How to put the best braid and fluorocarbon together and connect with more fish in any situation with Smackdown and Threadlock
The magic of fishing is the connection created between the angler and one of the many species of game fish that dwell in the waterways of this planet. The connection these days almost always includes braided lines or fluorocarbon and quite often it’s the perfect combination of the two that gets the most bites.
“We call it the Seaguar Connection,” says Seaguar marketing man Brian Evans, who works with Seaguar’s Pro Staff.
Seaguar invented fluorocarbon and continues to fine-tune the product and Evans promises some exciting additions this summer when new products are rolled out. Seaguar has also created two outstanding lines of braided line, 8-strand Smackdown and 16-strand hollow Threadlock.
Professional bass fishing is the ultimate proving ground, and Seaguar has pros on all the top tournament circuits. Evans says they are unanimous when it comes to one important Seaguar Connection.
“When you think of using a fluorocarbon leader when freshwater bass fishing with braid, it’s usually on a spinning outfit with 15- to 20-pound test Smackdown and 8- to 10-pound Seaguar leader,” notes Evan. “Often the braid is connected to 6-pound and sometimes up to a 12-pound test leader.
“When it comes to tournament bass fishing, all our pros use 15-pound Smackdown braid and 6-pound Tatsu fluorocarbon,” says Evans. “The pros all want 6-pound Tatsu.”
“We have Smackdown in 10-pound, but our braid is so thin the pros say they can get away with 15-pound,” he adds.
Thin strong fluorocarbon and thin strong braid make for a thin strong knot, with popular choices for the Seaguar Connection the Uni-to-Uni knot, the Tony Pena knot, the Albright knot and the FG knot, all of which can be found on YouTube.
Choose one and learn to tie it quickly. The ideal knot moves through the rod guides easily and many fisherman have the best position for the knot puts it just above the spool with enough leader off the rod tip to easily cast a lure.
While some anglers use 30-pound Smackdown for heavy spinning applications or tie on a short length of fluorocarbon when topwater fishing, for many other bass fishing approaches top fishermen turn to either straight Smackdown braid or fill their spools with a main line Seaguar fluorocarbon like InvisX or AbrazX.
“Pros use 15- to 17-pound supple yet abrasion-resistant AbrazX for spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits,” says Evans. “Elite pro Keith Combs loves the stretch of InvisX for crankbaits.”
Seaguar West Coast rep Dale Hightower, self-quarantining at Lake Havasu at the time this story was written, was on a daily pattern of largemouth to 4 pounds on a Chatterbait Z-Man Razor Shadz combo fished on 12-pound InvisX.
Yet there are plenty of times when straight braid is the right call.
Flipping vegetation calls for straight 30-pound Smackdown, although clearer water flipping around timber would be a good time to tie on a short piece of Tatsu. “Tatsu works for any application,” Evans notes.
Smackdown comes in both hi-vis Flash Green and finesse-oriented Stealth Gray. Smackdown is only available in gray in tests over 30-pound and there are definitely occasions to go there.
When it comes time to throw a big swimbait in search of a trophy bass or a kicker fish to seal the deal in a tournament, then it’s time to step up to 50 or 65-pound straight Smackdown. “Straight braid gives you the fearlessness to throw those expensive baits right in there,” says Hightower.
Speaking of big fish that eat things that look like other fish, Seaguar hasn’t overlooked the hardcore fishermen who chase the aggressive and toothy musky and pike. Seaguar makes special heavy-duty AbrazX in leader coils of 80-, 90-, 100- and 130-pound test for musky and pike fishermen looking for a substitute for steel leaders.
The musky and pike guys are almost all switched on to fishing the braid and Threadlock hollow is a smooth 80-pound braid with a thin diameter that makes it easy to cast lures all day long, making it the perfect Seaguar Connection for the heavy AbrazX.
When it comes to fish that excel at cutting anglers fishing lines like butter and love to eat a lure, it’s hard to top wahoo. Hightower, who goes on several long range trips every year, fishes straight Threadlock with a short fluorocarbon leader for both wahoo and yellowtail.
“I use 80-pound Threadlock for my wahoo and use 60-pound Seaguar leader,”Hightower notes. “Some guys ask me, ‘why don’t you use 100-pound or 130?’ and I say wahoo will bite through that just as easy.”
The idea is to have a strong connection between the two that maximizes the ability to both get bit and land the fish.
For throwing the surface iron for big yellowtail, that Seaguar Connection is 60-pound Threadlock to 50-pound fluorocarbon.
Fishing down on the banks off Mexico’s Baja peninsula for yellowfin tuna that are often 200 to 400-pounds, Hightower never goes under 100-pound Threadlock hollow braid as his mainline, with his go-to big fish rig 100-pound Threadlock with 130-pound Fluoro Premier.
“I like that set up because of the line capacity,” he says. “Taka (Taka Tanaka of Taka’s Tackle in Anaheim, California) will sometimes splice in a length of 130-pound Threadlock between the leader and the mainline for added strength and abrasion resistance.”
Hightower never drops lower than 100-pound fluorocarbon while on the cow tuna grounds. “If I am in a slump with no bites for a few days, I won’t go down to 80, I’ll actually go up to 130. It helps my attitude and most of the time I’ll end up getting bit.”
Hightower’s kite rig and giant bait rig is a topless Avet 80 with “I don’t know how many yards” of 200-pound Threadlock to be matched with fluorocarbon leaders rigged to fish everything from salami mackerel to flying fish to giant squid.
Another notorious long range destination is Guadalupe Island. Guadalupe is notorious for great white sharks and tuna over 100-pounds that won’t eat a bait presented on heavy line.
“Since the idea is to get bit, I fish as small as braid as is manageable – at Guadalupe, that’s 50-pound Threadlock,” says Hightower. “My go-to fluorocarbon is the 40-pound Gold Label. I hooked 10 tuna in 2 days at Guadalupe on a Red Rooster III trip.
“But there’s no one magic deal, no single thing that is going to make a difference – you have to have the right line, leader, hook, lure, bait, rod and reel, and presentation. Everything has to be right.”
And it all starts with the Seaguar Connection.