If you've been fishing for sometime you've probably heard "because braid has no stretch, you can't use if for cranking." Well, I think its time we reconsider that notion and there are many others that think so as well.
For the past two years I've been experimenting with braid and crankbaits. I've been switching back and forth between braid and monofilament and taking notes of the results. The results really surprised me and I can say without a doubt I'm sold on cranking with braid, and its not just because we produce it. If you are on the fence, or haven't even tried it yet, consider these reasons to get on the bandwagon.
Long Casts- One of the major benefits of braid is the additional distance it adds to casts and crankbaits are no exception. I've been fishing lipless cranks on a 7' spinning rod using from 8lb-15lb test and the distance you can cover is remarkable. This means your bait spends more time in the water in front of the fish, and can really help when you're in a search pattern.
Long Distance Hooksets- Getting a solid hookset is critical when cranking. Bass are notorious for throwing the bait when they jump and head shake. The zero stretch quality of braid ensures that you really transfer the energy into the hookset. This helps a lot when those trebles find a hard bony place to land, especially when you made one of those long casts we previously talked about.
Save Your Bait- Year's back many of the crappie fisherman in my area switched to braid when fishing the brush in Truman Lake. With the strong braid they were able to pull their jigs free from being snagged by straightening out the hooks. Well I've found it to be true for crankbait fishing as well. I recommend using at least 20lb braid if you are fishing any heavy wood. If you get snagged out of reach, then a nice slow steady pull will usually straighten the hooks out enough to free up the bait. Of course sometimes you just pull in the whole tree! With the cost of crankbaits these days, saving those baits can really add up.
Feel the Bait- This has been the thing I've loved the most about cranking with braid. You can really feel what is going on! It's okay to be sensitive, especially when crankbait fishing...lol. But seriously you can feel every little wobble, every bump into cover, every weed. Recently I was fishing some submerged weed beds with cranks and really nailing the fish. However the weeds were thick enough I was catching on them fairly often. The great part was that I could easily FEEL the difference between a strike and snatching a weed. Many times I could give the rod a slight pop to free the bait, then BAM! a bass would smack it. With mono the differences between a weed snag and strike were harder to discern.
It's not all a bed of roses, every benefit comes at a cost. Braided line is much more visible to fish. If you are fishing clear water you might need to switch to mono or fluorocarbon. Also when casting cranks into cover(a lure salesman's dream), braid can really wrap itself tight and be nearly impossible to free up. Since braid has no stretch you need to use a rod that has a lot of flex. I have some older Bass Pro Crankin' Sticks that I still really like for this. Overall I think you'll find the benefits really outweigh the cons. I'd love to hear what you think and what experiences you've had. So PLEASE leave your comments below!