Braided lines have long been popular for froggin’ and flippin’. The sensitivity, lack of stretch and ability to cut through heavy vegetation while landing fish makes braid ideal for these applications.
Several months ago I had the pleasure of fishing Falcon Lake with former FLW Touring Pro Fred Contaoi. Sneaking a look at his tackle before we headed out, I noticed something that seemed very strange to me. His flipping rods were all spooled with fluorocarbon and his cranking rods were spooled with braid. I figured “Big Fred” either had a screw loose or knew something I didn’t. Both were true. Four days later we had wrecked the bass on the Mexican side of Falcon and I had learned how braid would soon change the way I fish.
Rods and Line Care
I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose the right rod when fishing lures with treble hooks on braid. Braid has very little to no stretch, which can easily rip hooks out of a bass’ mouth when using a rod action that is too heavy. The only time I use “heavy” rods when fishing braid and treble hooks is when throwing large swimbaits or over-sized topwater lures.
Braid can save an angler a lot of money. When taken care of properly, it can be on a reel for 6 months or more. Be sure to purchase a bottle of KVD line lube and use before, during and after each session.
I have thrown buzzbaits on braid for a long time. Wake baits, walking lures and poppers also perform exceptionally well when thrown on braid.
20-30lb SpiderWire Stealth with a 12″, 15lb, monofilament leader works well for the majority of my topwater baits. The leader will prevent the braided line from catching on the hooks and draws more strikes in clear water. The main line and leader size can be changed for different lure sizes and situations. A 7’1″ 13 Fishing Omen Black rod in medium action is my choice for this presentation.
The setup I use for jerk baits is very similar to that of my topwater lures. The main difference is line/leader size and length. I only use 20lb SpiderWire Stealth for the main line. I use a 6’10” M 13Fishing Omen Black rod. The leader however, is a whole different story.
Some days fish want a jerkbait to suspend, other days more strikes will come from a rising or sinking bait when paused. A 3ft, 12lb fluorocarbon leader is a good starting point and what I use most of the time.
When a slow rise is drawing more strikes I will decrease my leader length and increase the leader size to 15lbs. Since braid floats, the shorter leader causes the lure to float slowly.
When targeting deeper fish with a jerk bait I use a longer and lighter leader. This is also a good change to make in super clear water where the invisibility of fluorocarbon is needed.
Yes, crank baits, on braid. This technique is the most simple for me to explain. Yet, it can also be the most frustrating.
Remember earlier when I talked about rod choice? It is imperative that you use a rod designed only for crankbaits when using braid. A rod that is too heavy will not allow the fish to inhale the lure and will also cause fish to “jump off”. Rods that are too stiff can cause more snags as well.
Cranking rods are “whippy”, casting crankbaits on 20lb braid(which is my choice for all crankbaits), with a light flexible rod can cause the line to over run and stop the cast short. The “fix” to this problem is letting the rod do the work, much like a fly fisherman. Less is more. Once you get the casting technique down you will realize that it is possible to put cranks in places that you never have before with very little effort. Casting distance will also be increased with less effort.
As mentioned, I only use SpiderWire Stealth 20lb when throwing crankbaits. Most of the time I tie the lures to the braid. Although in some situations a fluorocarbon leader is necessary. A 12″ leader reduces snags when fishing around a lot of wood. I have caught many fish with no leader in super clear water but I sometimes use 3ft of fluoro when the fish are finicky.
Currently, I am using a custom 7′ cranking rod for shallow and medium diving lures and the same rod in 7’6″ for deep diving crank baits. The 13Fishing “Crankenstein” 7’11” Cranking Rod is my choice for oversized deep divers such as the Strike King 10XD. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Envy Black Cranking rods when they hit the market.
Remember: When cranking with braid you have to use a flexible rod. This will allow the fish to load up and really get the bait. When you are sure a fish has your crankbait, hit ’em like they owe you money! Leaning into them won’t get the job done with these types of rods.
Give braid a try! The sensitivity, casting control and line durability will put more fish in your boat!