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Diameter vs. lb. test when choosing braid

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When I first started using braid years ago my local tackle dealer and avid surf caster told me to choose braid by diameter and not to worry about pound test. He said the thinner stuff could be a potential disaster being so thin. So this is what I’ve always done. Usually choosing 30 or 40 lb test braid with approx. mono equivalent of 8 or 10 lb in diameter. I read of many folks using 15 or less lb test braid with mono diameters of 4 or 6 lb. My thoughts are it sounds harder on finger and more chances of tangles. Am I in the minority? What’s your thought on diameter vs lb test. 
I’m mainly speaking of 4000 size spinning reels. 

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All depends on structure you are fishing. An open beach 15-30 and you will be fine. North shore I would beef it up 30-40. Drag setting plays another role on this. I think 4000 reel though I wouldn’t got more then 30 and most likely use 20.

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Depends. You want to base what you use more on the type of structure(beach, jetty, rocky shoreline,etc) and size of fish you are targeting. Typically 20lb test and up for insurance but if you wanna risk it and live dangerous, 5-15lb test are really fun to target fish with. The fear of line snapping and how you’re going to land fish is crazy annoying though and such a hassle

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Yup, what you will fish and where is as important as diameter. In my mind, the factors are far more complex than simply pound test vs millimeters. 

 

diameter vs rated test ratio

real-world test (some break at 1.5-2X ratings)

preferred knots

real-world knot strength

mono/flouro leader

"smoothness" of line exterior

"nick" resistance (4 vs 8 carrier, coatings)

average casting distance

fish drag-pulling ability

line stretch

rod's rated range

even line color

 

There is no perfect line and the opinions of anglers will vary, bigly, depending on their biases, experience and fishing conditions. 

 

Personally, from the open sand beaches in Florida, I like Sufix 832 and Daiwa J8 for almost all my reels. My Saragosa 5/6000s are spooled with 20-30 pound 832 or J8. My everyday VR125 has two spools, factory VR125 spool with 30# 832 most of the time but a VR150 spool with 40# J8 for when bigger fish are around. Most of our casting is short, in the trough, so I don't mind giving up some distance. 

 

My $0.02

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All good answers so far but my question isn’t actually how strong of a line you need it’s how the diameter affects overall use. 
IF you’re casting on an open beach with jig and gulp for fluke you could easily use 10 or 15 lb braid and handle the fish just fine. But that braid is so thin it may be more susceptible to wind knots or tangles plus it would take a lot more of it to fill your spool. Wouldn’t it be wiser to step up to say 30lb braid that’s thicker and easier to manage and less line to fill your spool?

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20 mins ago, ecks said:

All good answers so far but my question isn’t actually how strong of a line you need it’s how the diameter affects overall use. 
IF you’re casting on an open beach with jig and gulp for fluke you could easily use 10 or 15 lb braid and handle the fish just fine. But that braid is so thin it may be more susceptible to wind knots or tangles plus it would take a lot more of it to fill your spool. Wouldn’t it be wiser to step up to say 30lb braid that’s thicker and easier to manage and less line to fill your spool?

understood. 

 

keep in mind that when you are counting on your line drifting with the current, whether from a boat or shore, the thinner the line the less impact current will have on the line. 

 

wind knots are only partially related to line diameter, it is also about the level to which the spool is filled, your guides and their layout. how quickly does the line get funneled/constrained, etc. 

 

personally, I have found that most shops will fill a spool to within 1/16" or 3/32" of the lip and throw the rubber band on it. however, after the first cast and retrieve, the line is no longer packed as tightly as the machine packed it and the line is even wider on the reel. I have seen reels that were over-filled with the outermost layers of line actually out past the lip of the spool. As you may know, "wind knots" happen mostly when line coming off the reel pulls out coils from underneath the leading coil, get blown together by the wind (or just gravity), and then either jam in the guides or fly out of the tip leaving a loop knot that will be tightened upon retrieve. the simplest solution is to not fill the spool with so much line, either when being spooled by machine or removing line afterward. note that wind knots are less prevalent when the wind is at your back then from any other direction because the wind can help push the lure or sinker out a bit faster, pulling the coils before they can loop around themselves. 

 

if you want to save money in filling the spool, and you never cast deeply into the spool, then consider first laying in some amount of mono, or heavier braid, before you load on the line you plan to fish with. how much depends on your fishing circumstances but in many cases you may never get more than 100 yards of line "wet" if the fish are of modest size, don't go on long or strong runs, etc. 

 

if you do that, make sure your lowest real-world test is on the lure/bait side and the heaviest is on the spool side. you don't want your weakest point being too close to you which could create a break that sacrifices all of that braid and mono. For example, if you use 15# braid, then a mono under-wrap should be closer to 30#, assuming a high 2X rating to actual break strength. also, if you are going to use a mono under-wrap, then use a very slim knot to connect that mono to your braid topshot, like a FG or PR. 

 

another $0.02

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53 mins ago, ecks said:

All good answers so far but my question isn’t actually how strong of a line you need it’s how the diameter affects overall use. 
IF you’re casting on an open beach with jig and gulp for fluke you could easily use 10 or 15 lb braid and handle the fish just fine. But that braid is so thin it may be more susceptible to wind knots or tangles plus it would take a lot more of it to fill your spool. Wouldn’t it be wiser to step up to say 30lb braid that’s thicker and easier to manage and less line to fill your spool?

not sure line diameter can be associated with wind knots in this scenario. Again, make sure the reel doesn't have too much line on it.  

 

Using thicker line in hopes of reducing wind knots and such may work but then your gonna have to beef up the weight your using due to current creating more drag on the thicker diameter line.

 

I shore fish with anything from 10 to 15lb braid and I rarely get wind knots. Make sure the line is tight on the spool, this will also help prevent knots or tangles

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21 mins ago, ijuanaspearfish said:

Make sure the line is tight on the spool, this will also help prevent knots or tangles

^^^ This, don't reel in braid without some pressure/tension, otherwise it forms loose coils on the spool that can be more easily pulled out before their time. 

 

Classic example, you get cut or broken off and you reel in the balance of your braid without any pressure as it goes on to the spool. I have learned the hard way and that is the only time you will see me doing the googan thing of reeling a spinning reel on top of the blank. I find that easier so that i am using my right hand to reel and my left hand to apply pressure against the blank or through my fingers. point is, don't reel a free line onto the reel. 

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3 hours ago, ecks said:

All good answers so far but my question isn’t actually how strong of a line you need it’s how the diameter affects overall use. 
IF you’re casting on an open beach with jig and gulp for fluke you could easily use 10 or 15 lb braid and handle the fish just fine. But that braid is so thin it may be more susceptible to wind knots or tangles plus it would take a lot more of it to fill your spool. Wouldn’t it be wiser to step up to say 30lb braid that’s thicker and easier to manage and less line to fill your spool?

My 2 cents. 
The only time I use as light as 15 is when I am fishing from my boat for fluke and sea bass. Then there is no worry about wind knots because I am just dropping straight down. The thinner line allows you to hold bottom with less weight. I typically don’t go less then 30 if I am casting. Granted, I lose a little distance but for me the 30 is easier to deal with. Much easier to get a wind not out of 30 then it is out of 15. Especially at night. There are exceptions when I need to get distance out of a very light offering but those are just that, exceptions. Chances are you are using at least an ounce and that goes a long way even with 30. That being said, I always put just a little backing on and fill the spool with braid. That way after several break offs, I still have a couple hundred yards of braid left. When it gets too low on the spool I just walk it off, put a little more backing on, and put the braid back on. 
Again, just my .02. 
Mike

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@flyangler and @mtl50 Basically nailed it. Especially using heavier stuff on your side of the equation to limit the line you lose and what’s left attached to the fish or structure. 
 

Fatherhood means I get on the water a lot less than I would like - and that’s the short version! I don’t like any chance of wispy line ruining my fun. (I do suggest bringing a backup spool - if you have two spools - or another reel already rigged with a leader in your backpack. )

 

Fir me, 30 is the lowest I use in “braid”. I do go lower test than that in “superlines” as I’ll use fireline crystal 10 lbs in place of 10/15 lbs braid. It’s more user friendly. 

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And if you don’t think the line diameter matters for usability, give a kid standard 10 lbs power pro and see what happens. 

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On 5/12/2021 at 10:20 AM, ecks said:

When I first started using braid years ago my local tackle dealer and avid surf caster told me to choose braid by diameter and not to worry about pound test. He said the thinner stuff could be a potential disaster being so thin. So this is what I’ve always done. Usually choosing 30 or 40 lb test braid with approx. mono equivalent of 8 or 10 lb in diameter. I read of many folks using 15 or less lb test braid with mono diameters of 4 or 6 lb. My thoughts are it sounds harder on finger and more chances of tangles. Am I in the minority? What’s your thought on diameter vs lb test. 
I’m mainly speaking of 4000 size spinning reels. 

I never felt lighter braids tangle more. I have used dozens of brands of braid over the years. I have to add that your reels and rods both need to match up well and have good braid handling characteristics. 

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6 hours ago, ecks said:

All good answers so far but my question isn’t actually how strong of a line you need it’s how the diameter affects overall use. 
IF you’re casting on an open beach with jig and gulp for fluke you could easily use 10 or 15 lb braid and handle the fish just fine. But that braid is so thin it may be more susceptible to wind knots or tangles plus it would take a lot more of it to fill your spool. Wouldn’t it be wiser to step up to say 30lb braid that’s thicker and easier to manage and less line to fill your spool?

Yes, it would. It's not going to make a difference to the fish, so if your worry is that the lighter light will be more susceptible to wind knots and tangling, go with the 30. I have 30# Superslick V2 on one of my 4500s and it works fine. I bought 300yds spool and it filled up up my spool. You could just as easily buy 150yds and back it with mono and save some money. An added benefit is when you're fishing around structure, you have more abrasion resistance. I fish almost exclusively off the rocks, so I play a different game. 30# is my minimum.

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6 hours ago, ecks said:

All good answers so far but my question isn’t actually how strong of a line you need it’s how the diameter affects overall use. 
IF you’re casting on an open beach with jig and gulp for fluke you could easily use 10 or 15 lb braid and handle the fish just fine. But that braid is so thin it may be more susceptible to wind knots or tangles plus it would take a lot more of it to fill your spool. Wouldn’t it be wiser to step up to say 30lb braid that’s thicker and easier to manage and less line to fill your spool?

Yes, it would. It's not going to make a difference to the fish, so if your worry is that the lighter light will be more susceptible to wind knots and tangling, go with the 30. I have 30# Superslick V2 on one of my 4500s and it works fine. I bought 300yds spool and it filled up up my spool. You could just as easily buy 150yds and back it with mono and save some money. An added benefit is when you're fishing around structure, you have more abrasion resistance. I fish almost exclusively off the rocks, so I play a different game. 30# is my minimum.

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