November 20th, 2013
Maxima’s New Braid – Product Reviewby JP Bushey January 7, 2014
Debuting at ICAST in July, 2013, Maxima’s new braids follow in their monofilament’s time-honoured footsteps.
Switching fishing lines isn’t easy. It’s probably the most important tackle choice we can make, and personal loyalties run pretty deep. Lots can go wrong when you take a flyer on a new line, and it happens to people all the time. Anyone who’s fished with me will tell you that I’m not a big fad or trend guy. I stick to the same few bodies of water all season, use a handful of basic tackle, and operate from a fairly stable set of guidelines as far as how I fish and with what. New products come and go non-stop in fishing. Long story short, for me to give something new a shot I look at two factors:
1) Does it fit the way I fish? Is it something I’d even use in the first place?
2) Does it come from a reputable company? How long have their products been popular, and what’s their track record like?
Maxima Fishing Line has been around a long time, and has a very solid following. And I fish braided line a lot, so I was excited to get my hands on this stuff mid-way through the summer. Maxima’s monofilaments are premium quality, so their push onto the braided scene intrigued me.
You can get Maxima Braid over a range of strengths, for everything from panfish to muskie. It comes in two colours: High-Visibility Yellow and a much more neutral, Ultragreen. So far, I’ve used it in a range of situations for many species. You wont’ find many well-rounded fishermen who stick to mono or braid exclusively. Depending on the technique, both styles of line have a place. Applications where braids work well for me are: fishing in water that’s 25-40 feet deep, working thick weeds, and when targeting pike and muskie. I use braided lines 100% of the time when I’m after those fish with the big teeth.
Down deep, whether it’s vertical jigging, bottom bouncing or using some kind of bait rig/drop-shot, feel and control is the biggest factor. Maxima’s Braid is just like their mono—noticeably thinner and stronger than the rating given on the package. Their thirty pound is like hair. It slices the water, and helps you stay right over top of what’s going on under the boat. Line-watching is a big part of controlling your presentation, so is feeling what’s on bottom and seeing a fish hit before you feel it. The High Visibility Yellow is what I’ve been using in these situations.
I’d argue that feel and line-watching are also important in shallow water, especially in cover. I lucked into my biggest crappie ever, a 15 inch October beauty (shown in the header of this article), working a lightweight jig along a vertical coontail wall. That fish was all over the jig long before it settled at the base of the weeds. I saw the line stop, closed the bail, and there she was. In weeds, Maxima Braid will even help you see and feel ticks all the way up through a bow in your line. Reel out the slack and drill ‘em. I’m not much of a bass guy, but this line should be amazing for soft plastics. It’s easy to see and super-sensitive. For guys who like slow-falling wacky baits, lighter jigs or even soft jerkbaits, it’d be ideal. The High-Visibility will be awesome for fishing any manner of soft plastics, and the Ultragreen will blend right in for finesse fishermen focused on keeping their presentations slick on clear water fisheries.
One of my best methods through summer and fall for walleye was the drop-shot. In fairly deep water, I ran through boatloads of really big smallmouth on it, too. I use plastics most of the time, but also live-bait once in a while. Same story: thin, sensitive line is what makes this dog hunt. I like being able to feel my sinker along the bottom. Watching the graph, it’s easy to tell when you work through rock, mud, clay or low-lying grass. Feeling these changes almost always means you’ll be marking and catching a fish. Thin line like the 30-lb also let me rocket my rig right back down fast, after catching one. They’ll school up, and you don’t have to miss by much to be out of the game.
Snap-jigging is another deep water technique I use all season for walleye and pike. The basic set-up involves a heavy, 5/8 to 1-oz jig (both plastics and bucktails work) fished on stout spinning or baitcasting gear. A quality braid is critical. I need my jig to stay deep and move very sharply when I rip it upwards. I want it to jump fast and sink fast. This is a major part of the trigger. I also need lots of power for forcing my jigs off rock snags. Maxima Braid worked great for me here. In deep water, fish are normally used to the slow, consistent pace of bait rigs, trolled crankbaits or other bottom-bouncing methods. Moving through good spots quickly, with an aggressively ripped jig, gives fish a whole other set of triggers. Anytime you’re marking good activity down deep, try ripping a heavy jig through it. The strikes can be explosive. It’s a really fun way to fish. I got most of my biggest, daytime walleye this season ripping jigs in 25 to 35 feet of water. The 30-lb High-Visibilty is fantastic for this technique.
It’s worth mentioning that for spinning tackle, this braid doesn’t flatten out or change shape. It’s an 8-fiber weave that stays uniform and round, just like mono. It comes off the reel smoothly, stays limp and offers minimal wind and water resistance. For me, this has actually held true on my heavier, baitcasting reels, too. It’s a stable, consistent product across the entire family of line weights.
Up around heavy cabbage, this line holds up well. I fish a lot of bucktails, rubber baits and wooden jerkbaits. You’re always flirting with the thickets weed, out near the edges. Digging around weed with thousands of casts for days on end wears the coating off most braided lines pretty fast. So far, the Maxima green in 65 and 80-lb is very much intact. Even just burning your line back up through the rod guides with a bucktail eats the colour and coating off some lines. In addition to being strong, Maxima’s outer skin is really resilient. I’ve noticed minimal fading on all my High-Visibility outfits, as well. There’s nothing worse than paying for a high-vis line only to have it fade out to white or grey after a few trips.
In dense weed, you need to be able to work baits sharply, ripping them clean whenever they touch. And hard-fighting fish need to be set on hard and muscled fast. This is where the rubber hits the road for any fishing line; lots of stress, lots of shock and probably where dead-pull power and brute strength gets showcased the most. With fish like pike and muskie, so many fish hit near the boat. Every inch of your set-up gets tested.
I do all of my muskie and pike fishing on lower density, trophy-style fisheries, like Ontario’s Georgian Bay, the French River and Lake Nipissing. I get far fewer chances at fish every season on average, but they’re big. When you consider all the hours I put in, trust in my fishing line is not something I take lightly. I need to be able to bury the chances I get. Could 80-lb Maxima Braid be trusted? You bet it could.
November’s Full Moon period produced a pair of very large muskie from Georgian Bay. Both fish were taken trolling big lures near rough shoals. If you’ve ever done any amount of muskie trolling, you already know how taxing it can be on your fishing line. Even though we dial back the speed quite a bit in water that’s in the low 40 degree range, large trolling baits pull hard and are constantly grinding and smashing into a rocky bottom. Cheap or inferior rigging gets exposed fast. Fourteen inch Drifter Tackle Jakes took both fish, rigged on the 80-lb, Ultragreen braid.
Over the course of our three day trip, it’s also worth noting that both of the lures we caught fish on had been badly snagged a couple times each. Changing the boat angle, backing up over them and forcing them off the rocks tested the braid, too. Making lots of bottom contact can be a key for triggering big, lethargic muskie in cold water, and snags are just part of the game. If you’re not hanging up periodically, you’re probably not fishing where you need to be. This line has paid for itself many times over already, recovering expensive lures. Speaking of money, I think you’ll find this line to be very attractively priced, too.
A final note for cold weather fishing was how little water this braid holds. Why is that important? Whether casting all day or cranking trolling baits back to the boat, having water thrown all over your hands, reel and foregrip isn’t fun in cold weather. Gear and skin freezes. I’ve used braids in the past that absolutely soaked me and my rod/reel. Not an issue at all in July, but downright miserable in late fall and early winter. The Maxima Braid has a heat-set coating that’s applied three times. It appears to seal it almost completely water tight. Spray is minimal. It’s just a slick, smooth line in general. Typically, the heavier the line, the more water it throws. The 80-lb Ultragreen was really nice through October and November. This is a small detail, but a very important one.
On all of the reels I fish braids with, Maxima has earned a spot. I trust it and have had some great fishing success using it so far. Things will continue to roll along in 2014, hopefully with more nice fish released and more new ground covered. I’ve already got 50 and 65-lb rigged and ready for spring pike on twitchbaits and spoons. Based on the success I’ve enjoyed using Maxima’s monofilaments and fluorocarbons over the years, I really wasn’t that surprised about the quality of their braid. This is a company that’s been around a long time, and has earned the trust of fishermen from all corners of the globe. Maxima Braid is simply another great product from an established, premium company. If you’re looking at new braid options, this one is definitely worth a hard look.
About AuthorMore info about author
JP Bushey is a multi-species, multi-season fisherman living in Barrie, Ontario. North-Central Ontario’s ‘big water’ is where he spends most of his time, from his home waters of Georgian Bay to The Great Lakes, Lake Nipissing and The French River. JP’s been a freelance fishing contributor for over fifteen years, and enjoys helping people to improve their fishing through his articles, speaking engagements and on-the-water instruction.More by JP Bushey