Stuart takes the plunge and returns a 32lb 10oz carp to the water


In my first few years of carp fishing I experimented with braided mainline from time to time and, although this is a purely individual choice, it wasn’t the one for me. I’m always up for the thrill of the fight and with braid as a mainline there is nothing like it, however, I always went back to the security and stretch of good old fashioned nylon. Does this make me a bad man? Answer: No, I have far too many vices that do that for me!

Nylon line has come on in leaps and bounds over the years and I’ve tried many along the way. A well-tested line for me, which has caught me many fish, is Diawa Duo in 12lb strength. It’s a well camouflaged line that breaks at the strain is says it will. It’s extremely low in diameter and has done me proud. I’ve had many anglers ask me why I use this line as apparently it has a very poor memory and tends to curl after a while. This hasn’t been my experience, however, I wouldn’t trust any line to remain memory free for long and on this basis tend to change my line 2-3 times per season.

I also tried Shimano Catana’s offering for a while too and although a superbly strong nylon, I always found it a tad cumbersome and heavy on the diameter. There are literally hundreds of lines to choose from but, as mentioned above, this is a personal choice. When looking to try a new line you should consider your options based on your specific requirements. Do you want a low visibility line with a high memory or do you want a line that is practically abrasion resistant? Do you want a line that is well camouflaged or are the fish in your local venue not spooked easily? On understanding the major part of your fishing, you will eventually stumble upon the line that suits you and your main predicament.

Breaking strain is a funny old subject too, if you want to drag your target fish across the water as fast as you can then stick to the higher breaker strains, but if you are confident in your playing ability, then why not opt for a lower strain? I recently fished with a group of guys who had been carp fishing since the 50’s but whose attitude towards line and casting long distances was most refreshing.

We were fishing a 40-acre venue and the fish were topping some hundred yards out. They had standard set-ups regarding rods and reels but could cast to their desired targets with ease. This was achieved by having their spools topped up with 8lb line accompanied by simple shock leaders. They were catching fish up to 35lb and were certainly not losing carp because of low breaking strains. By having such low diameter lines they were hitting the G-spot every time regarding distance. Make sense? If they were using heavy, high diameter lines, then when casting this would slow the speed in which the line would fall from the spool, thus would not be able to achieve such long distances. Their accompanying argument being that when using nylon at distance ‘the give and the stretch’ would be far more forgiving and by combining both that ‘give’ and their experience in playing fish the end results were breathtaking.

In an ideal world we would all catch more carp if we could lighten the tackle we use as this would help with the complete presentation right through to the size of the hook and hair. However, the issue is comparing the pro’s and con’s of using light tackle against snags and unfamiliar territories. For me, I use a low diameter line, which falls off my reels smoothly, add to this my own experience and ability of playing fish and I’m happy with what I use.


I’ve probably spent a good couple of hundred quid over the last few years on various shockleaders and must confess to never finding any that have lasted me or suited my every requirement – until now!

I played with the tapered braids to give my casting a stronger backbone; I’ve played with the various Fox offerings and even more recently just 30lb braid in 100 yard spools. But none of these have sat quite right with me. After experimenting with the right shockleader for the past few years I was finally introduced to a solution that suited my every requirement and situation. Although this is a closely kept secret, I’ll let you in, so here goes…Ready… ?

The secret is……NYLON!

After testing all the different shockleaders currently available I have found my perfect shockleader and that’s standard 20lb nylon. It does the job superbly. It’s as cheap as chips and continues to give me the additional comforts of nylon right through to the hook. With the braided shockleaders I was finding that I could only just manage to get 20 meters (the normal length sold) across three reels which would allow me to have two, maybe three, turns of the braid on my spool. With the nylon I can have two rod’s length on my spool, which is always a bonus when you have a hard-fighting fish not far from the rod tip.

There are two tips to be taken from this article, the first one is reach further distances by choosing a lower diameter line, but obviously look closely into your venue and circumstances. And second, save yourself a fortune on shockleaders! (It works for me).