Braided fishing line is a game changer when it comes to successful angling in deep (50-ft or more) saltwater bottom fishing scenarios. Off the Northeast coast, this type of fishing is summer time action at its finest with big fluke, jumbo scup, and humpback sea bass usually all rounding out an angler’s daily catch. This fun type of fishing has a dedicated, hard core cadre of anglers that love to seek out,and catch these tasty bottom dwellers. Much of the better action with these three species occurs in strong currents that occur over a hard rocky bottom. Using braided line is often the key to catching success under such scenarios.
Years ago, anglers made do with monofilament line basically because that’s all they had to fish with. The monofilament line worked. However, the inherent stretch of the line made it very difficult for some anglers to keep contact with the bottom. This usually resulted in poor catches for the angler at day’s end. Another handicap of monofilament is that compared to braid line, mono is a much thicker line. This thickness results in more sinker weight needed to keep contact with the bottom. Fishing with extra heavy sinkers just to feel the bottom will also result in a reduced catch bag at the end of the day.
Braided line with its hyper sensitivity and no stretch at times makes it seem unfair to the fish we seek to catch.I recently tried to go old school and fished 20-pound monofilament in 70-feet of water for big humpback sea bass. The first thing I noticed is that with my usual 30-pound braided line, I could easily feel the bottom with an 8-ounce sinker. However, with the 20-pound monofilament line I had to bump the sinker weight to 12-ounces just to feel the bottom…ugh. I also had to constantly mind my line to make sure all slack was out of the line in order to feel the bites on my clam baited high low rigs. Even then I missed many bites simply because of the “dull” feel the mono gave me. When I did feel a bite and it was time to set the hook, no longer did a quick flick of the wrist do the job. Often, I had to swing hard and have my rod tip travel close to 3-ft before I felt my hook make purchase in the mouth of a chunky sea bass. In short fishing with monofilament was a lot of work with lots of missed bites and opportunities.
Eventually, I switched back to braided fishing line. The bites then felt like electric shocks, and all I had to do was swing my rod tip 6-inches and I was hooking sea bass and porgies one after another. I did a similar experiment while trying to fish a bucktail for fluke in deepwater. However, this experiment ended quickly when I could not even feel my 4-ounce bucktail touching the bottom. I then switched to a braided line outfit with a 4-ounce bucktail. I made 3-jigs with the same 4-ounce bucktail and hooked a 6-pound fluke almost immediately.
Braided line will very often make you a better angler under many assorted angling scenarios. In my opinion, I believe this is doubly so when it comes to fishing in deepwater for assorted bottom dwellers that can easily clean your baited hooks in an eye blink.
— By Capt. Tom Mikoleski
Captain Tom Mikoleski is the successful fishing charter captain of the Grand Slam who sails out of Montauk, NY for trophy striped bass, doormat fluke, jumbo porgies, humpback sea bass, and monster sharks. Captain Tom is the author of Bass Buff — A Striper Fishing Obsession Guide