For some reason, cutting braided line seems to confound and frustrate anglers, especially those new to using super lines. The same qualities that make braid attractive for fishing (strength, toughness, and durability) also make it more challenging to cut. Fortunately, with the proper tools and some practice, trimming braided line quickly and cleanly becomes much easier.
Easy Method to Cut Braided Fishing Line
Here’s how to cut braided fishing line. It’s super easy, all you need to do is hold the knot or main line in one hand. Then take the tag end with the other hand and place the cutters or scissor near where you want to trim. Now pull a little on the tag end with the same hand as your main line to create some tension in the braid. In a smooth motion, pull the braid down into where the cutting blades meet, and snip.
You should end up with a short, clean tag end on the knot. If you didn’t, your cutters probably aren’t up to the task. Make sure they meet these specs, or you may need new ones.
- Sharp Blades – Trying to cut braid with dull scissors or old rusty side cutters is pointless. Braid is made of multiple fibers woven together. Dull blades merely squeeze the fibers around. If you do manage to cut the line it will leave a frayed end that is tough to thread through and tie knots.
- Hard Cutting Edge – Even with brand new sharp blades, if the cutters are not hardened they won’t cut well for very long. The synthetic fibers will wear down the metal quickly leaving you with dull edges again.
- Precision – Big bulky scissors make trimming precise knots more difficult that it needs to be. Short, sharp blades are stiffer and slice the braided line rather than cutting with brute force. Tying leader knots to braid requires precision too. An overly long tag end can catch the rod guides and make the knot fail.
Proper Braid Cutting Tools
You have three basic options for cutting braid. The best braided fishing line cutters are scissors, side cutters, and snips. Everyone should be familiar with scissors. Side cutters can be found on most fishing pliers, like these. Snips are specialized tools designed to make quick work of braid. Here are the best line cutters I have found and still use today.
Craft scissors make perfect line cutters, especially the titanium coated versions. Precision is important when trimming knots and tying fluorocarbon leaders onto braided main line. The short blades make it easy to make precise cuts and trims. The titanium coating creates a very sharp and hard cutting action that slices through braid.
The great thing is they are cheap and can be found at most stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Keep a set in your boat and one in your fishing backpack so they are always with you at a moment’s notice.
The key to using craft scissor to cut braid is they need to be sharp. The blades are going to wear down over time from usage and exposure to the elements. They will last a long time so long as you don’t try to cut other things in the boat with them.
Braid Cutting Ability = 7/10
The Micro-Tip Scissors are like craft scissor on steroids. It takes the sharp titanium coated blades from craft scissors, fit into an easy grip handle. The spring loaded handle opens easily and reduces hand strain. It makes cutting braid so much easier in really cold weather when fingers don’t want to work.
The 5 inch version is perfect for fishing. It will still slip easily into tool holders lots on boats. I prefer the Micro-Tip over regular scissors because of the easy open easy close operation. Fishing in cold weather means cold hands and these just make things a little easier.
Braid Cutting Ability = 8/10
This little device is designed specifically to cut braided fishing lines. It’s small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or your front jeans pocket. It also has a split ring attached to a retractable lanyard cord. Kayak anglers especially benefit by not having to fumble with scissors, instead just pull the snips from their PFD.
Attach the Boomerang to a belt loop at the beginning of a day to always have it handy. The cutting mechanism is small and contained in an ergonomic plastic housing. Cutting line requires only a quick squeeze of the sides, slicing the line like nothing.
The stainless steel blades are short, strong, and sharp. Braid cuts cleanly and quickly every time I’ve used it. The blunt nose is nice to get in close and make precision knot trims. The only knock on the Boomerang Snips is the tendency to rust a little when used in salt water.
Braid Cutting Ability = 9/10