I was discussing braid diver setups with a friend recently, and thought this might make for a good topic to share. Braid divers are probably the most versatile diver setup there is. They can be run as shallow or as deep as the angler wants. The line is thin, so it offers less resistance in the water. Plus, it is non-stretch, making it easy to trip the diver, regardless of how much line is out. Finally, no special rod guides are necessary. Braid divers are the perfect setup for someone looking for an “all-purpose” diver rig. Even the higher initial cost of the line is offset by the fact that you will get multiple seasons out of the line.
For braid divers, I currently have 2 different setups on the Runnin’ Bare; one old and one new. Ever since I started fishing Lake Michigan, I have had Dipsy Divers on 30# Fireline. Many other people have tried to convince me that other braids are superior for various reasons, but the Fireline has never given me a reason to change. I cannot remember a single break-off on the Fireline, ever. And since I am usually in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” camp, that probably won’t change anytime soon.
The other setup was new in 2010. I had tried Slide Divers on mono with no success. Since several of my harbor neighbors were having success with these divers on braid, I wanted to rig one up. After talking to these guys, I decided to try 50# PowerPro. I only had one of the older "regular" Slide Divers (not the Lite Bite version) and it was old enough that it did not have the new plastic tubing for the line (I was still using the metal spring). Despite those challenges, it worked OK. I have since picked up a pair of the new Lite Bites, so I am going to try them this year and see if I can get the Slide Divers to be the super-awesome rig everyone tells me it should be.
Here are the details for the rigging... For the Fireline Dipsy Divers, I use the hi-viz yellow Fireline. It makes it easier to see where the lines are running and easier to untangle things, if the lines are different colors. I also believe that, if the fish are interested in something as obnoxious as a Dipsy Diver, the yellow line is not going to spook them. My divers are all run on Tekota 600LC reels now, but I used to use the Diawa 47LC and those are a good choice, too. Incidentally, a 300 yd spool of 30# Fireline will fill a Tekota 600LC perfectly. I tie the line to the stud on the arbor and do not bother with any backing. If your reel doesn’t have a stud to tie to, you will need to lay down a few passes of mono backing to keep the line from slipping. Make sure to wind the line on TIGHTLY. If it is not tight, when a fish (or the diver) pulls on the line, it will dig into itself on the reel and jam. I tie directly to the Dipsy Diver, using a double palomar knot. I very rarely switch between dipsy colors; if I wanted to do that, I would probably terminate the line with a good snap-swivel to facilitate changes. I modify my dipsies slightly by snipping off the barrel-swivel that comes on the back of the diver and adding a split-ring.
I then attach a snubber onto the split-ring. I always use a snubber with any no-stretch line (braid or wire). I prefer the clear, rubber snubbers over the colored, latex tubing kind. The latex only lasts one season before they get brittle and crack. After the snubber, I run a 6' piece of mono or fluoro leader in 30# test. If I have fluoro available, I'll use it, but I don't think it is critical, since this isn't a stealth presentation to start with. I don't measure the 6', either, other than to just spread my arms apart with the end of the line in one hand and the spool in the other. One end gets a loop knot tied in it (just like a fly leader) and the other end gets a good ball-bearing snap-swivel tied on. I use a palomar knot here. Clip on your bait of choice and you're ready to fish.
For the Slide Diver, I have to say upfront that I am not an expert. I finally caught my first fish on this presentation in 2010, but I have used them on others' boats with good success. The 50# PowerPro (I used the red color) is actually thinner than the 30# Fireline, so when I spooled it up, I had to lay down 300' of 50# Ande mono backing under the PowerPro. I just used the counter on the Tekota 600LC to measure the 300’. With that backing, a 300 yd spool of 50# PowerPro filled the reel perfectly. I used an Albright knot to connect the two lines. Again, spool the line tightly. Slide Divers need to be threaded onto the line according to the directions that come with them. Once the diver is on the line, I add an 8mm bead to protect the knot and then tie on a good ball-bearing snap-swivel. Since braided lines are slippery, I always use the double palomar knot with them. The leader gets attached to the snap-swivel. I tend to prefer the fluoro leader on Slide Divers, since it is a little stealthier setup. You can also use a slightly longer leader (7’-8’), since the snubber is omitted.
For both rigs, you need to be aware of the fact that braided lines do not show damage as readily as mono. I cut back the last 5’ or so every couple of trips. Any sign of fraying is also a reason to cut back. One nice thing about braid is that it is unaffected by the sun’s UV rays. As long as it doesn’t get damaged or frayed, it will go for a long time. Even though the colors fade, the line is still good, especially the end of the line that is buried on the reel and never sees the light of day. When you “retire” the braided line on your diver reels, try reversing it and using it as backing for leadcore. Since braids typically cost significantly more than mono, it makes sense to get all the life out of them as possible. One other word of caution… with braid (or any no-stretch line), make sure your rod holders are up to the task. Divers pull pretty hard by themselves, and when a big fish crushes one on a line that does not offer any give, things can break.
Hope this helps put more fish in your cooler. Good Luck!
Jerry - Runnin’ Bare