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  1. #1

    A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Lately, I've taken up surf spinning again, and whilst I love braid and all its attributes for lighter work, I'm getting frustrated with it for distance work.

    Using a Shimano Aero 4000, mated to a 10ft graphite spin rod, running 20lb braid and a 20lb fluorocarbon leader, I'm getting a little sick of casting 30-40gm lures at the horizon, attached to around 10ft of leader only!
    That's right, the braid has snapped at the joining FG knot on the cast.
    It's happened a number of times, and I've recently been using the FG, as the albright suffered exactly the same issues. I highly doubt that my knot is unravelling, as there's a distinct moment in the cast when the impact occurs, and it can be felt through the rod. Unravelling knots don't make a distinct 'clunk'.
    Yes, the leader is a larger diameter than the braid, but with the slim profile of an FG knot, the issue should not arise - and doesn't on my single-handed gear.

    My question is...why? I know for a fact that many years ago, before braid, I could cast a 80gm sinker well over 150 yds, (distance measured), without mishap. We did it all the time when seeking landbased snapper, using 20lb main line, albrighted to 40lb leaders..
    It was always advisable then, to use a leader from the terminal tackle, back thru the rod and to have 2-3 wraps on the spool - so around 10-12ft of leader for a 10ft rod.

    Now it matters not what braid I use, (and I've tried plenty!), I get the same result, perhaps one time out of 20-30 casts. The break is easily felt on the release, so it's obvious that the FG knot is impacting one of the guides on the way out. The stripper guides are easily big enough, being 25's and 30's, so the issue should not be there, but is. The guides are fine, no chips or hairline cracks, and as I stated, it's happening with many differing braids - so not a dodgy batch.

    So...is it my casting style, or should I, as many others have, use a shorter leader...say, 60cm, and hanging only outside the tip guide?

    And has anyone tried those tapered leaders? Heavy at the tip, for casting stresses, but slimming down to a smaller diameter at the braid join.

    Sorry for the long post, but I'm frustrated, and have never had these issues with mono. But braid increases my distance, (especially when the lure's broken off!) And as we all know, the more distance, the more chance of a strike.

  2. #2

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Good quality guides are a must, especially the tip and super glue on the knot. I prefer the albright knot. I find I can tie it smaller and neater.
    Cheers.
    Bob.


  3. #3

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Thanks Bob, but I think we're talking at odds here. I run SiC guides, so there's not too much better, and I know that it's not the knot that's failing, but the fact that it's impacting so hard on either the stripper guide or next in line during the initial stage of the cast, which causes the braid to snap above the knot. I used to run albrights when using mono, many years ago, and I can;t recall ever having as many breakages as I do now. Always held well, with no need for superglue. When I started using braid for distance work, I experienced exactly the same issues by using abrights, (improved), as it's a knot I've used for 40 years. Experiencing breakoffs during the cast, caused me to seek a slimmer knot, and I settled on the FG - but lost 2 lures again today from the knot impacting the guides.
    I'm assuming either:
    A. My casting style is incorrect for graphite, (having grown up with hollow glass), or
    B. My leader is too heavy a diameter for the very thin braid, or
    C. I need to alter the length of my leader - either much shorter, or much longer.

    I often read in the UK forums of tapered leaders for surf casting. These leaders are about 7 metres long, and taper from the tip of about 50-60lb B/S, down to around 16-20lbs, to join the mainline. I've never run leaders of that length before, and wonder if they'd resolve this problem. Alternatively, some of the members from further north than me, may have experienced this before, and found a workaround.

  4. #4

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Robfish

    I have had the same problem in the past with the improved albright, it would break at the knot. I realised it was from the line passing through the guide and wearing the mono/fluoro down until it broke. I now only use double uni knot and or slim beauties. In your case I would definitely go with the double uni knot and a shorter leader as you will find the repeated casting through the guide is wearing the line until it breaks. I haven't used a FG before as I was dubious about it from the start, before everyone jumps in and tells me it is a greta knot and they have no problems with it, this is just my opinion.

  5. #5

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    I think we may be getting to the nub of it - the shorter leader may well be the answer. I guess I'm so used to using longer leaders for distance casting,(in the good old days, it was 30-40lb leaders of 5-6 metres, albrighted to a mono mainline of 18-20 lb.
    This was then used for casting up to 5oz of sinker and a bait, for landbased snapper.
    Always worked a treat, and very, very few castoffs. However, the mainline doesn't need that level of protection/cushioning now, as the braid we use is quite often a higher breaking strain than the leader - which is there more for invisibility, rather than cushioning a cast.
    I'd imagine that this is more of an issue now, with braid being so easy to abrade. Mono was and is, far more polished and slippery than braid, hence travel through the guides was never an issue, but braid's fine diameter leads to longer casts.
    I might just experiment with leaders of 60cm or so, and hanging outside the rod, so there's no risk of guide contact on a big cast.

  6. #6

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Is there any external factors like any rocks nearby or even a rough bit on the bail arm that me cause any friction. My Saltist 4500 is ok, but the bail arm is crap and the braid cuts small notches in it which has resulted in a few lost lures.

  7. #7

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    I'm not a surfcaster but I never have my leaders come all the way to the reel. You can definitely feel the connection hit the runners when you do - may not necessarily break but certainly costs distance and can be felt go through the runners IMO. I will typically run a leader of about a rod length so the knot is usually between the reel and the first runner for casting. Can't say for sure it's your problem but I have never had the same issue.
    "I soak the worms in rum. The fish love em and the worms die happy"
    "Alcohol is not the solution to your problems...................but then again, neither is milk"

  8. #8

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Whoofa - isn't it a shame that with the advances in tech these days, and the prices they charge for "braid-ready" reels, they can't include a "braid-ready" bail roller as well? It makes you kinda skeptical about all the research and "field-testing" that goes into a new reel design, doesn't it?

    Fortunately, that's not the issue here - nor is it rocks or abrasion, as on the weekend I was spinning an estuary I know well, and it's just a deep, sandy channel that fish traverse on certain tides.

    No, I feel more and more, it's the fact that wider spools create wider loops as the line peels off the spool, causing any knots to impact the sides of the stripper guide. The Shimano Aero 4000 has an overly-large diameter spool, (closer to an 8000 in diameter, just not capacity), and this may well be exaggerating the loop issues. Maybe I'll try the same setup, but with a typical 4000-sized reel, that has a smaller diameter spool, to see if the issue resolves itself. I'll continue to stick with the FG, as I've learned to tie it well, and it works really well on single-handed casting gear, and it does provide a slimmer profile.

    And again, despite technological advances, they've been unable to develop a guide which both channels the line, AND reduces line slap, unless the stripper guide is halfway up the rod, which then prevents the strength of the blank coming into play.

    Makes me think the old Alvey rod design was on the money after all!

    And Scottar...I'm definitely going to try the shorter leaders next trip - I think they're going to be a game-changer!

    So thanks to all for your help - it's caused me to think hard about the issue, and possibly narrow it down to a couple of areas to work on.

  9. #9

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Hokeydokes , not being any kind of a Guru on Lures , softies or even braid what i am thinking is happening is that the braid is the cause of your problemo especially using the FG knot and reason being is that the FG knot quallity is based on the fact that the braid actually is wound or looped if you wish to describe it that way around the mono when being done and as one pulls or there is tension over the braid to the mono is where it actually grabs and gets its holding strength..
    Dunno if ive described it properly but what i think is happening is that the braid actually cuts through the mono!! especially as there is a sudden burst of speed and pull on the cast and it clasps down on the mono and cuts through!!!...
    Possibly wrong i may be but cant think of anything else it could be and you may just have to either change the leader material you are using or Braid itself!!??...
    Know if instances where braid has actuall;y cut through anchor rope as a fish took a wrap and a run around the anchor rope and steamed off into the sunset ey ...

  10. #10

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Thanks Volvo - i know where you're coming from. Braid can be a dangerous thing at times. However, I feel that my problems stems from the fact that I can feel a definite 'clunk' - for want of a better descriptor, as the knot impacts the frame of the stripper guide. It's happened now on a couple of different rods, and has happened with FG's, albrights and slim beauties - so I guess it's not the knot. I reckon the excessive load generated by a cast IS a contributing factor, though. I'm 6' 3", 200 lbs and used to compete in tournament casting down here - (but that was what seems like 100 years ago!). Those days though, it was Ambassaduer 9000's, stripped of their levelwinds, with polished and lapped bearings, and fine diameter mono - joined to around 7-8 metres of shock leader. Braid was unheard of.
    And the more I think about it, the more I realize that the line leaving the spool on an overhead has nowhere near the 'coiling' effect that line coming off the lip of a spin reel does. And those coils, regardless of the size of the stripper guide, MUST impact the guide frame at some point. Maybe if the stripper was 6ft up the rod, the coils would have straightened out a little more.
    (But then, if I had a stripper 6ft away, I probably wouldn't be doing too much fishing! And the missus would DEFINITELY have something to say about it!).

    I have a feeling that if I need to run a heavier shock leader, I could do it out of 5 metres of 40lb braid, albrighted to my 20lb braid mainline, and finished off with a short 60-80cm of fluorocarbon to the lure for invisibility. The heavier braid would also be more gentle on the casting finger than the fine braid, too.

  11. #11

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    For what it's worth I would be running a longer leader up to 5-6m in length. If you go short and the knot isn't on the spool then there is a huge amount of force pulling that know apart during the cast. Maybe with a longer leader it may give your line time to settle and not slap through the guides so hard on the way out. I'm not really sure why or how this would effect the knot, but seems to be the only plausible option.

    I haven't run braid on my surf slug casting rods for years, did one season with it and lost more fish than I care to remember through pulled hooks, there just wasn't enough give, even with a generous shock leader. Went back to 4kg mono and sacrificed a small amount of casting distance (not much though) and haven't looked back. I use a 20pd mono casting leader of about 5-6m joined to the mainline with a double uni knot. Haven't tried an FG mono to mono, I'm not sure it would work, but I use the FG on all my other gear and have no problems with it. Even used it on heavy outfits targeting sharks from the beach and have had massive drag or 80pd standup gear getting monstered by 7-8ft noahs on the beach and the knot has held up without issue so I would recommend it to anyone.

    One other thing, there are a number of videos on the FG starting to circulate youtube now, some are purely correctional for identifying & resolving common problems encountered with this knot, might be worth checking them out just in case your knots have one of these very minor issues. The mistakes are easy to make and even easier to rectify if you go in with an open mind and don't decide up front that there is nothing wrong with your knots.

    Kev

  12. #12

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    How do you find the Aero 4000? Are you using the 5:8 ratio model? I'm looking for a new spinning reel for this tailor season. Previously had the daiwa saltist 4500 which did the job well but has a few issues that keep recurring. Was thinking about their newer model in the range (saltist nero) was just waiting for a few more bits of feedback and reviews to pop up on the net before committing. If it suffers the same premature death the standard saltist did, then I'll bypass it and look for something else.

  13. #13

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Thanks mate. I think I'm going to try an experiment with two identical setups - one with a longer leader, and one with a shorter leader. The casting forces generated are pretty horrendous - I've snapped 20lb F/C on the cast with 20gm lures in the past, so am currently running 30lb mono - it's a little more forgiving than F/C..
    The mainline is 10lb fireline, and breaks at 20-25lbs, so is nowhere near as fragile as the mono I used to use. If these don't work, I'm planning to retrofit the rods with oversize strippers - as the yanks do on their surf spin rods. 40 or 50mm. This should control the line slap on the cast...

    As for the Aeros? Love 'em! With that high speed retrieve, two spools, x-ship and large diameter spool, they really can cast! Mine currently holds 300m of 10lb braid plus backing - so capacity's no issue. And at 330gms, matched with a 10 ft graphite rod, means I can cast all day.

  14. #14

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Wonder if mounting a gopro on your rod will give you the answers you are looking for.
    Perhaps the best location for a new stripper.
    Maybe the line doesnt settle into "free feeding" as soon as we think.

    I think it would be rather interesting viewing.

    Cheers stu

    Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk

  15. #15

    Re: A question for the surfcasting gurus out there.

    Very interesting idea, Stu. Wish I had access to a gopro, or a few hundred to fork out on one, it would make for an interesting video.
    I have a strong feeling we're on the right track here. Personally, after building hundreds of rods commercially around 20-30 years ago, I'm inclined to think that modern strippers, (the guides, not the girls), aren't large enough. (The girls are fine just the way they are!).

    30 years ago, Jarvis Walker imported a Penn 'Pacific Stik' - a 7ft rod set up for larger spin reels for the USA market. The stripper was from memory, about 55-65mm diameter. Way bigger than anything commercially available except for Alvey rods. It was designed for distance casting slugs in the surf for bluefish - think tailor. In fact, most USA rods designed for casting with threadlines carried overly large strippers.

    The advent of graphite rods with faster recovery, wide-spool threadlines which exacerbate the coiling issues, narrow-profile guides, (even if they are SiC or Torzite, they still have frames) - all contribute to line slap on the cast. I've obtained some 50mm SiC guides which I'm going to install on my rods, and am going to make sure they're at least 90cm from the reel seat. It may well mean changing the positions of the rest of the guides too, and sacrificing a little of the blank's power, but that will be a small price to pay for NOT casting off slugs every 10th cast!

    I feel that in the past, glass rods with their more parabolic taper and slower recovery than today's graphite blanks, were more forgiving. It's a given that graphite has an appreciably faster recovery than fibreglass, and the extra tip speed generated means that any knots in the line are going to impact far harder than on a glass rod.

    And this issue doesn't come up all that often, as many fishos are still using their 12ft glass or composite rods for spinning - at least down here in Mexico, and by the virtue of the way those rods are made, the stripper is far enough away from the reel that the line slap doesn't occur. Their use of 40-50lb braid and 60-80lb leaders also contributes to less damage on the cast, too.

    Still love the idea of a gopro, though, particularly if it has high speed frame rates.

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