The unique qualities of braided line make it a great "tool in the toolbox" for catching speckled trout and redfish.
Braided line is sensitive, because it has no stretch, and its superb strength allows thinner diameters, so we can pack more line onto our spools and make quality casts.
Naturally, braid is the "go to" for Louisiana's inshore anglers.
But like anything else, it does have a few issues to be aware of ….
Cons of braid
It also saws into wood, tangles the easiest, digs into itself on the spool, requires a backer, cuts into rod guides, slips through hook eyes and can very easily cut your hand.
All of these things can be amended in one way or another, but the most annoying aspect of braided line has got to be that it’s a total pain to cut.
Thought it's not dentist-recommended, cutting monofilament or fluorocarbon only requires a sacrificial incisor — but not braid.
Gnaw all you want, and the braid will win.
Even the "cutter" on standard pliers is useless, and usually they get replaced with aftermarket pliers featuring razor-like blades for clean cutting.
They work, but the blades eventually dull and need replacing. If not, the result is a frayed end that doesn't thread well.
Braid knots are just obnoxious — so small they sometimes stay wrapped around the hook eye where they can't be reached by cutters.
Leaving it there isn't acceptable, as few things look goofier than an eye with frayed knots on it.
A new solution
A bassin' trip to Toledo Bend revealed to me the most ingenious way to handle this dilemma of braided line.
See, I had made the trip with inshore fishing guide Captain Matthew Whitman, of Whitman's Guide Service (call at 504-940-4120).
We had a blast exploring "the Bend" and learning from one another, though it was our first time fishing together.
While I struggled with a pair of pliers, I watched Captain Matthew whip out a lighter and sizzle the braid off the hook eye, all in one swift motion.
It was so obvious — but I had somehow missed it all these years.
It's ingenious, really. All the problems with cutting braid I mentioned earlier are solved by a lighter that costs $1 — not a $30 set of pliers.
And to top it off, the line can't even fray because it's cauterized by the flame.
Using a lighter is a great tip that may help you out in a pinch, or simply make you look cool in front of your fishing buddies.
Yet I feel the most important thing to learn here is not the inshore utility of a lighter, but the advantage of a good angler's network.
It's good to make fishing friends — and even better to maintain an open mind when fishing together.
I do, and as a result I get to assimilate their knowledge, becoming a better inshore angler and putting more fish in the boat.
If you have an open mind and desire to learn more, there may be a thing or two to discover at my website, Louisiana Fishing Blog.
Tight lines, y'all.