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Tips for use of braided fishing line

November 18, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Often folks ask if they can bring their equipment, favorite rod, lure, etc., on their trip. Thinking back on years of (my) dropped rods, busted eyes, broken spinning reel bails and general misuse by some past clients, I quickly reply, yes!

Asking how to set up, I shoot them an email with suggested setups for the angling we intend to do.

Often something happens between the reading of my email in say Kansas, and the time of the first cast here in Southwest Florida.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

For this particular redfish outing I had suggested he spool up his favorite outfit with 12-pound braid line and 20-pound test fluorocarbon and use a small swivel as we will be casting spoons.

He arrived, set up as instructed except for the black marlin sized swivel. After changing to a SPRO brand super small swivel we were set.

Just before the first cast he told me that he had been a mono user all his life and this was his first experience with braided lines.

After taking a second closer look at his equipment I mentioned that I thought his reel spool was overfilled, but he insisted it would be okay.

Things went along well till the first eagle's nest of expensive braided line flew through the air (due to an overfilled spool).

Hopelessly tangled, we cut away 20 yards of line and retied. Within 20 minutes another condor's nest of line flew from the rod. Sometimes making the transition from monofilament to braided lines requires a little time.

Line management or control with braided lines is much easier if you follow a few simple reel tricks.

Problems with braided lines come from overfilling the spool and loose line on the spool.

If you cast a minor bird's nest with braided lines resist the temptation to start pulling hard at the nest. You can often pull/pry it apart carefully. Pull too hard and it locks down with cutting and retying the only remedy.

Learn the following techniques and you will cut down on braided line problems by 90 percent.

After casting, do not close the bail of a spinning reel by turning the handle. Break the habit and close the bail with the tip of a finger before turning the reel handle (the reel will last longer).

That's step number one. Step two, I always use my free left hand to pull tight any loose line on the spool immediately after closing the bail and before the cast.

These suggestions might sound like a lot of extra work and time, but it doesn't take long to get used to doing it this way. Learning this new technique will save you money and frustration trying to pick apart impossible nests during a hot bite.

How do you know when your braided line needs replacing?

Inspect closely under bright light the first three feet. You are looking for fraying. If it's frayed, cut back three to four feet, especially if you have been fishing around oyster bars, where a nick three feet up the line could cost you your trophy snook of a lifetime.

Old sun bleached, frayed line weakens so throw it all away and spend another $20-$30 on a refill? NO WAY!

First try this. Simply reverse the line. Most inshore spools will hold 200 yards of 12-pound braided line. Typically, most inshore fish fights only involve the first 20-50 yards or less of your line. The rest is near new, so why throw it away?

I usually fill my inshore spools with monofilament topping the reel off with 75-100 yards of braid. I connect my braid to mono with a back-to-back Uni-knot which on a big fish slips through the rod eyes with no problems.

Tie your mono leader to your braid with the same knot. When using a finer leader, double it, and then tie the Uni-knot.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or, or



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