Fishing Products that Pass the Test: June 2008

Everett and Pam Johnson
Fishing Products that Pass the Test: June 2008
Luresafety Wrap

Sometimes you happen onto a fishing product that is so simple yet makes so much sense you wonder why it took so long to hit the market. Luresafety Wrap is one of these.

Ever tried to squeeze past your console rod holders and been snagged in the shirt sleeve or pants leg? Worse — how many times has the hook found pay dirt in your hide?

I’ll never forget the day my buddy Pete came limping onto my porch clasping his left butt cheek to keep a full-sized Spook from skewering him in more places than it already had. Seems Ol’ Peter was bent over the gunwale to snap the Boga Grip on a good red when fate reminded him just how sharp a brand new VMC Cone Cut treble can be.

What about the times you had to shutdown during a rough bay crossing because somebody’s lure got loose and began swinging dangerously close to your head?

Luresafety Wrap puts an end to all of these. Made of flat spring steel encased in soft foam, Luresafety Wrap is designed to be clamped around your rod and lure and offers a quick and simple solution to a problem that has plagued fishermen for a long time. When not clamped on your rod, the console grab rail is a handy place to store it until needed again.

Pam and I picked up three Luresafety Wraps at the Houston Fishing Show this past March and have put them to the test. So far they’ve been as handy and worked as well as a pocket on a shirt. We feel confident our readers will enjoy using them too. Luresafety Wrap can be purchased online at or you can place telephone orders by dialing 713-203-2829.

What about braided fishing lines?

As I have stated previously in these product reports; our purpose in these presentations is to pass along information that can improve reader’s fishing experiences. The performance reports we offer are unsolicited and we receive no compensation. Further, you can bet your last dollar that we have used these products extensively and they work. There is no intent to describe any one product as the only offering within a category you should consider. So in keeping with that theme, we are first going to present a general discussion of braided fishing line, then we’re going to recommend three brands of braided line we have used successfully.

Before going further, though, I want to make a confession. I was a holdout, very close-minded, I hated the stuff. The braided lines that hit the market in the middle-90s soured me deeply. Casting distance was my biggest gripe, not to mention the backlashes I had to remove with a Boy Scout knife. The products available today are very different but, like I said, I was a hardhead. It took several trips with clients and friends hooking bites I couldn’t feel to soften my opinion. Noting that their casts were easily as long as mine tipped the balance in favor of another look.

The technical differences separating today’s braids from the early stuff are many and significant and I’m hardly qualified to discuss them. There are however two attributes of modern braid that are easy to understand; early braids were basically flat in cross-section and lacked the slick coatings of today’s lines.

Being round in cross-section, modern braids have far less tendency to dig into the lower wraps on the spool and it flows better off the spool and through the guides. The coatings that line manufacturers are putting on their lines today are super-slick. So slick in fact that I needed to learn some new knots to use them successfully.

The thing we like most about braid is the sensitivity that no-stretch brings to the party. It doesn’t take long before you can begin to detect the difference between ticking oyster shell, bumping a mullet or shad as you work through a raft of bait, or even having a single blade of grass foul your lure. While the plump thump of an aggressively striking fish can be detected with any line, light taps and soft pick-ups are telegraphed through braid like a jolt of electricity, so naturally we’re catching more fish.

Growing comfortable with braid does require a learning curve, though.

First, the knot slipping problem. For years we joined 20-pound mono leader to our main lines with a five-wrap blood knot. For joining mono leader to braid, don’t do like I did, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and learn the uni-to-uni knot if you do not already use it. When tying the uni-to-uni I make seven wraps of each line around the other and have eliminated all slipping and associated knot failures.

Soften your drag and ease up on the hookset! The first couple of days I used braid I was launching two and three pound trout skyward like ladyfish on steroids. Having become a bit wiser, I now set my drag to about half the tension I use with mono. Adjusting it tighter requires only the flick of a thumb on the star drag to fight a strong fish. When you have your fish close to hand, dialing the drag softer will greatly reduce short line pull-offs.

Braided line makes noise! The first time you hear your new braid singing through the guides when you fight a fish it’s like fingernails on a chalk board. Two things are going to happen, though, and they’re both good. The singing will subside somewhat as the line becomes broken-in. And since you’re going to be catching more fish; that objectionable noise will soon become sweet music.

Slow your presentations! Another thing you’ll need to learn is that your lures will require less rod tip action to make them dart and dive.

Whipping the rod tip as you probably do with mono brings another little problem. Tip wrapping, as I call it, occurs when a bit of slack line whips around your rod tip and cinches into a half-hitch. Learning shorter rod strokes and practicing better slack management is all it takes to eliminate this little headache.

No braided line discussion would be complete without mentioning strength, abrasion resistance, and how long this stuff lasts. I switched last July and have probably fished 100 days with nothing but braid. Hoping to learn which line I would like best, I filled one reel with Power Pro, another with Sufix, and a third with Stren, all with 20-pound test.

My fishing since July has taken me to many waters in search of many species and I am pleased to report that all three lines have performed flawlessly. Anytime a reel needed to go in for service I pulled the line off and spooled it into another. Finally, just ten days ago, while preparing for a Chandeleur Island trip, I retired all three lines and re-spooled with new braid.

During those many days of hard fishing I never suffered the first break-off, I never had line digging into the spool, no Boy Scout backlashes, and most importantly I’ve hooked a ton of bites I likely would have missed without it.

I’m sold. If you haven’t given braid an honest try, or maybe gave up in the learning curve, I urge that you try again soon. We are the best equipped generation of anglers that ever hit the water and to the engineers and manufacturers who strive to bring us better gear, I say, “Many thanks.”

As for a preference between Stren, Sufix, and Power Pro, take your pick… they’re all great!