The wind was blowing a little harder out of the south than I would have liked when I lowered the troll motor over the bow. After asking my clients whether they preferred a casting or spinning combination I handed each of them a rod with a five inch tail tied on the business end and returned to the front deck.

Much to my surprise they just stood there looking as though I had armed them with a Snoopy combo. “Are all of these reels filled with mono or fluorocarbon,” the Dad asked dejectedly as his son put his rod back in the rack and stowed away his jacket. “We don’t fish with anything but braid.”

Neither do I for the most part, but I am generally reluctant to hand a client a reel filled with braid that opted to fish with my rods rather than his own. As sold as I am on the benefits of using braid it is not exactly user-friendly for folks that don’t fish a lot. While I am convinced that braided line affords the user a decided edge it can also be counter-productive if every other cast results in a backlash!

Do not think for one second that line problems cannot be a show-stopper. It can be everything from a line that is too heavy for the application to a spool of line with too much memory to even cast. In this instance, as my clients quickly pointed out, fishing with mono felt like fishing with a rubber band after fishing only braid for a long period of time and they were right.

I miss fewer fish on topwaters when fishing mono simply because the stretch factor prevents me from taking the bait away from the fish too quickly on the hook set, but I would rather compensate with a lighter action rod and stick with braid if I had to make a choice. I believe that braid is truly a difference maker and is well worth the minimal inconvenience of an occasional wind knot or backlash.

The only anglers that I fish with that have not switched to braid gave up after fishing the first braids available just as I did for too long. The early braid wedged down in the spool after every hang up and backlashes were all but impossible to free up. That is not the case today as the shape of the line is different and most of the higher end stuff has a coating that makes it even slicker.

If there is any negative for the weekend angler it is the cost as braided line is not cheap. You can extend the life by reversing it on the spool at some point, but a really bad backlash can be expensive!

If you find yourself still on the fence as far as giving braid one more shot, ask anyone that now uses only braid why they use it. I have never talked with or fished with another braid fisherman that isn’t convinced that it enables them to detect more bites and more bites equal more fish. Fishing is a blast, but catching is even more fun!

I wish I could point you toward the best brand of braid to fish as experimenting can be a little pricey, but I have tried nearly everything out there at one time or another and I am still open to trying the latest and the greatest. To date, I trust and have had very good service out of both Power Pro and Fins Wind Tamer. They don’t feel remotely alike to the touch, but they both cast extremely well and develop little or no memory.

And, while on the subject of backlashes with any type of line, you can significantly minimize that nuisance with a product called Line & Lure line conditioner. It is the real deal and works as well on mono or fluorocarbon as it does on braid.“No…they are not a sponsor of mine and up until last week I relied on a friend to periodically pick me up a bottle at Tackle Unlimited in Houston.”

Eric Ronning over at Daley’s said they are now carrying both the fresh and saltwater versions so I will no longer have to ration my limited supply. The bonus, as Steve Osborne would point out in a heartbeat, is that the spray is also the ultimate solution for quickly cleaning the lenses on your sunglasses and depth finder screens.

It doesn’t, however, work well as a fish attractant for soft plastics. I recently discovered too late that a client had gone through half a bottle before I could point him to the bottle containing the Bang scent. It didn’t help him catch any fish, but his plastic tails were clean and shiny!

We enjoyed two days last week with lighter winds and the fish turned right back on. The open lake was much clearer than I would have ever thought and we found trout and redfish chasing both ribbon fish and small shrimp to the surface. We have been doing well with tails, but I ran across three different groups all fishing the new VuDu shrimp under a cork and they too were doing well on both trout and slot reds.

I haven’t fished them as much as I intend to thus far, but they look real enough to eat and they are durable. Two of the groups were fishing them under a cork while the anglers in one boat were swimming them with a small split shot.I think they are also a little hard to even find right now!

Kim Rider with a nice red that fell for a fake shrimp!