Getting a Line on
Spectra Super Braids









Types of line used in Great Lakes trolling

Braid Aid

Spectra Super Braid fishing lines were first introduced in the early to mid 1990s.  This new tool more, or less revolutionized the way we fish by allowing divers to reach depths of plus 100' feet. 

This was never possible mono, unless you added a pound of lead in front of your divers many of us did back in the day when mono was standard issue for the Great Lakes Fleet.  Thin and strong, Spectra lines soon found favor with all anglers everywhere.  

Most Super braid lines all have one thing in common.  That being, the line is made from woven Spectraź fibers developed by the Honeywell Company.  Technical name for this stuff is UHMWPE. It's made from long chains of polyethylene that can support high tensile strength. 

Wikipedia knowledge base was the reference source for the above.

Holding the Line on the Super Braids

Fill to the top of the spool

Spectra lines do not stretch much.  I've read 2 to 5 percent and that's a heck of lot less than mono.  No stretch properties is plain wonderful and lends itself for deep trolling with less line belly/blowback when used for deep downrigger trolling (140'-200'+).  Lack of elasticity allows you to quickly get the fish on a direct-drive tight line.  Resulting in better hook penetration, boosting the your bite vs. landing ratio.

Super braids when used in conjunction in your diver program will allow divers top reach depths to, and exceeding 100'.  Extremely valuable for summer fishing when the thermocline is generally deep.  Splicing on a 15' to 30' leader of 30# mono works like a dream with Slide Divers.  This allows a longer lead than the static length Dipsy Divers are plagued with.  Put aside your line shyness thoughts if you're using an attractor program.  Meat rigs and flies are all tied on 40 to 50# test and the fish bite on it ...right?

All good things comes with a downside.  Braided super lines do not have the cushioning, soft shock-absorber effect of forgiving monofilament.  Gentle rod handling with no violent hook-sets will pay dividends when using minimal stretch braid fishing lines.

Progressive Tension

Compressed Braid

This is something I do not fully understand, but the way it's been explained ...the continuous wraps inside a baseball, or golf ball where each overlaying wrap tightens up down to the core. 

This explains why there's no reels have ever built with plastic spools. The photo at the top of this paragraph shows the braid towards the bottom of the spool as been compressed from tension. 

Bigger is Not Always Better!

I've heard some proudly proclaim, "I use 50, or 80 pound test braid!"  This is an flawed belief, cuz bigger is not better when it comes to the diameter of the fishing line you're dragging thru the water. 

The simple fact is, thicker just more water resistance & less depth attained with your divers, or more blow back to contend with on your downriggers.  Then, this turns into a self defeating conundrum of the reasons why you went to thinner diameter super braided string in the first place.

Get Neat with Heat

Melting the end

Melting the ends of super braid will prevent unraveling and help a knot never slip.  Spectra fibers melts at 152 degrees Celsius. 
The equivalent of 305.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Melting can be done with a good hot soldering iron too, but matches and lighters should be onboard for jobs like this, or melting ferrule cement for gluing rod tip-tops back on.

Protect the knot with your thumbnail and let a lighter, or a match singe/melt the ends together.  Keeping in mind all Spectra Fiber line is woven like cable from many tiny threads.  Not melting these ends will result in a raggedy fanned-out frayed looking knot tag end.

Spooling Up

All Super Braid is
Wasting Money

Partially Fill with Mono Before Adding Braid

When spooling up with expensive braid use mono as a backer.  This is a helluva lot cheaper than filling the entire spool.  Besides, the bottom section will never see use anyways. 

During my long tenure (1983-2003) as charter skipper on the Great Lakes of Michigan, Huron and Erie I've had customers land King Salmon the best part of 35 pounds.  Never did any fish register on a reel's line counter more than 750' of line and that was with a 330' head start with line off the reel to the diver.  So, deceased line capacity presents no problem.

I'm sure you've heard big stories about people couldn't turn fish and just kept peeling line are just that: stories!  Stories pertaining a foul hooked fish.  A 15 pounder hooked in the middle of the back is like trying to drag a log in side ways.  If you suspect a foul hooked fish stop the boat, pull lines and back towards the fish if possible.  This will save time in trying budge an immoveable object. 

It's a Not!

Blood Knot Splice
Braid to Mono

Blood Knot

Make 6 turns contrary to the above knot demonstration

In this day and age there's absolutely no excuse for not having a good knowledge base on several types knots.  The knots I've used most are the easiest tie, at least for my fingers.  Trilene, Palomar, Blood Knots, along with knowing how to snell will cover all the usual bases in our Great Lakes fishing. 

On my Great Lakes Info Page there web gateways to Albright, Crawford, Uni-Knot and Improved Clinch knots.  If you Google "fishing knots" there's a bunch of websites offering video instructions.  The winter off-season is a great time to practice knots that costs little to nothing, only your effort.  Take time to learn the correct name with each knot.  Treat knots with the respect they deserve, cuz it's your last hands-on contact point to make sure your terminal tackle does not fail.

Cortland Spectron

Cortland's 35# test Black Spot Spectron 
  Thin .010" diameter

I used this line since at least 1994 for good rationale.  Like it's strong as goat rope, lasts for multiple seasons and most importantly does not break!  I've tried many brands and never seen the diver depth, or serviceability this fine string offers.

You can find cheaper.  Remember the cheaper will cost you a bunch more the first time your bargain brand line breaks and you drop a diver/flasher or flasher/meat rig to the bottom of the pond.  Power Pro 30# has failed me. 

Fireline? I could never even get close to the same depth, but a least the Fireline is not as breakage prone as Power Pro.  PP in 50# test does not break, but then you run into the wall of diameter vs. strength issues limiting depth vs. line out.

Spectron can be purchased in 1200 yard spools and my webstore: for .08 cents a yard.

The main reason behind selling this line is, because I use it!

Loose Ends

1.  Never run braid directly to any rotational flasher.  Braid is too flexible and will wind up and break off.  Mono will not.

2.  Leader sections of mono will cushion the fight when the fish is approaching the netting zone.

3.  Trilene knot for attaching a swivel to braid has work just fine.  Some brands recommend a Palomar.

4.  .010 skinny diameter of super braids will not take abuse. Check for frays and nicks often.

5.  There is no magic bullet to explain diver depths.  Do this on your own by hitting bottom and recording results.

6.  Attractors effect diver depth attained with braid, compared to running a clean no attractor  presentation.

7.  Braid can be hard on a rod's line guides, check with a Q-Tip to make sure there's no cracks, or grooves in the line guides.

8.  Don't be hesitant about splicing mono to braid as a leader for rigger usage.  Practice makes perfect.

9.  Braid can be reversed to another reel for added line life.

10.  Beware of plankton that can jam ball bearing swivels making line twist a real and present problem.

11.  Good Luck and thanks for stopping by!

Completed on 2/15/09 by Capt. John King

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