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OK, I'm an old stick in the mud, dont like 'change for change sake', however, I'm not so much of a die-hard that I will not try something or equaly, go my own direction if it works for me!

My main method of fishing is from a boat of Harwich 'boat casting' in 20-60ft of water. I like to use light tackle with 'feel'. Favourit rods Abu Suveran 7'9" 12/20 and 20/30 boat rods, use them as casting rods!! as I said, "they work for me", and I like Shamano 10-12-15lb low stretch Techinium line.

The question is, 'Braid'??? . . . I tried it 3-4 years ago, had problems with knot strength, seemed to strangle its self, and break? Is it worth trying again, looking at 'Whiplash and Fireline'? Alderny Angling seem to do a good deal?http://www.alderneyangling.com/rods.htm.

I'm not unhappy with what I use, but is there any millage in looking at braid, especially as my area and preferred methods tend towards boat casting in all its guises? One especialy likes casting out the back of the boat (down tide), allows use of lighter leads, seems to produce as good results (if not better?) as the more usual uptide cast?, even on some of the shallower 10-20ft marks I favour in the winter.

There is also drifting the river for bass, great fun, although there are a lot of schoolies these days?

What do you think; 'Braid, or no to Braid'? ET's OPO
 
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Drifting, freelining (almost - we use a flurocarbon trace), floatfishing in deep water and standard downtiding I would say braid everytime.

Boat Casting.... I know some like it and use it, but why change to mono when it works well and the resistance from the mono is actually required (maybe not with a downtide cast).
 

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I would say it will increase your enjoyment in the fight but you could loose more fish.
I would try and get a longer through action rod?

I only use nylon for uptiding and shore fishing.

BRAID GOT TO BE!
 

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I would say it will increase your enjoyment in the fight but you could loose more fish.
I would try and get a longer through action rod?

I only use nylon for uptiding and shore fishing.

BRAID GOT TO BE!

'Longer, through action rod' hear what you say, but, as I said, the light Suveran boat roads have an action that is so 'intimate' when a fish is on. I have tried everything from 10ft down, they are all stored in my shed!!! The next best is the through action Greys 'Longboat' 15lb 8'6", and I am shaping up to try my personalised, hand built ALBA/Conoflex Trilogy 6lb blank. Had a little bit of action with it last year, looking forward to this season and no incumbencies.

I know my taste/use of rods is not to every ones liking, (you should see my modified butt/reel seat arrangement!). I am happy with the rods I use, its the thoughts on braid, brand and use I'm really interested in. So many years of doing things the same old way?? I'm not a 'tackle tart' so one tends to find things pass one by? Method, thats where I am happy to try new, and I see modern braid as affecting method?

ET's OPO
 

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You can compromise (if more feel during the fight is what you are looking for, but not the bite-detection that braid offers downtiding in medium & deep water) :-

get an extra-low-stretch mono.
The one that I am impressed by is Diamond Illusion (avaialable from Rok-Max of Truro) - extremely low stretch but not quite as "brittle" (or low shock/impact strength) as many other low-stretch monos.

It is roughly speaking halfway between mono and braid in both advantages and disadvantages:-
diameter like a low-dia mono
abrasion resistance like a tough mono
limpness/wiriness - judge for yourself

cost midway between Technium and braid

stretch nearer braid than mono (about half that of Technium Ace)
shock-resistance nearer braid than mono
knot strength good with good knots (maybe less than premium mono with asimple 3- or 4-turn grinner, but much closer to mono than to braid)

Another one that may be good (and is cheaper than Diamond Illusion) is Shimano Speedmaster sea (available for £10 per 500m spool from Mainwarings of Sketty, but that offer may only be for the 17lb 0.30mm and 22lb 0.35mm)

I have used braid for boatcasting and - except for the feel of the fight - I think it is no better except in 120 feet or more (the deepest one would be likely ever to 'uptide' ) and/or an absolutely 'screaming' tide yet no loose weed
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Drifting, freelining (almost - we use a flurocarbon trace), floatfishing in deep water and standard downtiding I would say braid everytime.

Boat Casting.... I know some like it and use it, but why change to mono when it works well and the resistance from the mono is actually required (maybe not with a downtide cast).
Tom, Like the idea of freeline drifting . . . . ?

Mmm, boat casting with braid? I think Fireline is thicker than some braid, although considerably thiner than mono? One has the idea of using lighter grip lead in an equivalen situation, say 4oz insted of 6oz, 3oz replacing 5oz and lighter rod tips, as I have in mind with the Alba/Conoflex 6lb'er? The Suveran tips are very light and sensative and I would think suit the situation as well?

Et's OPO
 
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Tom, Like the idea of freeline drifting . . . . ?

Et's OPO
Set yourself up with a nice long drift over mixed ground between 1m and 5m deep.
Catch the start of the flood tide with a rising sun, a bucket full of live mackerel and a 12lb flurocarbon trace of fairly long length to the tiniest of swivels that will run through the rings without too much hassel.
Attach the mackerel via it's snout to a wide gape 6/0 and gently lob the whole lot via your lovely light spinning rod (or Alba / Trilogy 6lb class)and baitcasting reel or palm sized multiplier.
Stick in rod holder on very light drag and ratchet or baitcaster engaged and wait for an ear piercing screaming noise that usually happens shortly after a short sharp tic tic tic.
Bow to the fish, engage gear and lift firmly, but slowly.
Wind in another 10lb er and start again.

...It really is that easy :clap3:

If you don't get a take by the end of your favourite fishy drift, wind in very slowly with a Pike style sink and draw. Place polaroid sunnies over your eyes and watch as three or four sandy coloured backs with silver sides squabble over whose going to eat the mackerel only to be outdone by a big double which launches itself clear of the water from out of nowhere, full of intent and anger with flared gills it steams off at lightning speed, virtually snapping your rod and smashing your terminal gear to pieces after a slightly too tightly set drag.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Set yourself up with a nice long drift over mixed ground between 1m and 5m deep.
Catch the start of the flood tide with a rising sun, a bucket full of live mackerel and a 12lb flurocarbon trace of fairly long length to the tiniest of swivels that will run through the rings without too much hassel.
Attach the mackerel via it's snout to a wide gape 6/0 and gently lob the whole lot via your lovely light spinning rod (or Alba / Trilogy 6lb class)and baitcasting reel or palm sized multiplier.
Stick in rod holder on very light drag and ratchet or baitcaster engaged and wait for an ear piercing screaming noise that usually happens shortly after a short sharp tic tic tic.
Bow to the fish, engage gear and lift firmly, but slowly.
Wind in another 10lb er and start again.

...It really is that easy :clap3:

If you don't get a take by the end of your favourite fishy drift, wind in very slowly with a Pike style sink and draw. Place polaroid sunnies over your eyes and watch as three or four sandy coloured backs with silver sides squabble over whose going to eat the mackerel only to be outdone by a big double which launches itself clear of the water from out of nowhere, full of intent and anger with flared gills it steams off at lightning speed, virtually snapping your rod and smashing your terminal gear to pieces after a slightly too tightly set drag.


Yep Tom . . . gona have some of that!!!!!! Ever tried it with king rag or sand eel? Mackie's are a bit hard to come by up her Harwich way, bucket loads in the Thames off Southend but 30 miles North, its a bit hit and miss! Perhaps pout or whiting might be an option? Got it in mind in the river Stour as well use king rag?

Just been up the shed sorting the spinning gear and fly tackle, 2007 is gona be a great year??? provided I can keep my knee going, and sort an ingrowing toe nail!!!:cry: Off work today because of it, hobbling to the docs in 15 mins to see if he has any suggestions? The dam thing keeps me awake at night!!! knock the toe and the air is ***!!!*** very blue!!

ET's OPO
 
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The downside to rag is that you'll get junk fish too, but they should all work well as live bait! Pout is often superb, wrasse can be, even blennies.
Sandeel is top notch and will catch like it is going out of fashion, but will often get the smaller fish. The tiddlers (sub 5lb) whilst they will go for a one foot long mackerel you'll rarely hook up and you will find you get a much better average size with a BIG bait.

As the water depth gets deeper we then move over to the fantastic float fishing technique (floats Jim, just not as you know it) that can be used in anything up to 35m of water. This was developed by Rob Thompson (skipper of Shogun) and some of his mates and they kindly showed me it last year.
I am a real novice at the technique, but it is awesome fun, requires braid and is very clever. Do a search and you may find some stuff I wrote about it last Summer.
Alternatively flick back to around August's Boat Fishing Monthly and Rob Thompson describes it well. Try it, it's fantastic, but takes a bit of getting used to (I haven't sussed it yet although I've grasped the principals) as it kind of goes against the grain of why the float is there in the first place...
 

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Stick to the mono, braid will lose you fish in our area. Also creates probs when trying to "set". We have set it against mono in practice and the mono outfishes it three to one re hook ups.
 

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Stick to the mono, braid will lose you fish in our area. Also creates probs when trying to "set". We have set it against mono in practice and the mono outfishes it three to one re hook ups.

"trying to 'set' " is that getting the grip lead to grip, while there's a bow of line (being let out) just after casting ?
 

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"trying to 'set' " is that getting the grip lead to grip, while there's a bow of line (being let out) just after casting ?
I can understand the 'set' problem, the pressure created on the grip wires by the line is absorbed to a degree by the 'give' in the line, creating a long steady pull? As I said at the beginning, I am happy as things are, but wanted some feed back, making sure I'm not missing out. I am beginning to think that in this area, the shallow water favours my present set up.

Although free lining has come out of it as an option? as well as inspiring me to look out the spinning and fly tackle for an early outing with the good weather in prospect?

Tom, float fishing in 35m of water'? dont buy BFM, or any other mags these days. I have a rather cynical view of 'media' in general!!!:g:

ET's OPO
 
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ET

Run a search as the technique is brilliant.
In truth, the typical depth is 12 to 15m, but the technique has proved successful in far deeper water.

Tom
 

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ET

Run a search as the technique is brilliant.
In truth, the typical depth is 12 to 15m, but the technique has proved successful in far deeper water.

Tom
Tom,
Ran a search on 'TomBettle float fishing', came up with a few 'standard?' float fishing threads in 'tackle discussions', the standard 'cigar float' in deep water sounds like real fun. But nothing out of the ordinary? Got any suggestions on what to search under??

ET's OPO
 
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I'll try and describe it again, but bare in mind I am only 1 season into usig this technique. It is phenomenal in the right locations, but I don't want to appear an expert on it. The guys who have developed the technique (Rob Thompson of Shogun and friends), have put a number of years work into getting it just right and even though they are masters of the technique they are still refining it.

The technique definitely works over reefs and rocky outcrops and also very well over undulating banks. I feel confident it will work over wrecks in up to 35m too.

Tackle:
Spinning Rod or Light / Med Carp rod or Barbel Rod (Your UK6lb class Alba will be spot on).
Either a baitrunner style reel or a palm sized multiplier.
Load the reel with 25 to 30lb braid and top that off with a mono leader of about 5lb less BS than the braid.
NB: If you are fishing in 10m of water then you need at least a 10m leader so that the float can slide freely.


Floats need to be BIG. They need to carry 3oz of lead and a lively mackerel. Big Cigar floats are OK, but I am struggling to find them with quite enough bouyancy. Cat fish floats are the mutz nutz, but at between £3 and £5 a throw they are pricey. Being a skin flint I have found "modelling eggs" on ebay at about 40p each. Drilled holes in them and araldited a small plastic tube in the hole to help it slide. The picture shows them clearly and the lines and numbers correspond with where they **** with that amount (in oz) of lead. Total cost is about 50p each.

Set up your sliding float exactly as you would normally, but with subtle differences.
If you know your average depth is 10m then set the floats stop knot at 9.75m. Remember to adjust for the tide and don't get too carried away with exact depths you simpy want to be very close to the bottom.

Instead of using a drilled bullet to **** your float, slide on a snap link swivel. This will allow quick adjustments of lead size as required. Your hook length needs to be a few lb less in BS than the mono leader and you should try and use about 3 or 4 feet of flurocarbon here.
Hooks? If you plan on returning plenty of fish then go with a 6/0 wide gape chemically sharpened hook. You aren't going to get quite as many hook ups, but they will be clean and the fish will swim back easily.
If you are planning on keeping your catch then use a 1/0 Mustad treble.

Joey mackerel are the best bait if available (I guess other baits will work too).
With a single hook simply pass the hook in through the mouth and straight out through the snout. With a treble, take one of the prongs and come down through the snout and out towards the front of the mouth.

The fishing:
The first thing to note if over a wreck or reef is that if you don't lose any tackle then you are fishing too shallow.
Your lead is set very slightly under depth so the live mackerel is at the bottom and will try and hide behind rocks and snags. Invariably if you get snagged, it will be the hook. The reason for the gradually reduicing BS of the various lines is so that which ever point is snagged you'll lose the minimum amount of gear (hopefully just a hook).
Over a bank, if you are too deep you will find the float is continually dragged under, so again you want to be a tiny smidge off bottom.

Set the boat uptide of your favourite Bassy spot. Knowledge of the area or the ability to read your conditions will help.
Lower your gear to the bottom and allow it to stream away from the disturbance of the boat by about 20 or 30 metres.
With the reel in free spool, but your thumb stopping line going out begin your drift in earnest.
Now this is where the technique begins to differ from standard float fishing.
You must try and remember that the float is simply a device to get your bait where you want it, it is only used as a bite indicator as a last resort (usually when you have ignored / missed all the other indications).

As you drift towards a particular hotspot (a rocky ledge or wreck?) your knowledge suggest that the Bass are likely to be hunting immediately behind it.
To get your tackle over the hotspot snag free is the trick and this is something I haven't really sussed. It involves a bit of lifting of the rod to try and raise your gear, a bit of help with the mackerel being obedient and a bit of luck too.

You have seen the fishy spot pass under on the fishfinder and used your skill to estimate when to clear the hotspot. Immediately the other side of the hotspot you need to spool off and keep spooling off for some time.
If after a further 20 or 30 metres you haven't had a take then place your thumb on the spool and continue the drift to the next hotspot when you would go through the process again or if your drift has finished, head up for another go.

The take:
This will often happen (4 out of 5 times?) as you are spooling line off at the hotspot.
It is the first indication that you are waiting for and this will be typically Bassy.
If you were to have your thumb on the spool you would feel a "WACK" and watch the float dive. Unless you are lucky you are likely to miss this fish as it will feel too much resistance. Remember that first wack is simply the Bass smacking the mackerel across the jaws with it's gills to stun it.
You would think that if in free spool you wouldn't notice this wack, but this is where the braid becomes essential. You may have anything up to 100m of line out and with mono you simply wouldn't feel a thing, but with braid, even in free spool you still have enough direct contact to "feel" that strike, albeit more of a twang than a wack.
After the first stun attack, the Bass will turn and take the mackerel confidently and the line will accelerate off the reel. Count to four or five whilst gently lifting the rod, engage the reel's gears, as the weight comes on lower the rod and lift into the weight of the fish as the line comes tight.

Hope that made some sense
Tom
 

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Thanks Tom, got that, I recon it will work anywhere where there is 'big rough ground' or big bottom features, almost regardless of depth?????

Looks like :sneaky2: I will be fishing the local favorit estuary marks this Sunday for the first time:rolleyes: we know the bass are there already, its winkling the better fish out that the fun bit. It has about 30ft of water with 10-15ft gullies and pinnacles, like mountains they are, and the surface disturbance is awesome as the tide gets a head up!!! The idea of drifting the bait so far from the boat:clap3: holding the float back river trotting style, then let it drop down again. Probably go for a few whiting as live bait?

Yes I know I am bastardizing the idea all ready, but in that situation I think its possible? Save the full blooded job until we go to the Galloper, Sunk or Gabbard, weather permitting, late May on wards???

ET's OPO
 
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Thanks Tom, got that, I recon it will work anywhere where there is 'big rough ground' or big bottom features, almost regardless of depth?????

Looks like :sneaky2: I will be fishing the local favorit estuary marks this Sunday for the first time:rolleyes: we know the bass are there already, its winkling the better fish out that the fun bit. It has about 30ft of water with 10-15ft gullies and pinnacles, like mountains they are, and the surface disturbance is awesome as the tide gets a head up!!! The idea of drifting the bait so far from the boat:clap3: holding the float back river trotting style, then let it drop down again. Probably go for a few whiting as live bait?

Yes I know I am bastardizing the idea all ready, but in that situation I think its possible? Save the full blooded job until we go to the Galloper, Sunk or Gabbard, weather permitting, late May on wards???

ET's OPO
ET

You'll probably find that any livebait will work well.

The guys that created the basics and have now (and are continuing to ) refined it are ex coarse anglers of the very highest calibre.

If you can see how it works yuo'll catch, but after a season of hit and miss attempts I am still trying to master it. Watching the guys was an utter revelation. They outfished me 5 to 1 and I was convinced I was exactly mimmicking them.
The trick is to recognise that first strike by the Bass and that is where the braid becomes essential. Without it you simply don't feel the bite with 100m out and even with it, it takes some getting used to.
I knew I was getting just as many hits as them as my mackerel were coming back with their jaws smashed to pieces (that's what the Bass do to stun their prey), but unless you feel the bite and instantly give line you are unlikely to hook up as the Bass will rarely give chase.

Remember that unless you snag occasionally you are not at the right depth.

Tom

PS: Seeing someone play out a very angry 13lb Bass on a spinning rod in a tide rip is almost as good as catching it yourself!
 

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ET

You'll probably find that any livebait will work well.

The guys that created the basics and have now (and are continuing to ) refined it are ex coarse anglers of the very highest calibre.

If you can see how it works yuo'll catch, but after a season of hit and miss attempts I am still trying to master it. Watching the guys was an utter revelation. They outfished me 5 to 1 and I was convinced I was exactly mimmicking them.
The trick is to recognise that first strike by the Bass and that is where the braid becomes essential. Without it you simply don't feel the bite with 100m out and even with it, it takes some getting used to.
I knew I was getting just as many hits as them as my mackerel were coming back with their jaws smashed to pieces (that's what the Bass do to stun their prey), but unless you feel the bite and instantly give line you are unlikely to hook up as the Bass will rarely give chase.

Remember that unless you snag occasionally you are not at the right depth.

Tom

PS: Seeing someone play out a very angry 13lb Bass on a spinning rod in a tide rip is almost as good as catching it yourself!
Thanks for the info Tom. I can see how it works, getting to grips with it, I can equally understand takes time. I remember when I was shown how to drift fish, it was so frustrating, I was out fished for a long time, and I consider myself reasonably proficient as an angler, after 55 years, frustrating or what:blink:

However, these days, I pass on the skills to friends and I am the one with the knowing smile as another fish comes over the side to my rod:clap3: Something I have perfected is the drift fishing on the Bass mark with mountains for a bottom. Using a small paternoster boom set 12" to 18" above a 1/2-1oz lead, it reduces the snags to almost nill and catches many more fish compared to conventional running or fixed rig hard on the bottom with the lead. Also find the traditional long trace does not work as well as a 2-3ft jobie?

Struggle with braid in this situation, the contact is so hard that recognising that first tap, tap before the 'bang' as a bass hits, its difficult to know which is fish and which is bottom? The bite tap!, tap!, gets your attention, rather than the small damped knocks and tweaks as the lead rolls over the bottom, the next one is a bang!! . . . bending light rod and screaming reel. If you are not ready this can be missed!

Its great fun, the schoolies are really good as well, provided the tackle is light, (enthusiastic juvaniles:clap2: ) And the occasional more mature fish really puts the light tackle to the test. Hoping to give it the first outing tomorrow. The word is the bass are up the river, we shall see? With the weather blowing up tomorrow its about all we can do. Going to have fly and spinners on board as well, might be a bit optimistic this early?

EY's OPO
 
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