If there was one state that I would consider my home, when it comes to fishing, it would have to be Florida.
When I moved from California to Florida, to learn how to dissect heavily vegetated lakes, I didn't realize that I would develop such an affinity for fishing heavy cover. Now it is my favorite way to fish, and because of this, braided line has become a standard for my fishing, and I have learned to understand what separates good braid from poor braid.
I have put hundreds of spools of braid to the test over the years, and I have found some that I kept spooled on my reels for longer periods than others, but now I have found a new favorite that honestly caught me by surprise- the newly redesigned Vicious Braid.
I had tried the previous version of Vicious Braid, and was very pleased with the durability, but the color and the texture left a little to be desired. When I look for braid, I look for three things: durability, smoothness and a darker coloration. The new Vicious Braid knocks all these out of the park.
Make no mistake, durability is the most important factor when it comes to braided line (or any line for that matter). Braided line as a whole defines durability, however, there are weak links in braided lines that can turn a good braid into a liability- knots and where the line is "spliced".
When it come to the knot, that is all up to the angler, but I personally have had many, otherwise highly acclaimed lines, fail on a hook set because of a weak splicing process. This kind of failure is generally not even an issue unless you are using line below 50-pound test.
After months of testing in some of the most extreme cover situations on the California Delta, I can honestly report that I have not had a single breakage fishing this line, even with some of the lighter diameters- and I never once re-spooled.
Overall, I have found the durability of this line to be on par, and exceed, the best braid I have ever used.
As a self proclaimed punching freak, one of the biggest factors, when it comes to braid, is having a line that is smooth enough not to make much noise as it slithers through cover. This noise can alert fish to something out of the ordinary and give them a case of killer lock-jaw.
Vicious Braid is surprisingly smooth, and silent, when it contacts cover, and I was very happy with its performance in some of the noisiest cover, such as reeds and hyacinth.
This is a subject that is heavily debated, but it is something I feel strongly about- having a darker colored line.
When I am fishing braid, it is around grass, period. Braid is not my line of choice for any other cover type, though I do use it on all my spinning applications, but overall, if I'm fishing braid it is because I am fishing grass.
With that in mind, when the color of braid matters most, it is when I am flipping baits in front of a fish's face and when it is only a few inches from it's face, I want it to disappear in the shady landscape of the fish's grassy lair instead of sticking out like a glow-in-the-dark piece of dental floss.
Yes, you will catch fish with lighter colored braid, but I can promise you it matters, and when it comes to coaxing a strike from an overly skeptical lunker, color matters- and the new Vicious Braid has the formula right.
Overall, I can't be more excited with this new formulation, and you will most definitely be seeing this new Vicious Braid in action on future Sweetwater episodes.
Stay classy Sweetwater Nation!