. Many potential IGFA line class records (the Crazy one is tempting fate with 6 lb. test), but the fish are VERY finicky to the point of driving all who pursue them stark-raving mad.

 

-FWW

 

lg_smile.gif

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Al, on this same line of questioning, how about jigging with braid and graphite rod rated 3-6 O.z. in heavy current situations(i.e. the ditch) that require a fairly agressive upward pull in order to get some decent movement of the jig. In order to do this I usually tighten the drag enough so I don't have line slipping when I jig. Do you think I'm overstressing the rod by doing this?

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I never heard of a graphite rod blowing up from jigging movement in a hard tide. I did plenty of that on Georges Bank in very deep water. It's the hookset and too tight a drag that results in shattered rods.

 

I know alot of "canal rats" that fish spectra and never had a problem.

 

Al

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