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Old 22-01-2014, 09:45   #1
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Braided fishing line whilst trolling

Hi there,

I'm gathering some fishing gear to do some trolling while cruising from Europe to the Caribbean. I got the cruiser's handbook of fishing, and I've learned a ton reading through it. However, it doesn't mention braided fishing line at all... Is that because it's no good trolling for bigger fish (the lack of stretch), or is it because it didn't exist back then? It seems like the prices are somewhat similar, and the braided line is much thinner, so might be a good score to double the amount of line your reels can carry...

Any input?
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Old 22-01-2014, 09:50   #2
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

Braided line has been around for years, not of the spydr wire variety, my biggest problem with it is the fineness for the strength. It has the potential of cutting you 7 ways to Sunday, before you even know it. If you were fighting a pretty big fish, you could end up with a finger cut off, or a deep cut into the meat of your hand. Not for me, I'll stick with mono.
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Old 22-01-2014, 09:56   #3
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

As far as I know, braided nylon has been around longer than monofilament. It was the only line I remember as a kid in the 50's. Didn't see mono till the 70's. The lb. test strength should be equal but the knots will be different. A lot of the knots used with mono were developed specifically for mono because the braided line knots slipped.
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Old 22-01-2014, 10:05   #4
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

I'm talking about dyneema braid and the likes, that's where the big gain is at...
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Old 28-01-2014, 05:42   #5
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

My limited experience with braided line is that it twists like crazy.

Got rid of it and went back to mono.

Have to add that I'm no expert angler, ymmv.
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Old 31-01-2014, 06:02   #6
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

I use that green rope thats on spear guns.. run it to a barrel swivel then a meter or so of braided wire..just skull drag them in

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Old 31-01-2014, 06:22   #7
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

Non-stretch lines can work great for bass fishing (better lure control and a better set), bottom fishing signifigant depth (over 50 feet), or on reels where the drag is carefully set and tended, but trolling cruisers generally ignor the line for hours and rely on line stretch to absorb the impact of a strike. There is no attentive helms man ready to adjust the speed the moment of a strike; sails are up and the fish is going to be dragged up to hull speed. Doubly true if a handline/yo-yo is used, since there is no rod flex to maintain tension.

Mono will serve you better. But a good question.
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Old 31-01-2014, 06:29   #8
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

I started using Spyder line for sailboat trolling a few years ago because it was strong enough to drag the fish as long as needed and you can fit a lot of it on a reel, which is important if you plan to drag the fish at speed and it is going to spool a bit on you.

However, after a year I came to the conclusion it is just too dangerous for this usage. It is too thin to grab by hand, which is important when bringing the fish into the boat, and if any part of the body ever got caught in a loop of it, you were losing that part.

Too many times I pulled a finger, ankle, etc out of a loop just before it garroted. To gaff a fish, the gaffer must put themselves in play with the line - where they could lose their head.

So I took it off my reels. I do find that it makes excellent strong sewing/lashing line for stuff!

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Old 31-01-2014, 06:51   #9
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

Find someone who knows what he's talking about and do what they do. Thinwater gives good advice. Although it's great fun landing a blue-water fish, most cruisers fish for a fresh, free, meal.
We usually cruise 2 rods, my preference over the yo-yo, one halfway back, one full back. When the clicker screams, someone yells "fish on," the helm de-powers the sails or motor. Someone takes the rod out of the holder to land the fish. I reel in the other rod. I like to have someone take the rod that usually doesn't fish and coach them a bit while they land the fish. If they lose it, there's always another. When they get it close to the boat, I'm there with a short gaff, good canvas gloves and a squirt bottle of cheap vodka.
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Old 31-01-2014, 06:59   #10
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

blackkayak, your advice is good regardless of the line used. The OP asked about using braided dyneema like Spyder line - what do you think of that?

It is not always possible to slow down the boat much, or quickly. Try being set on preventers wing on wing downwind in 25kts and largish seas. These are the conditions we find fish bite best in!

Blue water fish are fresh, free meals. I didn't understand that point. When trolling on a passage, you basically fish for whatever bites - and all of that by definition is going to be blue-water fish.

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Old 31-01-2014, 07:27   #11
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

I've never used anything other than 50lb or better mono. I'm familiar with it, and my knots stay tight and it cuts clean. I lose so much, I usually get it when I get a good deal.
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Old 31-01-2014, 07:58   #12
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

I sell a lot of offshore fishing tackle. All the serious offshore fishermen have switched to braid to get extra line on the reel. Since the braid is expensive they put a top shot of 50 to 100 yards of mono. When the mono gets damaged it can be replaced. The gaffer never handles the braid. Tournament season is in full swing here and we're going nuts spooling braid on reels.
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Old 31-01-2014, 08:28   #13
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

For those conditions that is acceptable HopCar, on a long term cruising scenario with all kinds of different skill levels handling the gear and the fish, the spyder wire is much too fine for my taste, you can possibly be days from competent medical help, and if you take a cut from that line, it will go deep and may cut an artery or big vein or just remove a finger, that can all happen in an instant and you go from having fresh meat for supper to trying to save someone's life in a heart beat. Most cruising vessels (except mine) are poorly set up to handle a fish of any size. Think about a 50 lb Mahi, or tuna shaking it's head in the water next to the boat while you are trying to lead it around to put the gaff in him. If you used those S/S chain mail cutting gloves you might get away with it, but if the line were to get wrapped around some other appendage it could be severed. I for one do not want that element of random chance in my equaision, and I have a lot of experience handling large angry fish.
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Old 31-01-2014, 09:14   #14
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

"Think about a 50 lb Mahi, or tuna shaking it's head in the water next to the boat while you are trying to lead it around to put the gaff in him."

By the time the fish is next to the boat, you're dealing with the mono top shot and a heavy leader. You never handle the braid. In fact if you are using 80 to 100lb braid, the diameter is not really that small. It's the light braid that is more likely to cut you.

The fact is for the type of meat fishing sailors do, it doesn't much matter what you use as long as it's strong. Sailors can't easily maneuver their boat to help catch the fish, heck they often can't even stop the boat.

If you want to load it with all mono, you'll still catch all the fish you want. The only advantage the braid gives you is when you hook a really big fish, the extra length lets the fish run further, and you're more likely to tire him before he breaks the line.

The expense of braid is also a strong argument to use all mono.

My choice of sailboat fishing rig would be a short stout standup rod with a good sized moderately priced reel, Penn Senator or Shimano TLD, loaded with 80lb or heavier braid with a 100 yards of mono on top, hooked to a wire leader dragging a cedar plug or feather.
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Old 31-01-2014, 09:25   #15
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Re: Braided fishing line whilst trolling

I see what you are saying about the dangers of braided line, but as hopcar mentioned, the braided line is attached to 100yd of mono and then a leader (handling the fish near the boat to put a gaff in it is also called "leadering"). So unless the fish is more then 100yd from the boat, all the braid is going to be safely spooled on the lure. If the fish is more then 100yd from the boat and making a run for it, don't touch the line.

Besides the fact that this is nearly impossible since the rod is 5ft long and the butt of the rod is in the fighting harness, it just takes some common sense. Can it happen and can it pose a danger? Sure, but with the right setup I believe the least bit of common sense is enough to avoid disaster. Compare it to "don't touch the backstay antenna while transmitting on HF".


The benefit of it is that you loose far fewer fish (and tackle --> $$) and you have way more time to handle the situation safely. As long as the hook is set, you don't have to rush anything because you fear losing the fish. And as we all know, rushing causes accidents.
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