As mentioned on the page on braided fishing line there are a lot of advantages to using braided line such as increased casting distances, better bite detection and the ability to cut through tide. However, when it comes to fishing with braided line many anglers are put off by the cost, as a spool of braided line from one of the main manufacturers such as Spiderwire or Ultima can cost £15-30. This is quadruple the cost of the equivalent monofilament, so it is understandable that when anglers have invested so much money in line they want to ensure that they do not lose the line to snags or other mishaps – losing a few rigs or spinners in a fishing session is acceptable, losing two £20 spools of braided line is a lot harder to take!
Ways to Avoid Losing Braided Line
Using a monofilament shock leader with braided line in important as this leader provides some stretch (which braided line lacks) and will absorb some of the strain of casting. While a 15lb monofilament mainline attached to a 60lb monofilament shock leader will almost always snap at the mainline/leader joining knot when pulling for a snap the same is not always true of braid. Quite often the strength of braid will mean that strong braid attached to a strong shock leader will snap somewhere along the braided line rather than at the shock leader joining knot. This only has to happen a few times to put an angler off using braided line for life due to the costs incurred. However, anglers can set up their equipment in ways which increase the chances of retaining braided line when pulling for a snag.
In the pictures above Set Up 1 shows a braided line and monofilament shock leader connected in the conventional manner. This set up will work fine for casting and reeling in fish (and many anglers successfully use this set up). However, if the weight or rig becomes snagged there is no guarantee than the line will snap at the mainline/shock leader joining knot – it could snap near the reel meaning the angler will have lost most of their braided line. For this reason anglers can use Set Up 2 which is similar but incorporates a section of weaker monofilament between the mainline and shock leader. This will effectively provide a weak link section which will snap first if the weight or rig becomes snagged, while also incorporating a leader to absorb the force of casting. While this second set up is more fiddly and means that overall the line is weaker it does protect the expensive braided line and means that the braid will be retained if snags are encountered. In this set up the standard shock leader to mainline knot can be used.
Update: If anglers are fishing rough ground marks where snags are likely to be encountered on a regular basis this weak link set up should not be used. This is because every snag will see the line break at the weak link and anglers will have to tie on a new shock leader every time, plus there are the environmental issues of leaving numerous shock leaders in the sea. A different set-up, such as one which incorporates a 30lb main line straight through rather than braid and a leader, would be a better choice when fishing rough ground marks.