Not only does braided line float, but it is also the only style of the three most popular types of fishing line that does float. That’s an important consideration, and one of the main reason bass anglers prefer braided line to monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line.
Why Does Braided Line Float?
Concrete boat contests, yes boats made of concrete have had American and world championships for over three decades, you can make almost anything float if it doesn’t absorb or take on water.
Braided fishing line is constructed of a variety of materials, most often from fibers of artificial materials like Dacron, Spectra, or micro-Dyneema. None of these materials absorbs water.
Braided line is as its name implies, braided from smaller strands of fibers. When these strands are twisted together to form 10-pound, 20-pound, or huge 100-pound test braid, there are microscopic air pockets tied into the weave along with the fibers. This creates buoyancy and allows the braided line to float.
Braided line comes out of the factory with a special coating that repels water, keeping those tiny air pockets pristine. Many anglers use braided line buoyancy as a gauge to determine whether they need to replace that braided line or have a few more trips to the lake remaining in it.
As braided line ages, the protective coating is slowly worn away. Sometimes it’s ultraviolet radiation from the sun breaking down the coating, other times it’s all those sharp rocks you drag it across when walleye fishing.
The very nature of braided line is attuned to fishing with sharp underlying structure. Braided line resists the tears and cuts that weaken or sever monofilament and fluorocarbon line. In the process, many anglers forget that the line is not unbreakable, just break-resistant.
Many big fish have snapped old braided line on hard strikes.
The first time you notice your braided line beginning to sink, it’s time to take some fresh line off the spool and wind on some brand new line.
They do make a special braided line that sinks, but bass anglers have limited use for that type of line with all the choices you have in monofilament and fluorocarbon line.
Why Does Fluorocarbon Line Sink So Quickly?
Why did the Titanic sink so quickly? Because it took on water. Fluorocarbon does the same thing, it absorbs water as soon as you cast out on the lake or river and begins to sink immediately.
Does Monofilament Sink Too?
Monofilament offers a bit of a transition between the floating ability of braided line and the quick sinking fluorocarbon variety.
Monofilament has a bit of water resistance but once it’s in the water, it begins to absorb moisture. As the water seeps into the monofilament it gradually gets saturated and begins to sink.
You’ve probably noticed this out on the water. Your monofilament line stays on the surface for a few minutes if your bait is stationary, but in a little while, you can’t find the line.
You find yourself reeling in line just to see if the bobber will pop a bit since the monofilament has disappeared under the surface of the water.
What are the Benefits of Floating Braided Line?
Bass aren’t deep-feeding fish most of the time. You will find them in deeper water on lakes or ponds that heat up during the late summer months, but most of the time you’ll find these aggressive, apex predators hanging out in just a few feet of water in heavy cover.
Lily pads and stands of cattails on lakes across the nation hold many big largemouth bass just waiting for a chance to rip an unwary mouse, baitfish, frog, crawdad, or nightcrawler to bits.
Incidentally, some of the best lures for largemouth are surface lures that mimic mice, baitfish, frogs, crawdads, and nightcrawlers.
Having a line that floats with these surface lures allows a skilled angler to recreate the actions of one of these desperate creatures trying to avoid being the evening meal for a big largemouth.
If your line sinks and you’re trying to do a quick retrieve with a buzz bait, or are jerking, jigging, or drop sinking a bait designed to hover near the surface, the action on that lure changes as the line sinks.
Instead of pulling along naturally on the surface, the first crank on your reel pulls in the slack from the sinking line, making the lure dip before it moves across the surface of the water.
We might not notice the subtle difference between a jitterbug dipping in front before it rights itself and skips across the water, but a largemouth will. They’ll notice the change every time you try that move with a sinking line.
Fish, especially predatory fish like largemouth bass, pike, and muskie, are attuned to the action of bait on the surface. They know what they’re looking for.
If it seems strange to them, they’ll just let it pass, that’s why some anglers catch fish all day while the guy standing next to them in the boat doesn’t get a strike. It’s all in the presentation.
Braided line gives you an advantage when it doesn’t sink. That lure floating on the surface is connected with line that has the same buoyancy.
As you reel in braided line it stays on the surface, pulling the lure naturally behind it.
It’s much easier to match the sporadic swimming motion of a frog with braided line connected to a lure, surface spinner, or popper than it is trying to adjust the motion with a line that doesn’t float.
When you consider the strength per diameter size of braided line, combined with its durability, abrasion resistance, and most importantly, its ability to float, why would you use anything else when bass fishing?
Braided line used to be available only in solid black, but new designs change the color to match the green or blue of many lakes.
There is even a style of braided line that is almost as transparent as monofilament.
Your options with braided line provide a much better chance of attracting largemouth bass with surface lures.
Even if you’re still fishing with a worm and bobber, the braided line is easier to keep taut as it floats, allowing for faster reaction time in setting the hook.
Braided line lasts longer, it has a built-in warning system telling you when it’s time to replace it in its buoyancy and you can spool more of it on a reel than monofilament since it has a smaller diameter for the same pound-test rating.
Float on over to your sporting goods store and buy a spool or two. The bass won’t notice until they’re on the hook.